(NEW YORK) — The Elton John biopic Rocketman is enjoying critical and commercial success, scoring good reviews and opening in third place in U.S. theaters. While its $25 million opening was very respectable for an R-rated film, it was still far short of November’s $51 million debut of Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic of another ’70’s icon: Freddy Mercury of Queen.
But according to Rocketman‘s co-producer, the comparisons aren’t fair.
Matthew Vaughn explained to ABC Radio, “We made this before Bohemian came out. If someone said to me as we’re making this film, ‘You could do 200 million [dollars] worldwide, I would have said, ‘Take it. Bank it. Amazing.’ If we do 500 million worldwide, if someone said that to me, I would have said, ‘That’s a straight jacket over there. I’m just gonna go and put it on you…'”
He joked, “Now if we did 500 million, people are gonna go: ‘Is that it?! You only did 500! Bohemian did 900!'”
Vaughn explained, “We are R-rated: That might…hurt a bit,” adding, “But at least I think we got our own identity…You know, if we did even 300 [million] worldwide I’d be over the moon.”
Incidentally, after Bohemian director Bryan Singer was dismissed by the studio, the movie was finished by director Dexter Fletcher, who called the shots on Rocketman. The two films are very different, however: Bohemian is more of a straight biopic, while Rocketman tells Elton’s story via visual flights of fancy.
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