'Bohemian Rhapsody' Made Almost $1 Billion, but the Studio Says It's In the Red—How?

'Bohemian Rhapsody'Credit: 20th Century Studios
Studio accounting is notoriously confusing. 

Remember when Bohemian Rhapsody came out and made so much money?

Here's what you need to know. The film was budgeted at $55 million and grossed $911 million worldwide. That's a ton of money and a huge success for the studio. But Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is claiming that the movie is still $51 million in the red. How? 

Well, that's exactly what screenwriter Anthony McCarten would like to know. He wrote the film and believes he's owed a slice of the pie. He's suing to figure out where all the money went.

The lawsuit names producer Graham King and his GK Films, saying that the writer was supposed to get 5% of King's take. Of course, King's take comes out of Fox's pockets, and so the tangled web begins. 

You can read all the details over at Deadline, but basically, McCarten is saying the accounting at Fox kept money from GK, and thus kept money from him.

The lawsuit states, “If GK Films had a standard definition on Bohemian Rhapsody, then he seeks the benefit of that definition (plus any customary gives, including via rider) relative to Fox’s off-the-rack definition. If GK Films had a standard definition on its other projects (e.g. Argo (2012); The Town (2010); or The Aviator (2004)), but not the Picture, then he seeks the benefit of that/those definition(s)… And, if as McCarten suspects, GK Films never had a standard definition, then he seeks the benefit of the bargain in the form of 5 percent of any and all amounts GK Films has made on the Picture.”

I'm no legal expert, but I know Hollywood pretty well. We've seen these types of cases happen all the time, the most famous being Men In Black still being in the red as well as Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix

What's your take on all of this? Anyone have any experience here? 

Let us know in the comments     

Your Comment


Isn't the simplest answer to the question in your title that they are liars? Because they are liars.

November 18, 2021 at 12:08PM


I mean at this point no one should be surprised. Top billed stars and hot shot producers are the only ones who make money. Backend deals will always fail otherwise.

I'm always more surprised that all the union shit and negotiations that happens yet this issue still has not been addressed.

November 19, 2021 at 8:54AM


Brian May has also come out to state that he (and Queen) haven't made any (back end) money off of the film either. If you're going to not pay the band who's lives and music are the basis for the film, it's really no surprise that you're not paying the screen writer either. As Marcus mentioned below, I'm shocked that deals like this are still made knowing how Hollywood likes to cook the books.

November 19, 2021 at 10:54AM


I liked this movie.

November 20, 2021 at 6:13AM


I boycott it because of the director, but I really wanted to see it. Great actors, great band. Freddie was bohemian magic.

November 22, 2021 at 11:55AM