The anticipated new Elton John biopic Rocketman just completed its first weekend in theaters across the United States, and it did well. The film netted a reported $25 million in box office receipts, good for third in the country behind Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Aladdin.
Of course, given the monumental, record-shattering success of last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody film — which would go on to achieve major Oscar buzz come Academy Award season — comparisons between the two films is inevitable. The Queen/Freddie Mercury biopic earned $51 million in its first weekend, meaning Rocketman picked up roughly half of that.
The important distinction between the two, of course lies in the subject matter. Mercury is a larger-than-life icon of another era who passed away decades ago, while Elton John is still out there on his big farewell tour — so his story hasn’t been completed yet. Plus, Rocketman has an R-rating, while Bohemian Rhapsody shuffled into theaters with a PG-13 designation … meaning more younger people could check out the film without issue, presumably adding to its box office totals.
That said, for what it’s worth, Rock Cellar’s Ed Rampell raved about Rocketman in his official film review, so check it out if the following appeals to you:
To be sure, Elton is depicted onscreen with warts and all, but it’s unlikely that anything would be included in this feature that exec producer Elton objected to. Indeed, Rocketman –– which dramatizes the pianist’s life through his undergoing rehab around 1990 — concludes with one of those “whatever became of” movie montages that paints a very rosy picture of Elton’s post-rehab years, as a philanthropist who has raised more than $450 million to combat AIDS, a happy family life with a husband and raising sons, etc., that seems like it got Elton’s seal of approval.
Nevertheless, Rocketman enthusiastically gets this critic’s seal of approval. It’s a must-see for Elton John fans and with its ingenious fantasy sequences and riveting story, a great ride for general audiences. The music alone makes this biopic about one of the greatest rockers of all time worth seeing (and hearing). Rocketman blasts off in theaters across America on May 31.