‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Craze Sweeps Japan, With Sing-A-Longs and Ticket Discounts For Freddie Mercury Costumes

The Golden Globe winner may be dividing U.S. audiences, but moviegoers in Japan and South Korea can't get enough of the Freddie Mercury biopic.
Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Bohemian Rhapsody” may have a lot of people in America groaning about its Golden Globe win for Best Motion Picture Drama, but moviegoers in South Korea and Japan simply can’t get enough of the Freddie Mercury biopic. As reported by The Washington Post, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has sold 9.4 million tickets and counting in South Korea, where the population is 51 million people. The South Korea total of $72 million makes the country a higher grosser for the film than Queen’s own home of Britain.

The success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” has a caused a chain reaction in South Korea, where The Post reports Queen-related events are dominating pop culture. Richard Young, the official photographer for Queen, currently has an exhibition on display in South Korea, while Queen tribute band Bohemians have launched a tour to bring fans of the movie and the group together.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” box office is also booming in Japan with $56 million and counting. Japanese theaters are often extremely stringent when it comes to audiences remaining seated and silent through the end credits of a film, but some theaters are permitting moviegoers to “stand up, sing and dance along with the songs” during “Bohemian Rhapsody” screenings. One theater in Nagoya, Japan is even capitalizing on the film becoming a phenomenon by encouraging moviegoers to dress up as Freddie Mercury and offering discounted tickets for those who participate. The theater offers a 200 yen ($1.90) discount if viewers turn up in a Queen T-shirt, 400 yen if they wear a white tank top, and 700 yen for full Freddie Mercury attire.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is the highest grossing music biopic ever at the worldwide box office (not adjusted for inflation). The film was a big winner at the Golden Globes, not only taking the Best Motion Picture Drama prize over “A Star Is Born” and “BlacKkKlansman” but also winning Rami Malek the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Malek is nominated in the same category at the SAG Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards.

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