Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter sues Freddie Mercury movie producers ‘Biopic didn’t profit’

Bohemian Rhapsody hit cinemas in 2018 to lukewarm reviews but went on to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The Freddie Mercury biopic won four Oscars including Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of the Queen singer. Not only that, but the blockbuster took $911 million at the worldwide box office on a budget of just $55 million.

However, accounting statements released by the 20th Century Fox Film Corporation have shown that Bohemian Rhapsody is in the red by $51 million.

The news came to light as the Freddie Mercury movie’s screenwriter Anthony McCarten is suing the blockbuster’s producer Graham King and GK Films.

The Oscar-winning scribe has also penned biopics such as The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and The Two Popes.

He claims that he made a deal with King for 5 per cent of GK Films’ takings on Bohemian Rhapsody.

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Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter sues Freddie Mercury movie producers ‘Biopic didn’t profit’

Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter sues Freddie Mercury movie producers ‘Biopic didn’t profit’ (Image: FOX)

Anthony McCarten and Graham King

Anthony McCarten and Graham King (Image: GETTY)

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According to Deadline, McCarten’s lawsuit does name King and his GK Films, but not Fox or the studio’s new owner Disney.

The omission is because the suit claims the screenwriter made a deal directly with the Bohemian Rhapsody producer.

McCarten states he’s not been paid anything from this alleged agreement, claiming that King has been “unresponsive” to settle up.

The 50-page lawsuit has been filed in Los Angles Superior Court and the Hollywood scribe seeks “monetary damages in an amount to be proven at trial”,

a full accounting of the movie, and “a judicial declaration of the parties’ contractual rights and duties in connection with the Writer’s Agreement…By this Action, McCarten seeks to hold GK Films to its promise in the Writer’s Agreement.”

brian and freddie actors

Bohemian Rhapsody made over $900 million worldwide (Image: FOX)

live aid in the movie

Brian May is considering a Bohemian Rhapsody sequel (Image: FOX)

McCarten’s lawsuit cites “the first of three deals the scribe struck with production company WAGW, Inc in 2015 for an “amount equal to 5 per cent of 100 per cent of the ‘Net Proceeds.’”

In response, Fox insists the Bohemian Rhapsody screenwriter is only due profits via their “Defined Net Proceeds” definition, instead of GK Films’ “Net Proceeds” definition, which was modified through good faith negotiation

GK Films told the outlet that they believe Fox and Disney should be a party to the action and will be reaching out to the studios.

McCarten’s lawsuit states: “Even worse, it is not even clear that GK Films has ever had a standard definition on any film.”

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The suit also maintains that GK Films had no intention of developing such a definition since they had no intention of “comput[ing]” and “determin[ing] Net Proceeds at all.

The Bohemian Rhapsody movie follows Freddie joining Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon in Queen up until their iconic 1985 Live Aid performance.

The singer died in 1991 after battling AIDS but continued to record with the band during his final days.

Earlier this summer May confirmed that ideas for a sequel had been shared with him, but that such a movie would have to have a great script.

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