For die-hard Queen fans, London is the place to be on Oct. 23, 2018. That’s when the world premiere of the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” will take place at the SSE Arena, Wembley. Fans can purchase tickets to the event here. Queen guitarist Brian May and Queen drummer Roger Taylor will be at the premiere, as will “Bohemian Rhapsody” cast members Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Lucy Boynton, Allen Leech, Aidan Gillen and Mike Myers. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity for AIDS/HIV initiatives that was formed in memory of the late Queen singer Freddie Mercury. In "Bohemian Rhapsody," Malek portrays Mercury, while Lee is May, Hardy is Taylor and Mazzello is former Queen bassist John Deacon.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” directed by Bryan Singer and released by 20th Century Fox, opens in the U.K. on Oct. 24, before anywhere else in the world. In other countries, the movie opens on Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 2, Nov. 7, Nov. 9 or Nov. 30. A complete list of worldwide release dates for “Bohemian Rhapsody” can be found here. In the U.S., "Bohemian Rhapsody" opens on Nov. 2, but there will be sneak-preview screenings in select theaters on Oct. 31.
It is unknown if Deacon, who has been described as "reclusive" by his former Queen bandmates, will end up making a surprise appearance at the "Bohemian Rhapsody" premiere. Deacon last performed live and recorded with Queen in 1997, and he has since retired from the entertainment business, although he is still consulted about Queen's business affairs. When Mercury (who died of AIDS in 1991) was the lead singer of Queen, all of the band members made songwriting contributions in one way or another (such as on the 1981 Queen/David Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure"), but most the band's biggest hits were written by Mercury, Deacon and May. Deacon wrote such Queen classics as "Another One Bites the Dust," "You're My Best Friend" and "I Want to Break Free"; May wrote "We Will Rock You," "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "Flash"; and Mercury-written Queen hits included "Bohemian Rhapsody," "We Are the Champions," "Somebody to Love," "Killer Queen," "Bicycle Race," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." As previously reported, many of these songs are on the Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, which is set for release on Oct. 19.
The "Bohemian Rhapsody" movie did not premiere at the film festivals that are usual launching pads for potential Oscar contenders. However, about 30 minutes of footage from the movie was shown at a "Bohemian Rhapsody" London press day in June, and there was a Los Angeles press day for the movie on Sept. 5. Media reviews for "Bohemian Rhapsody" are under embargo until late October, which is why there haven't been early reviews of the movie.
Regardless of what critics have to say, the "Bohemian Rhapsody" movie has a definite stamp of approval from May and Taylor, who are two of the film's producers. May posted this glowing review on Queen's official website: "Rami Malek delivers a flawless performance in our movie. It's much more than a simple portrayal of Freddie. Rami completely inhabited Freddie for months, to the point where we sometimes forgot he was Rami. You can see this in the film. The four young actors who play the four of us in the movie developed a connective chemistry which mirrored our relationships in the band, seemingly without trying. Rami, at the fulcrum of it all, instinctively found Freddie's inner sensitivities and insecurities that balanced and drove the powerful rock star, innovator, and liver of life. Nobody could have done a better job of putting our Freddie on the silver screen."
In an interview on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Sept. 5, Malek said that it "meant everything" to him to get the approval of the people who were closest to Mercury, such as May, Taylor and Mercury's sister Kashmira. He also mentioned that he met Mercury's sister while dressed as Mercury, and her initial reaction was that she laughed and later burst into tears because Malek looked and acted so much like Mercury. "As you can imagine, it was a rather bizarre, alien moment for her," Malek said. He also said that she later "wrote me the most moving email. It was very powerful."
In other “Bohemian Rhapsody” news, School of Rock is incorporating Queen songs in its curriculum, and giving School of Rock locations a chance to win a private screening of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
In addition, ITV’s “The X Factor” U.K. is having sweepstakes where U.K. residents ages 18 and older can enter for a chance to win £70,000, as well as a music gadget package and a private screening of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Phone entries close at 5 p.m. British Daylight Time on Nov. 5, and the deadline for postal entries is 5 p.m. British Daylight Time on Nov. 8.
Here’s a list of Queen-related activities for fans who will be in London the week of the premiere:
London Rock Tours’ Queen “We Will Rock You” Tour
WHEN: Every Wednesday from 2-5:30 p.m. through Oct. 24, 2018.
WHERE: Tours depart from Original Tour Visitor Centre,17-19 Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square in London
There are several music history tours in London, but London Rock Tours can offer the only well-established history tour in London that focuses solely on Queen. The tour, which is taken by bus, includes visits to the university where Queen was formed; the pub where Mercury met May and Taylor; the two studios where the band recorded the most; former homes of the band members; and sites where Queen filmed the band’s videos and performed live. At some of the sites on the tour, the public is not allowed inside but can take photographs outside. And, of course, Queen music will be played during the tour. More information can be found here.
Bohemian Rhapsody Pop-Up Shop and Exhibition
WHEN: Oct. 10, 2018, to January 2019; Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.– 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12–6 p.m.
WHERE: 3 Carnaby Street in London
This free-admission pop-up store/installation has a wealth of Queen merchandise and memorabilia, including photographs, film footage, costumes and official “Bohemian Rhapsody” movie collectibles. Freddie Mercury’s Madame Tussaud’s wax statue will be on display. Nearby Carnaby Street shops, bars and restaurants will also have a variety of Queen-inspired products, menus and special offers.
In addition, Carnaby Street will have a Queen-related outdoor art exhibition that will include neon art installations with words and phrases from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” lyrics, such as “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?,” “Galileo” and “Figaro.” Queen’s crest, designed by Mercury, will be on Carnaby’s arches, with a giant illuminated crown on top of Carnaby’s shimmer flag. More information can be found here.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” World Premiere
WHEN: Oct. 23, 2018, 8 p.m.
WHERE: SSE Arena, Wembley in London. Tickets can be purchased here.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” Opening Day in U.K. Cinemas
WHEN: Oct. 24, 2018