Should Rocketman have aspired to land like Bohemian Rhapsody? That’s an embarrassingly loaded question, but here I am, tossing it out there. On one hand, the Queen biopic was a financially astounding hit, and Rami Malek walked away with a Best Actor Oscar for what many but not all feel was a deserving performance as Freddie Mercury. However, the editing was a mess but also earned an Oscar, and Brian May and Roger Taylor’s input may have led to the film’s arguably sanitized tone and downplaying of Freddie’s sexuality within the larger story. It’s safe to say that Rocketman — the “musical fantasy”-not-a-biopic about Elton John starring Taron Egerton — would love to score those box-office dollars while edging out BoRhap with more critical acclaim.
From the looks of the responses to CinemaCon footage of the movie (directed by Dexter Fletcher, who took over Bohemian Rhapsody‘s final leg after Bryan Singer was fired) the movie might succeed on both fronts. Uproxx’s Mike Ryan believes that Rocketman will make buckets and buckets of money.
Other takes on the footage point toward a refreshingly unadulterated air — that is, an R-rated approach to celebrating the success of a beloved artist — which earned enormous applause on Thursday.
Other reactions zero in on the almost guaranteed box-office success here, along with all kinds of praise for Egergon, who did his own singing.
Notably, Egerton spoke out about the “fairly hands-off” approach of Elton John during the making of this film.
And the comparisons to Bohemian Rhapsody probably won’t stop, with a few folks on the fence on whether Rocketman is distinctly different or too much like its immediate predecessor.
Rocketman floats into theaters on May 31.