Who is Keeping ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Alive at the Box Office?

Nov 12, 2018 | Insights

L-R: Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, Gwilym Lee as Brian May

With its second weekend now officially behind us, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ — 20th Century Fox’s biopic of rock legends Queen — has been revealed to have box office staying power.

The rock-u-drama topped the domestic box office charts handily during its initial weekend. Audiences demonstrated that what was at first said to be a lukewarm critical response was going to do nothing to deter them in their quest for cinematic Rock ’n’ Roll regality.

At the time of the flick’s release, during the first weekend in November, the film’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes revealed critical opinion to be less-than-stellar, with the film’s rating hovering around the low-50%-ish mark, making it “not fresh” (as more reviews have come in, the film has crossed over into the realm of “fresh,” at 62%). Crucially, however, from the moment the general public started to see the movie, the Tomatoes Audience Score was quite a different story. It currently sits at a hugely impressive 94%.

This past weekend, Illumination Entertainment’s animated ‘The Grinch’ (a computer animated retelling of Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’) topped the box office charts, as was expected, but ‘Rhapsody’ held strong in second place.

While many reviews of ‘Rhapsody’ itself have taken it to task for what’s been referred to as a paint-by-numbers script, praise for the film’s star, Rami Malek, has been virtually unanimous. Malek, the star of USA Network’s ‘Mr. Robot’ plays Queen’s legendary, late frontman Freddie Mercury. His performance as the impossibly charismatic singer is a deep and soulful wonder to behold.

The real Freddie Mercury and Brian May

Malek’s turn as a Parsi-Indian immigrant kid who goes from being an art school grad working as a baggage-handler at London’s Heathrow Airport to the lead vocalist of one of pop music’s all time most successful acts — however much dramatic license may have been employed in the storytelling itself — has garnered much in the way of Oscar buzz.

There are those pop music acts whose music seems to transcend cultural and generational boundaries, and whose audience only seems to grow as the years pass and each emerging generation discovers them. The Beatles, ABBA, Pink Floyd, and Queen are among those long-defunct acts whose music seems determined to live on, in virtually every far-flung corner of the globe, for decades to come.

Trying to gain some insight into why ‘Rhapsody’ and, by extension, the music of Queen have been connecting (for the past two weeks to 45 years, or so) seemed a danged fine way to demonstrate what can be learned from StatSocial— our social media audience analysis platform.

We’ve put StatSocial to work, keeping track of those who’ve been taking to social media over the past week and a half (since ‘Rhapsody’ began screening on the evening of November 1) and posting most enthusiastically about the film. From there, we’ve been able to extract all sorts of data about the people who seem determined to see the flick be counted among the year’s top-earners.

The findings detailed below are only skimming the surface of our platform’s full capabilities, but are still quite revealing.

An Explanation of the Insights Below:

The insights featured here are sorted according to our index score. The score shows, at-a-glance, the degree to which the corresponding demographics, behaviors, and/or affinities of the audience being analyzed either exceed, are in line with, or fall short of the baseline.

Our platform allows tremendous flexibility in terms of what baseline you may use to give your statistics context, but for this piece we’re going with the average American social media audience.

For a deeper explanation of how presenting our statistics through this lens provides a far truer look into an audience’s heart and soul than just regarding them as raw numbers (which we, of course, recommend you do as well), please visit this entry here.

PLEASE NOTE: While many of the below topics feature top 10 lists, our taxonomies for these subjects — and a huge quantity of others not featured here — number in the thousands.

BASIC DEMOS

SEX

53.16% of the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience is male

This division is statistically very, very close to even. So, right off the bat, from this first demographic breakdown, a diversity among this audience is revealed. Men are ever-so-slightly favored, accounting for 53% of the audience. Still, the disparity is so small that it finds both men and women barely off the baseline.

AGE

Our demographic stats are distinct, as they deal with the social media audience under analysis in its entirety, both the portion who are engaged and vocal, and those who are lurking and/or are more subtle in exhibiting their affinities. StatSocial calculates its insights based on data from a far broader array of sources than virtually all other platforms.

We bring this up here to add that, while excellent, our demographic data is seldom, in isolation, where our most revealing insights are found. Already below, however, we can see plainly why ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ not only opened strong, but has legs.

23.28% of the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience is between ages 18 and 24. 19.48% of the audience is between ages 45 and 54

The above graphic is an edited screengrab from our easy-to-use web platform. When running reports on the site, you’ll find that the index scores for results that exceed the baseline are in green, and those that are in-keeping-with, or fall-short-of the baseline are in red. Here we can see immediately that two very compelling and telling age brackets jump out as over-indexed.

Let us begin by addressing the 45 to 54 set, who make up nearly 19.5% of this group; a proportion that exceeds the U.S. average by 1.15 times. Queen last toured the states in ’82 (they toured the rest of the world until ‘86). Their greatest commercial success in the states occurred between 1977 and 1980. So, the upper-reaches of this age bracket would have been high school aged during this period. Even those here who are too young (unless they had really cool parents) to have ever seen Queen live can probably remember them dominating the airwaves, as well as the stereos and bedroom walls of many an older brother and sister.

The above is what makes the most over-indexed age-bracket here so compelling, and frankly telling.

To a degree exceeding the average American social media audience by one-and-three-tenths times, those between ages 18 and 24 account for over 23% of this audience.

You can see above that nearly 69% of this audience is aged 44 or younger. With some exceptions — those who did get to go to concerts as little kids, those who grew up overseas — most within this comfortable majority would have been too young to have ever seen Queen. Heck, anyone nearly aged 27 or younger would have been born after the tragic death of Freddie Mercury.

The music transcends such meaningless divisions as age.

YouTube’s Fine Brothers, on their FBE channel, have made an industry of “[BLANK] React To [BLANK]” videos. None, we’d contend, was ever more charming, or heartening, than “Kids React To Queen.” While these kids are younger than any counted above, the reactions captured in this video most certainly underline our findings.

As a quick aside, among the vast many insights on offer with every StatSocial report is a full survey of the the favorite YouTube channels of the audience under analysis.

1.88% of the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience are fans of the FBE YouTube channel

The FBE (Fine Brothers Entertainment) channel finds favor among the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ set to a degree that exceeds the baseline by what’s approaching six-and-one-tenth times.

INCOME

The surprising youth of this gang would almost certainly be a factor in these income insights. This group earns under $50k annually to a degree exceeding the baseline by one-and-one-fifth times.

Those earning over $50k but under six figures fall a bit below the baseline, but still account for what’s confidently over one-third of the audience here.

Let’s move into some of the deeper insights…

STATSOCIAL CLUSTERS

As you’ll find elsewhere on the StatSocial site, we explain StatSocial Clusters with the words below:

About StatSocial Clusters

Our data scientists have modeled the entire US population into 200 unique clusters. Using billions of inputs for over 120M US consumers, we have segmented naturally occurring population clusters across distinct demographic and household types, personality traits provided by IBM Watson, combined with people’s passions, which we have sourced from their social activities online. For those familiar with traditional clustering models such as PRIZM, Personicx, Mosaic, and Tapestry, we believe this layer of social behaviors, which only StatSocial can offer, provides the richest possible insights into what motivates different types of people. We think you’re going to love the context our cluster analysis will provide.

You can click through here to read our descriptions of all 200 unique segments, including the five below.

Below are the clusters to which the members of the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience most prominently belong when compared to the average U.S. social media bunch. Beneath the chart will be a brief thumbnail summary of each. You can get the more in-depth description applying to each cluster at the link above.

Screaming for Vengeance’ is a cluster characterized most strongly by a love of heavy metal music. ‘Alternative Nation’ is made up of, primarily, fans of ’90s Lollapalooza-era bands. Those in the ‘London Calling’ cluster display a somewhat multifaceted anglocentricity, including interest in sports and television from the U.K. The defining love of those within the ‘La Liga Believas’ cluster is one for Spain’s highest level professional football/soccer league. Those within the ‘Hooligantastic’ cluster are fans of football/soccer from the U.K., both those clubs that play in the Premier League, and some from the lower leagues as well.

Once more, click through here to read more in depth descriptions of these and the rest of the 200 clusters we’ve assembled.

Onward, to an area near and dear to our hearts, influencers

INFLUENCERS

Queen’s lead guitarist, the great Brian May — that most rare of rockers who also has a PhD in astrophysics — somewhat unsurprisingly tops the influencers list for this audience. He finds affinity among this crowd to a degree exceeding the average American social media audience by what’s approaching a very considerable 123 times.

A certain Sir Michael Jagger and his friend Keef, from an obscure London-town combo called The Rolling Stones find favor here to degrees exceeding the baseline by 56.3 and 46.3 times respectively.

Freddie Mercury and Alice Cooper, the latter of whom finds fans among the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience to a degree exceeding the average U.S. social media audience by 42 ¾ times.

Freddie’s good friend, Sir Elton John, finds affinity among this group to a degree exceeding the baseline by 22 ⅔ times. Most notable of all, perhaps, is that Adele, who has a quite sizable social media presence, finds affinity among this gathering to a degree that exceeds the U.S. average by four-and-four-fifths times.

BRANDS

Sony, of course, has a motion pictures division. It was not, however, involved with the production or distribution of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.

Sony, as we’re certain requires no clarifying, is a multinational corporation with fingers in all manner of electronics and media pies. That they find fans among the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ crowd to a degree that exceeds the average social bunch by five-and-a-half-times could mean a lot of things.

Sony, for what it’s worth, does have skin in the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ game, as the Japanese-owned conglomerate owns a chunk of Queen’s music publishing.

Marvel Entertainment is, of course, an insanely profitable division of Disney. Disney has long been rumored to be trying to purchase the various entertainment divisions of 20th Century Fox, who is the studio behind ‘Rhapsody.’ While in this Disney groove, it bears mentioning that their Hollywood Records has owned the North American distribution rights to Queen’s catalog since the early-90s.

In any event, Marvel finds favor among this group to a degree exceeding the baseline by over five-and-two-fifths-times.

As we continue on we see the American space program, our nation’s number one soft drink, and a popular energy drink all finding favor here. The sports of (largely) foreign lands also seem to be receiving love.

FIFA and Formula 1 find favor here to degrees four-and-nine-tenths and four-and-a-half times in excess of the baseline, respectively.

Here, Formula 1 racing legend and sworn Queen fan, Jackie Stewart, speaks of his first encounter with the band’s rather famously un-rockstar-like bassist, John Deacon.

TV

On the topic of Marvel, five of the studio’s Netflix series adorn this list of the top TV shows among ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’’s fans.

The genre entertainment theme continues with CBS’ ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ Fox’s ‘Gotham,’ and the periodically produced British series ‘Sherlock.’

Finding favor here to a degree exceeding the baseline by over 12 ⅖ times is America’s longest-ever-running scripted series, ‘The Simpsons.’ Over nearly 30 years on the air, there’s not a whole lot to which the program hasn’t made reference at some point, but here a YouTube user has taken the time show us (presumably) every occasion that Queen was referenced on the show.

MUSIC

International powerhouse bands such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Aerosmith, and — the seldom mentioned in this company, but one of the most globally successful bands of all time — Iron Maiden all find favor among the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience to degrees profoundly exceeding the baseline.

Drawing of Jimi Hendrix by Freddie Mercury

Freddie’s personal idol, and the performer to first put the bee in his bonnet to pursue being a rock star, Jimi Hendrix, finds affinity among this fanbase to a degree exceeding the baseline by 93.9 times.

Nirvana’s inclusion here is not so unusual for a number of reasons. Among them, however, is the fact that Kurt Cobain was a declared Queen fan. In his suicide note, Kurt even directly referenced Freddie. Also, however, former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl, has been quite outspoken in expressing his adoration for Mr. Mercury and company. While on that topic, Grohl’s Foo Fighters bandmate, drummer Taylor Hawkins, has made it quite clear on numerous occasions that he regards Queen as his favorite band of all time.

More fun, perhaps, is the inclusion of Britain’s seminal punk rock combo, The Sex Pistols. If you go to YouTube you can find a fun, relatively recent interview with Brian May on former Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones’ popular Los Angeles area radio show, Jonesy’s Jukebox.

For now, however, here’s a recounting of the time Freddie met Sid Vicious.

WEBSITES

Music sites are prominent here, with the site in first place — the name of which is self-explanatory if you’re not familiar — finding favor with this group to a degree in excess of the baseline by 48 ⅗ times. The site in second, with visitors among this crowd to a degree exceeding the average by 30 ⅗ times, is a site dedicated to those things hard rock and heavy metal.

We are reminded, however, that this is an audience who have first and foremost rallied around a film. Four of the ten sites listed deal explicitly with that area of interest.

Speaking of interests…

INTERESTS

We are not here to editorialize, just report our findings. Still, some — who shall remain nameless — might find the high placement of Progressive Rock upon this list of interests somewhat unnerving. So fond are this group of this genre of music — with which Queen were in no way, shape, or form involved — that their affinity for it outstrips that to be found among the average U.S. social crowd by 49 ¾ times.

Proportions drop considerably as we descend to an interest in guitar. While not as dramatic as their (frightfully) apparent love of prog rock, this gathering’s fondness for sweet axes and the noises that do emanate from them exceeds the baseline by 15 ⅕ times.

The love of comic booky type things — despite Freddie not believing in “Peter Pan, Frankenstein, or Superman” — suggested strongly by both the list of brands and TV shows crops up at the bottom of this list. This audience’s love of comics exceeds the baseline by three times.

PERSONALITIES (courtesy of IBM Watson™ Personality Insights)

Among the vast many audience insights uncovered in every StatSocial report is an analysis of the personality types most prevalent among the grouping under review. The ability to derive these spectacularly useful and unique insights from our audience data comes via our proud partnership with IBM Watson™ and our integration of their Personality Insights tool into our reporting.

Personality Insights, in the case of its application to StatSocial, processes all the public online writings — on social media, blogs, message boards, comments threads, and so forth — of those comprising the audience being analyzed. Using sophisticated linguistic analytics, Personality Insights infers the characteristics of each audience member. Starting with the widely applied Big Five taxonomy of personality traits and psyche. From there Watson™analyzes further, uncovering needs, values, and more.

Visit the IBM Watson™ Personality Insights website for more in depth explanations.

Four of the most highly indexed personality types to be found among the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ audience fall under the Big Five category of Openness. Characterized in the context of the Big Five as an “appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.”

Nothing could make more sense for Queen fans, surely.

The personality traits under the Openness banner that are most predominant are Imagination, Adventurousness, Liberalism, and Intellect. In this context the first, second, and fourth personality traits describe what you more or less think. The third, however, in the context of IBM Watson™ Personality Insights, does not relate to an overtly political stance or ideology. It means liberalism in the more classical sense of questioning authority and seeking freedom.

A more detailed explanation the personalities on the above list, and examples of how these personality traits can be translated into practical marketing applications, are viewable at the IBM Watson™ website which you can visit by clicking here.

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WHAT THIS ALL MEANS TO THE BUSINESS OWNER AND/OR MARKETER

Taking a topical matter from popular culture, we’re demonstrating in action the sort of top-line insights that would be contained in a StatSocial report.

You can see where the results sometimes conform to expectation, and just as often buck it. Deeper analysis nearly invariably reveals those results that seem like anomalies to actually make perfect sense, as a deeper understanding of the audience being analyzed is gained.

Armed with these insights — as with all other StatSocial insights — you can ascertain to what degree your message is already reaching your desired consumer type, whether or not you’d like to be reaching a different or additional audience, and finally where in the wilds of social media that audience-type — be they more of who is already connecting with your brand, or those you’d like to sway to your brand’s favor — can be found.

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You can snoop around the greater StatSocial Insights blog by clicking here.

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