'Bohemian Rhapsody' boosted Fox after a grim 2018, but the mood is tense ahead of the Disney merger

  • Fox reported solid second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, thanks in large part to the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which has grossed $US833 million worldwide.
  • But Fox’s 2018 was otherwise grim at the box office, leaving Fox employees tense ahead of the Disney merger, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” soared to global success late last year and nabbed $US833 million worldwide. The movie’s success propelled its studio, Fox, to an impressive quarter to end 2018 on.

Fox on Wednesday reported revenue of $US8.5 billion for its second fiscal quarter, which ended December 31, a year-over-year increase of 6%. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which came to theatres in November, helped immensely with this gain. The film division generated operating income before depreciation or amortization of $US193 million, up 47% from the $US131 million reported over the same period in the previous year.

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“The OIBDA increase reflects higher contributions from the film studio led by the worldwide theatrical performance of Bohemian Rhapsody (winner of two Golden Globes and nominated for five Academy Awards), lower theatrical releasing costs from a comparatively lower number of films released in the current quarter, and the worldwide home entertainment and pay television performance of The Greatest Showman, partially offset by higher new series deficits and lower domestic syndication contributions at the television production studio,” Fox said in its earnings report.

While the film division skyrocketed in Q2, tensions still loom for Fox employees ahead of the Disney merger, which is expected to close early this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote Wednesday that some inside Fox felt the studio had been “moved from life support to hospice” after a string of box-office flops (minus “Deadpool 2” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”) in 2018 and were tired of waiting for the deal to close.

Fox finished fifth at the box office in 2018, below the four other major studios: Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, and Sony. Its box-office disappointments included Jennifer Lawrence’s “Red Sparrow,” the Oscar hopeful “Widows” (which ultimately failed to land any nominations), and “The Predator.”

At least 4,000 employees are expected to be laid off following the merger as Disney has promised $US2 billion in cost savings, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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