By Ethan Sacks / April 8, 2019

Elton John, Queen, Bruce Springsteen are on Hollywood Playlist as Rock Biopics Become Trend

"Rocketman," "Bohemian Rhapsody" show film industry is ready to rock.

Rocketman
Taron Egerton stars as Elton John in "Rocketman." (Paramount)

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As much as rock n’ roll was built on stealing other band’s riffs, Hollywood is taking that refrain to a whole new level.

Even before the success of Bohemian Rhapsody earned almost $900 million at the box office and won four Oscars, a number of biopics about classic rock icons were being tuned up.

In fact, director Dexter Fletcher took over the helm of Bohemian Rhapsody after Fox fired Bryan Singer, the original director on the biopic about Queen singer Freddy Mercury, even as he was in preproduction on another biopic. That film, Rocketman, chronicles a couple of verses in the life story of Elton John, is set for release next month.

And if you thought that feels like a familiar tune…

“This year’s release slate features a double L.P.’s worth of classic-rock-inflected films that center on the catalogues of the Beatles, Elton John, and Bruce Springsteen—and there’s more to come,” writes Vanity Fair’s Nicole Sperling.  “While music biopics and jukebox musicals have long been a reliable story well for Hollywood, going back to Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello’s Beach Blanket Bingo all the way through to What’s Love Got to Do with It, Ray, Walk the Line, and Mamma Mia! But in the wake of Bohemian Rhapsody, something different may be taking shape.

“Studios are banking on audiences’ familiarity with songs that have been radio staples for decades, in a world in which it is increasingly more difficult to pry audiences off their couches.”

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