After ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: The Next Five Classic Rock Movies
Having defeated production nightmares, creative disputes and critical dismissal, the Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody has, in 11 short weeks, become the most successful music biopic of all time, with box-office records smashed and awards rolling in.
It’s inevitable that production companies all over the world are scrabbling for a piece of the action – but before that series of bandwagon productions arrive, there are five classic rock movies already underway that may, or may not, emulate the success of the Freddie Mercury story.
In the coming year or so, you’ll be presented with the opportunity to watch movies about Motley Crue (The Dirt), Elton John (Rocketman), Lynyrd Skynyrd (Street Survivors), Journey (currently untitled) and the Beatles (currently untitled). All five productions are their own distinct inventions, each likely to draw different audiences for different reasons. (There's also talk of getting a film bio about Keith Moon off the ground sometime soon.)
It’s important for a music biopic to feature an impressive soundtrack. The music, first of all, is why we care about the people we see onscreen. A compelling story is secondary to the music, and so while all five upcoming films have undoubted compelling stories, the magic will be mixed in the way the narratives are presented against the songs.
As we look forward to a new generation of music biopics – tentatively hoping our artist will be chosen, then worrying about whether their work will be treated the way we want it to be – it’s worth remembering the words of Stanley Kubrick: “A film is, or should be, more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”