On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that despite being fired from Bohemian Rhapsody, director Bryan Singer could earn more than $40 million from the film. That's even though Singer was fired from the film for not showing up to set with just two weeks of shooting left, and even though he's in the middle of a serious scandal due to allegations of rape and sexual misconduct.
On December 7, Deadline reported that Singer was being sued for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenager at a yacht party in 2003. On January 24, The Atlantic published an in-depth investigative piece detailing the accusations against Singer, which brought forward several new accusations from alleged victims. The same day, the GLAAD Awards announced it was pulling Bohemian Rhapsody from consideration in solidarity with sexual assault survivors. Time’s Up also released a statement urging Hollywood to take the accusations against Singer seriously. Nevertheless, the Queen biopic, which received mixed reviews, cleaned up at the Golden Globes earlier this month, taking home the Best Motion Picture–Drama award, and was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, last week.
According to THR, the director’s history of erratic behavior goes back more than a decade, and the set of Bohemian Rhapsody was no exception. “Malek, taking his seat in the makeup chair at 6:30 AM, would find himself and other cast and crew waiting around for a director,” reads a story about the troubled production from October.
Dexter Fletcher was hired to complete the film, but Singer retained his directing credit, meaning he’s eligible to receive “backend compensation,” a.k.a. a percentage of the profits after a movie breaks even, plus box office bonuses at different milestones. Singer’s upfront paycheck for Bohemian Rhapsody hasn’t been disclosed—but he’s getting $10 million to direct Red Sonja, which will be a career high.
THR noted that Singer likely negotiated a “strong backend provision” in his deal to direct Bohemian Rhapsody, which is where the possible $40 million windfall comes into play. It’s earned a "fat-bottomed $817 million worldwide to date,” according to THR, which potentially entitles Singer to a lot more dough than expected.
Understandably, Fox—the studio that co-financed and released the film—is reportedly not pleased about cutting Singer a $40 million check. According to THR’s sources, Fox is “exploring its legal options in terms of its financial obligations to Singer." His entitlement to backend compensation, for example, could be forfeited if the studio proves Singer was fired for cause, but a “negotiated resolution” was likely brokered when the director was let go, the sources add.
Singer's firing didn't have anything to do with the allegations against him, but those allegations make it look even worse for the director to be collecting a huge paycheck for Bohemian Rhapsody. Though he likely won't be on the Oscar stage even if the film wins (no one on Bohemian Rhapsody so much as thanked him at the Globes), Singer's career hasn't been destroyed by scandal. The question remains when, if ever, the allegations against him—which have been circulating for years—will lead to actual consequences.
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