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17 Feb 2024

“Bob Marley: One Love,” Paramount’s biopic about the reggae legend, is estimated to pick up roughly $46 million in its first six days at the domestic box office from Valentine’s Day to President’s Day, multiple outlets reported on Saturday, beating expectations and putting it up against a slew of other biopics.

Film Review - Bob Marley: One Love

“Bob Marley: One Love” is blowing away box office expectations, despite below-average reviews.

© 2023 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

“One Love,” starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the late singer and Lashana Lynch as his wife Rita Marley, grossed $7.4 million at more than 3,500 theaters on Friday, bringing its three-day total to $25.3 million since its Wednesday release, Variety reported.

The biopic is expected to make $46.2 million in its six-day opening stretch from Wednesday to Monday, the Hollywood Reporter and Deadline reported, including the $14 million it pulled in at its Wednesday opening, putting it well above previous expectations of a $35 million six-day opening through Presidents’ Day.

That figure makes “One Love” the highest-grossing midweek opening on a Valentine’s Day, above 2012’s “The Vow,” which brought in $11.5 million.

That opening also puts it ahead of a string of recent musical biopics, including 2019’s “Rocketman” about British pop star Elton John, which grossed $34.3 million in its first six days in theaters, as well as 2022’s “Elvis” ($44.7 million) and 2021’s “Respect” about Aretha Franklin ($8.8 million)—all three of those movies opened on Fridays rather than enjoying a Valentine’s Day-to-President’s Day run.

It also beats out 2014’s “Jersey Boys,” which told the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and made $18.3 million in its first six days in theaters, as well as 2004’s “Ray” ($24.6 million), about Ray Charles, 2005’s “Walk the Line” ($30.3 million) about Johnny Cash, and 2017’s “All Eyez On Me” ($31.7 million), about late rapper Tupac Shakur.

The only music biopics with bigger six-day opening stretches were “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the 2018 movie about Queen and Freddie Mercury ($65.6 million), and “Straight Outta Compton,” the 2015 biopic on the rap group N.W.A. ($80.2 million).

“One Love” has so far been met with mixed reviews, with audiences giving the biopic a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes while critics gave the movie a dismal 43%. The Marley feature shares the same critics review on Metacritic and a mediocre 6.5/10 score on IMDb. One critic with the New York Times argued the issue with the movie is its script, complete with “missed opportunities for insight into the man.” As one reviewer with The Guardian put it, Ben-Adir and Lynch’s performances were “let down by this deferential biopic’s undercooked screenplay.”

With “Bob Marley: One Love,” Paramount looks to reverse what had been a disappointing 2023 at the box office, amid a string of flops compounded by the months-long Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes. In total, the 2023 domestic gross fell short of the $9 billion analysts had hoped for as a bounce-back year from Covid-related movie woes, though a handful of movies were able to buck that trend. Director Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” pulled in a whopping $636.2 million domestically since its opening last July, while “Oppenheimer” has grossed $328.9 million since its release on the same day. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie, meanwhile, has made roughly $574.9 million since its release in April, according to Box Office Mojo.

Hollywood’s Rough Year: Here’s Why Box Office Sales Could Fall Short Of Expectations—And Worsen Next Year (Forbes)