Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ Hits Major Milestone at The Worldwide Box Office

by Samantha Whidden

Just a little over a month after the premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” the Elvis Presley biopic has hit a major milestone at the box office. 

According to a Film Update’s tweet, “Elvis” has grossed $210 million at the worldwide box office. “The film, produced in $85 [million], officially becomes the second-highest grossing music biopic of all time, behind ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’”

Starring Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, and Olivia DeJonge, “Elvis” follows the King of Rock and Roll from childhood to becoming a singing phenomenon in the 1950s. The film premiered on June 24, 2022, and has received mainly positive reviews. It currently has a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

However, the box office milestone comes just days after “Elvis” actress Shonka Dukureh, unexpectedly passed away in her Nashville apartment. She was 44 years old at the time when one of her children found her unresponsive in her home. Although the medical examiner is currently working on finding the cause of death, foul play is currently not suspected. 

Dukureh played Big Mama Thornton in the biopic. Thornton is notably the first to record “Hound Dog,” which was eventually covered by Elvis Presley. The late actress also performed the song on the film’s soundtrack. The film was Dukureh’s first major role.  

Luhrmann paid tribute to the late actress on Instagram by writing that the actress brought joy, spirit, voice, and music wherever she went. “Whenever she was on set, on stage, or even just in the room, everyone always felt uplifted. Shonka was just starting to find a larger audience for her tremendous talent. And I got to see her uplift whole crowds of people at Coachella and beyond.”

‘Elvis’ Director Baz Luhrmann Talks About the Film’s Four-Hour Cut 

During an interview with Collider last month, “Elvis” director Baz Luhrmann spoke about the film’s four-hour long extended cut and if the film’s fans will be seeing it anytime soon. 

“My mission is to make a movie that’s not a franchise movie,” Luhrmann explained. “All respect to franchise movies by the way. I love my Batman. But I want to make a movie that cross generations, will come in that’s not a franchise and sit in a dark room with strangers and commune in a vast American story, a vast American opera.”

When asked if he was planning to release the extended version of the film, Luhrmann explained, “I can’t even begin to conceive what a longer version of this would be right now. But the idea that there’s a different riff on this theatrical version, that’s years down the road. It’s years down the road, but it’s possible. But I can’t underline enough, it’s not tomorrow. It’s years down the road.”