Queen In other media
In conjunction with Electronic Arts, Queen released the computer game Queen: The Eye in 1998, to commercial and critical failure. The music itself — tracks from Queen’s vast catalogue, in many cases remixed into new instrumental versions — was by and large well received, but the game experience was hampered by poor game play. Adding to the problem was an extremely long development time, resulting in graphic elements that already seemed outdated by the time of release.
Under the supervision of May and Taylor, numerous restoration projects have been underway involving Queen’s lengthy audio and video catalogue. DVD releases of their 1986 Wembley concert (titled Live At Wembley Stadium) and 1982 Milton Keynes concert (Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl), and two Greatest Video Hits (Volumes 1 and 2, spanning the 1970s and 1980s) have seen the band’s music remixed into 5.1 and DTS surround sound. So far, only two of the band’s albums, A Night at the Opera and The Game, have been fully remixed into high-resolution multichannel surround on DVD-Audio. A Night at the Opera was re-released with some revised 5.1 mixes and accompanying videos in 2005 for the 30th anniversary of the album’s original release (CD+DVD-Video set). In 2007, a BluRay edition of Queen’s previously released concerts Queen Rock Montreal & Live Aid was released together marking their first project in 1080p HD.
Queen have been featured multiple times in the Guitar Hero franchise: a cover of “Killer Queen” in the original Guitar Hero, “We Are The Champions”, “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and the Paul Rodgers collaboration “C-lebrity” in a track pack for Guitar Hero World Tour, and “Under Pressure” with David Bowie in Guitar Hero 5. On October 13th, 2009, Brian May revealed there was “talk “going on behind the scenes” about a dedicated Queen Rock Band game.”
In March 2009, Sony Computer Entertainment released a Queen branded version of the company’s karaoke franchise, SingStar. The game, which is available on Playstation 2 and Playstation 3, is titled SingStar Queen and has 25 songs on the PS3 and 20 on the PS2.
Film and television
Queen contributed music directly to the movies Flash Gordon (1980, directed by Mike Hodges) and Highlander (the original 1986 film, directed by Russell Mulcahy). The songs, “A Kind of Magic, “One Year of Love”, “Who Wants to Live Forever”, “Hammer to Fall”, and the theme “Princes of the Universe” can be heard in the film. It was also used in the Highlander TV series (1992–1998). “A Kind of Magic” can be heard in the beginning bar scene of “Highlander 2”.
In the United States, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was re-released as a single in 1992 after appearing in Wayne’s World. The single subsequently reached number two on the US Billboard chart (with “The Show Must Go On” as the first track on the single) and helped rekindle the band’s popularity in North America.
Several films have featured their songs performed by other artists. A version of “Somebody to Love” was done by Anne Hathaway in the 2004 film Ella Enchanted. In 2006, Brittany Murphy also recorded a cover of the same song for the 2006 movie Happy Feet. In 2001, a version of “The Show Must Go On” was performed by Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman in the movie musical Moulin Rouge!. The closing credits of A Knight’s Tale released in 2001 has a version of “We Are the Champions” performed by Robbie Williams and Queen; the introduction to the same movie features We Will Rock You played by the medieval audience. In 1992, the film “Gladiator” featured snippets of “We Will Rock You” performed by Warrant whereas their full version was released as a single. In 2004 “Don’t Stop Me Now” was featured in the bar fight scene in the cult movie Shaun of the Dead, and “You’re My Best Friend” played during the end credits, as well as during the 2006 film “The Break-Up”.
Keeping in the tradition (since Season Five) of naming each season’s episodes after songs from a famous 1970s era rock band (Led Zeppelin for the fifth season, The Who for the sixth and The Rolling Stones for the seventh), the eighth and final season of That ’70s Show consisted of episodes named after Queen songs. “Bohemian Rhapsody” served as the season premiere.
On 11 April 2006 Brian May and Roger Taylor appeared on the American singing contest television show American Idol. Each contestant was required to sing a Queen song during that week of the competition. Songs which appeared on the show included “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Fat Bottomed Girls”, “The Show Must Go On”, “Who Wants to Live Forever”, and “Innuendo”. Brian May later criticised the show for editing specific scenes, one which made the group’s time with contestant Ace Young look negative, despite it being the opposite.
Taylor and May again appeared on the American Idol Season 8 finale in May 2009, performing “We Are the Champions” with finalists Adam Lambert and Kris Allen.
Al Murray’s Happy Hour has a Queen theme, as it uses “Don’t Stop Me Now” for the introduction and features guest performers along with host Al Murray singing different Queen songs each episode. The remainder of Queen did appear at the end of a series of the show.
“I Was Born to Love You” was used as the theme song of the Japanese drama Pride on Fuji Television in 2004, starring Takuya Kimura and Yūko Takeuchi. The show’s soundtrack also contained other songs by Queen, including “We Will Rock You, “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
The band made tentative plans to provide material for use in “The Hotel New Hampshire” but this project was abandoned. However, “Keep Passing The Open Windows” (which is an important catch-phrase line in the movie) did survive. The Simpsons has also made storylines in which they use Queen songs such as ‘You’re My Best friend’.
In 2002, a musical or “rock theatrical” based on the songs of Queen, titled We Will Rock You, opened at the Dominion Theatre on London’s West End. The musical was written by British comedian and author Ben Elton in collaboration with Brian May and Roger Taylor, and produced by Robert De Niro. It has since been staged in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain; Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane, Australia; Cologne, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; South Africa, Las Vegas United States; Zurich, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Moscow, Russia; Varberg, Sweden; Auckland, New Zealand; Toronto, Canada; Hong Kong and Singapore.
The original London production was scheduled to close on Saturday, 7 October 2006 at the Dominion Theatre, but due to public demand, the show has now been extended indefinitely. We Will Rock You has become the longest running musical ever to run at this prime London theatre, overtaking the previous record holder, the Grease musical.
The launch of the musical coincided with Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. As part of the Jubilee celebrations Brian May performed a guitar solo of “God Save the Queen”, as featured on Queen’s A Night at the Opera, from the roof of Buckingham Palace. The recording of this performance was used as video for the same song on the 30th Anniversary DVD edition of A Night at the Opera.
Sean Bovim created “Queen at the Ballet”, a tribute to Freddie Mercury, which uses Queen’s music as a soundtrack for the show’s dancers, who interpret the stories behind tracks such as “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga” and “Killer Queen”. Brian May has confirmed that they are considering writing a sequel to the musical. The musical is touring around the UK in 2009, playing at Manchester Palace Theatre, Sunderland Empire, Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Hippodrome, Edinburgh Playhouse.