Galileo, Paterno, Magnifico: Queen – When $10M Yields A Shit-Ton



Photo of Peter T. Paterno

Peter Paterno
King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP

November 13, 2018

Waaaay back in 1990, Peter Paterno, then President of Hollywood Records (which he’d helped launch that year), spearheaded the label’s acquisition of North American rights to the Queen catalog for $10m. That’s starting to look like a pretty good investment.

The expenditure was roundly derided by certain industry know-it-alls who argued that the band was past it, although it paid for itself tenfold over the ensuing five years, especially after the now-iconic headbanging scene in the first Wayne’s World movie put “Bohemian Rhapsody” back on the cultural radar with vengeance. (The year after final Queen album Innuendo dropped on Hollywood in 1991, singer Freddie Mercury died; Paterno exited the label in 1993).

Of course, now Queen is producing another enormous windfall for Hollywood, as the smash Bohemian biopic fuels huge sales of multiple collections, including the OST and a couple of hits collections, and even streams for the film’s title track. How much has that initial $10m outlay yielded for the label? We’re gonna go out on a limb and say a shit-ton.

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