B.O. Roundup, February 13-15: 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Whips the Competition

Sunday, 15 February 2015 13:10 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, February 13-15: 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Whips the Competition

America got a little freaky at the multiplex over the weekend, making Fifty Shades of Grey a bona-fide sensation.

According to current estimates, the adaptation raked in $81.6 million from 3,646 theaters in the U.S. and Canada.

That's huge.  It's the kind of number you'd expect from a superhero movie, not an R-rated slice of melodramatic eroticism.  Of course the fact that the novel by EL James sold 100 million copies, so it's not too surprising, but this is still a very, very unusual sight in the current mainstream moviegoing landscape.

Fifty Shades of Grey tied up the record for Presidents' Day weekend and Valentine's Day weekend, spanking the $63.1 million of Valentine's Day.  More importantly, it snagged the record for the high-grossing debut for a film directed by a woman (which doesn't even necessarily mean director Sam Taylor-Johnson will be back for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed).

The BDSM romance was clearly going to be big given its robust pre-sales and Thursday midnight haul, leading some prognosticators to prognosticate even more broken records.  Even with its unprecedented performance, though, Fifty Shades of Grey did not become the biggest February opener, falling just short of The Passion of the Christ, which opened to the tune of $83.9 million in 2004.  Still, the cinematic debut of Anastasia Steele and Dakota Johnson holds the title of fifth-highest-grossing R-rated opener on the books, behind The Matrix Reloaded, American Sniper, The Hangover: Part II, and Mel Gibson's religious torture extravaganza.

While Fifty Shades of Grey dominated the box office, another new R-rated release proved wily enough to avoid becoming the number one movie's submissive sex slave.  Kingsman: The Secret Service, a gleefully transgressive espionage action-comedy, opened in 3,204 North American theaters and hauled in an estimated $35.6 million.

Matthew Vaughn's riff on old-school spy movies may not have had the huge weekend that Fifty Shades of Grey did, but it ought to have longer legs: Kingsman scored a B+ from moviegoers, according to CinemaScore and Fifty Shades earned a C, suggesting that word of mouth won't be too kind.  And fan-driven, pop-culture hot-buttons like this usually burn off demand quickly.

Check out the whole top ten to see with divisive, insanely profitable war movie starring Bradley Cooper passed $300 million at the domestic box office (hint: it's American Sniper).

1. Fifty Shades of Grey..........................................................................$81.6 million...............New Release

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service..........................................................$35.6 million...............New Release

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.................................$30.5 million...............$93.6 million

4. American Sniper.................................................................................$16.4 million...............$304.1 million

5. Jupiter Ascending...............................................................................$5.4 million.................$32.5 million

6. Seventh Son........................................................................................$4.1 million.................$13.4 million

7. Paddington..........................................................................................$4.5 million.................$62.3 million

8. The Imitation Game............................................................................$3.5 million.................$79.6 million

9. The Wedding Ringer...........................................................................$3.4 million.................$59.7 million

10. Project Almanac...............................................................................$2.7 million.................$19.5 million

Expect Fifty Shades of Grey to stay on top next weekend despite competition from three very different new releases: Hot Tub Time Machine 2, The DUFF, and McFarland, USA.

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