“Fifty Shades of Grey” is a hit in almost any language.
The bigscreen adaptation of E.L. James’ look at a billionaire and the bondage fetish that ties him to a college journalist scored with $158 million at the foreign box office. That massive figure came from 9,637 locations in 58 territories — essentially every point on the globe where Valentine’s Day is celebrated.
Combined with the picture’s record-breaking Stateside debut, the film has earned $239.7 million worldwide. That’s a tidy sum for a film without any big-name stars and an economical $40 million production budget. It’s also the rare erotic film that attracted crowds at the multiplex, a feat it accomplished by focusing on the romantic elements that underlie its tale of BDSM.
“Our release date strategy was really the perfect storm,” noted Nick Carpou, head of domestic distribution at Universal, the studio behind the film. “Our campaign gave people permission to see the film.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is Universal’s second biggest international weekend behind “Fast & Furious 6,” which made $160.3 million when it debuted in 2013. It is also the biggest opening weekend for an R-rated film internationally, beating the previous record holder, “The Matrix Revolutions” and its $117 million haul.
Among notable results, “Fifty Shades of Grey” pulled in $21.1 million from the United Kingdom and Ireland, $15.2 million from Germany, $10.5 million from Russia, $8.9 million from Brazil and $8.6 million from Australia. The film has five more territories to open including Trinidad on Feb. 18, Korea on Feb. 26, a handful of Middle East territories on March 5 and India at an as-yet-undetermined date.