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Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Still on Top With $24 Million

Fifty Shades of Grey” is still on top of the U.S. box office, despite competition from a trio of new releases and a sharp 72% drop in ticket sales.

Universal’s romance drama tied up $8 million on Friday on its way to earn $24 million-plus in its second weekend — raising its 10-day cume to $131 million.

The fall comes as no surprise considering how high the film climbed last weekend. “Fifty Shades” broke several records in its debut (including the biggest February opening of all time) over Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend, taking in a whopping $85 million at the domestic box office.

The film, based on E.L. James’ bestselling erotic trilogy, carries a fairly modest $40 million production budget. It had already crossed $300 million worldwide by Wednesday.

James is currently in discussions with Universal about writing the script for the movie’s sequel herself.

This weekend’s new entries, “The Duff,” “McFarland USA” and “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” were miles away from “Fifty Shades.”

CBS Films-Lionsgate’s teen comedy “The Duff” led the pack of newcomers on Friday with $4.3 million. The pic came in third on Friday, but will most likely finish the weekend in fourth place, with more than $11.5 million — exceeding estimates ranging from $7 million to $9 million. The comedy carries a slim $8.5 million budget.

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“Parenthood” alum Mae Whitman stars as a high-schooler who decides to reinvent herself when she discovers that her classmates consider her their “designated ugly fat friend.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Costner’s latest sports drama, “McFarland USA,” reeled in $3.6 million on Friday for a fifth place finish. Disney’s inspirational film, which stars Costner as a real-life high school cross-country coach, is on track for just under $11 million in its opening weekend. The pic cost $25 million to make.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2” fared worst among the newcomers, landing in seventh. Paramount/MGM’s sequel launched to $2.3 million on Friday and will laugh its way to $5.5 million-plus. The R-rated comedy, which cost $14 million to produce, reunites Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke, while adding Adam Scott to the cast. John Cusack opted out of this new installment.

The first film opened to $14 million in 2010 and went on to gross $50.3 million in the U.S.

A pair of holdovers — “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and of “SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water” — were in a close race for second place.

Fox’s spy thriller “Kingsman” was runner-up on Friday with $5.3 million as it eyed $18 million in its second weekend.

Paramount’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” soaked up $4 million in its third frame and could draw $17.5 million this weekend.

Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper” came in sixth place on its sixth weekend of wide release. The Iraq War drama brought in $3.2 million on Friday and will likely earn $10 million by weekend’s end, for a total haul of $320 million.

The film is set to overtake “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1,” which has grossed $336 million, as the biggest domestic movie released in 2014.

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