×

‘Fifty Shades’ Dominating Box Office As It Eyes Record-Breaking $76 Million Opening

Fifty Shades of Grey” is not only heating up screens across North America, but lighting a fire under its competition as well.

The Universal drama opened to $30.2 million on Friday on its way to a projected, record-breaking $76 million long weekend. If estimates hold, the R-rated pic will easily dominate the previous Presidents Day weekend record holder, “Valentine’s Day,” for the best showing ever for the holiday. Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” opened to $63.1 million in 2010.

The erotic romance could also break the current Valentine’s Day box office record, which was also set, appropriately enough, by “Valentine’s Day” with $23.4 million.

Early Friday estimates had pegged the film for an $85 million long weekend debut after a record-setting Thursday-night launch of $8.6 million — overtaking “Fast & Furious 6” as Universal’s highest-grossing latenight preview of all time.

The film, which began rolling out internationally on Wednesday, opened at No. 1 in 56 of its 57 territories, including the U.K., France, Germany and Russia. It grossed $38 million on Friday for an early total of $66 million. The film is on track for an international weekend take of $158.3 million, which would make it Universal’s second highest opening weekend of all time, just behind “Fast & Furious 6” ($160.3 million).

Fifty Shades of Grey,” based on E.L. James’ bestselling romance novel, carries a fairly modest $40 million production budget. The film is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and stars Jamie Dornan as an enigmatic bondage-loving billionaire who falls for Dakota Johnson’s sexually inexperienced college student.

The holiday weekend’s other new entry, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” is also doing strong business.

The actioner was runner-up with $10.5 million on Friday. “Kingsman,” starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, eyes $34.5 million by Sunday and an estimated $40 million this four-day weekend.

The spy thriller cost approximately $80 million to produce and has already launched in several foreign markets, where it had grossed almost $20 million by Thursday.

Last weekend’s victor, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” was third on Friday. The toon grossed an estimated $6.5 million as it approaches a $31 million weekend. “SpongeBob,” like “Kingsman,” is projected to take just under $40 million.

Two other holdovers — both Warner Bros. pics — rounded out the top five.

“American Sniper” continued its hot streak, taking in $3.4 million on Friday. The Iraq War drama from Clint Eastwood could earn just under $18 million this weekend and $20.5 million by Monday, reaching another milestone by crossing the $300 million domestic mark.

Meanwhile, “Jupiter Ascending” grossed $3.2 million this Friday en route to an estimated $7.3 million weekend — a 60% drop. The fantasy pic, directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski, could make $8.5 million by Presidents Day.

More Film

  • The Great Hack (2019) - pictured:

    Film Review: 'The Great Hack'

    When I was growing up, we learned that the moral cornerstone of the First Amendment — the very essence of it — is that it’s about protecting the speech you don’t like. If the Nazis aren’t allowed to march in Skokie (a major test case in the 1970s), then a treacherous principle gets laid down: that [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Ads placed for the drama had an estimated media value of $5.71 million through Sunday for 997 national ad [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Outfest Film Review: 'Circus of Books'

    Rachel Mason grew up believing that her parents ran a small bookstore in Los Angeles. She wasn’t entirely mistaken, although the naive young woman — then an artsy teen, now a documentary filmmaker — never imagined that, as her mother Karen bluntly tells her on camera, “at one point, we were probably the biggest distributor [...]

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content