‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is Officially the Biggest February Opening Ever

After the last moan was uttered and the final dollar counted, it appears that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was both bigger and smaller than initial estimates suggested.

The erotic drama brought in $85 million domestically over the three-day weekend. That was higher than the $81.7 million estimate that Universal Pictures suggested “Fifty Shades” had grossed. It also ranks as the biggest February opening in history, trumping Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” and its $83.8 million premiere in 2004.

However, the four-day Presidents Weekend forecast was a little too bright. The picture made $93 million over the holiday, not the $94.4 million that the studio projected it would hit.

Globally, the film remained in line with projections, earning $266.6 million worldwide over its first four days in theaters. That’s a couple of notches higher than the original estimate of $266.4 million.

The picture is a huge success for Universal. “Fifty Shades” cost a mere $40 million to produce. Analysts think that the movie has a chance of reaching $500 million globally given its hot start.

“This kind of performance is usually reserved for superhero movies and animation franchises,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “[‘Fifty Shades’] joins that club.”

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