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Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Spanks ‘Lego Batman Movie’ on Thursday

Universal Pictures’ “Fifty Shades Darker” grossed $5.7 million at 3,120 theaters on Thursday. Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment’s family film “Lego Batman Movie,” meanwhile, saw $2.2 million in Thursday previews, while “John Wick: Chapter 2” also opened to a solid $2.2 million for Lionsgate.

Early tracking suggested that “Lego Batman” would win the weekend with more than $60 million, ahead of “Fifty Shades,” which was estimated closer to $40 million.

James Foley directed “Fifty Shades Darker” based on a script that Niall Leonard adapted from E. L. James’ novel of the same name. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan co-star as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. The film currently has a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. “John Wick: Chapter 2” and “Lego Batman” are faring better with critics with a 90% and 91%, respectively, on the review aggregation website.

“Lego Batman” features the voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes. Chris McKay directed the animated adventure written by a five-man team: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Whittington.

“John Wick: Chapter 2” also opens this weekend starring Keanu Reeves, Common and Laurence Fishburne. Chad Stahelski directed the action thriller written by Derek Kolstad.

In 2015, “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened at number one with $81 million. It went on to earn more than $166 million domestically and about $571 million worldwide. “The Lego Movie” debuted in 2014 at number one with $69 million on its way to becoming a domestic smash hit with $258 million. It’s global total topped $469 million. “John Wick” opened in October of 2014 and grossed over $80 million worldwide. It opened at number two in the U.S. with $14 million.

“The studios look to piece together the strongest weekend of the year thus far with a trio of very different wide release newcomers collectively appealing to virtually all audience segments,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

“The Lego and Fifty Shades brands have a lot to live up to, with their predecessors both ranking in the top five February openers of all-time and setting a new standard for the potential drawing power of films for this formerly underestimated month on the calendar,” he said.

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