×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ to Heat Up Box Office With $33 Million Launch

Universal’s opening of “Fifty Shades Freed” should heat up moviegoing at North American multiplexes this weekend, as the finale of the erotic trilogy is pegged to dominate with about $33 million at more than 3,700 locations.

Sony’s launch of family comedy “Peter Rabbit” should wind up at about $16 million at 3,700 locations and Warner Bros.’ debut of Clint Eastwood’s thriller15:17 to Paris” is likely to take in about $12 million at 3,042 venues.

The weekend should see a significant increase in moviegoing in the wake of a slow Super Bowl session with $94 million overall, according to comScore, as studios remained reluctant to open major titles during the frenzy surrounding the pro football championship. Last year’s post Super Bowl weekend saw business jump 90% to $180 million, mostly thanks to “The Lego Batman Movie” and by 150% to $239 million in 2016 with the launch of “Deadpool.”

“The post-Super Bowl weekend frame traditionally gets things on the right track for the industry as new titles breathe life into the typically decelerated movie marketplace, and this year will be no exception with ‘Fifty Shades Freed,’ ‘15:17 To Paris’ and ‘Peter Rabbit’ all set to get people hopping off their couches and back into the movie theater,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said.

Universal anticipates that “Fifty Shades Freed” will have strong midweek business next week with Valentine’s Day falling on Wednesday. Moviegoing will receive another major boost over the Presidents Day weekend with Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther” forecasted to take in as much as $150 million during the Friday-Monday period.

Popular on Variety

“Fifty Shades Freed” sees Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the conclusion of the events set in motion in 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” and 2017’s “Fifty Shades Darker.” Together, the first two films of the trilogy have grossed nearly $950 million worldwide. Universal has been promoting “Fifty Shades Freed” in recent months with the single-entendre tagline, “Don’t Miss the Climax.”

Marcia Gay Harden, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, and Callum Keith Rennie all return. “Fifty Shades Freed” is directed by James Foley from a script by Niall Leonard and once again produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside the book’s author, E. L. James. “Fifty Shades Freed,” which was shot simultaneously with “Fifty Shades Darker,” has a $55 million budget, according to sources.

The “Fifty Shades Freed” campaign kicked off in September with an announcement teaser, generating more than 100 million views.  Two months later, the official trailer debut brought in more than 200 million views. It opens day-and-date with its North American release in 56 international markets, including France, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and the U.K.

The projected “Fifty Shades Freed” launch isn’t as strong as its predecessors “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which opened with $85.2 million in 2015, and “Fifty Shades Darker,” which opened with $46.6 million on the same weekend last year.

Tracking on “Peter Rabbit,” a live-action/CGI animated film from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, is tricky to predict since children are its core demographic. Warner Bros. saw “Paddington 2” — the last family title to hit the market — take in $11 million on opening weekend  and “Smurfs: The Lost Village” made $13 million in its launch weekend in April.

James Corden is voicing Peter Rabbit in a contemporary comedy highlighted by his feud with Mr. Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door, played by Rose Byrne. Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley perform the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail.

“Peter Rabbit” is directed by Will Gluck from a screenplay by Gluck and Rob Lieber, based on the Beatrix Potter stories. The budget is about $50 million. Gluck and Zareh Nalbandian are the producers.

Eastwood’s “15:17 to Paris”  is based on the book “The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes” by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, about the 2015 Thalys train attack. The film stars Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos as themselves. Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer also star.

Eastwood began shooting the film in July. It’s produced by Warner Bros., Village Roadshow and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions. Eastwood’s most recent film, “Sully,” was a solid performer with $240 million worldwide, and his “American Sniper” was a major success with $540 million worldwide.

More Film

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Kicks Off Overseas With $52 Million as 'Frozen 2' Powers Toward $1 Billion

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” skated past international box office competition again as the animated sequel propels toward the billion-dollar mark globally. “Frozen 2” generated another $90 million from 48 foreign territories, boosting its worldwide weekend haul to $124.9 million. After three weekends in theaters, Disney’s musical follow-up has made $919.7 million and should cross $1 billion [...]

  • Lily James

    Lily James Delivers Masterclass in Charm in Macao

    British actor, Lily James delivered a masterclass in charm and good humor at a seminar on Sunday at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Questioned on stage by one of the festival’s senior programmers, James brightly chatted her way through eight years of a screen career that has taken her from “Downton Abbey” to [...]

  • Avengers Endgame Lion King Frozen 2

    Disney Crushes Own Global Box Office Record With Historic $10 Billion

    Thanks to a record number of billion-dollar blockbusters, Disney has become the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion at the worldwide box office. Through Sunday, the studio has generated $3.28 billion in North America and $6.7 billion overseas for a global haul of $9.997 billion and is expected to officially cross the benchmark [...]

  • Takashi Miike

    Miike Takashi's Unusual Takes on Feminism and China

    Takashi Miike chuckles when you ask him if he’d called himself a feminist. “Maybe I’m not exactly, because when I use the word as a man, it feels like it might be condescending, or anti-woman,” he told Variety on the sidelines of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao, where his latest feature, the high-octane [...]

  • FAMILIAR FACE -- In Walt Disney

    Box Office: 'Frozen 2' Remains Victorious, 'Playmobil' Bombs

    “Frozen 2” dominated box office charts for the third weekend in a row as Disney’s animated sequel scored another $34.7 million in North America. Those ticket sales, a 60% decline from its massive Thanksgiving haul, boost its domestic tally to $337 million. “Frozen 2” earned $130 million in its inaugural outing and another $123 million [...]

  • Macao Project Market Participants

    ‘Dear Wormwood’ Claims Macao Project Market Prize

    Philippines director Dodo Dayao’s supernatural horror project “Dear Wormwood” claimed the top prize on Sunday at the IFFAM Project Market, part of the ongoing International Film Festival & Awards Macao. “Wormwood” is a tale of five women living together in a remote house in the forest, where a mystery illness strikes one of the quintet, [...]

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Industry Debate: Streaming Not Done Reshaping Indie Film Business

    New viewing habits brought on by the rise of streaming have hastened the demise of the mid-budget American indie, changed the very definition of arthouse cinema, and shaken the indie distribution business. But theatrical is still here to stay, attendees of the Macao International Film Festival’s closed-door industry panels concluded Saturday. Panelists gathered to discuss [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content