Movies

Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Scores Huge $81.7 Million Debut

Thanks in large part to a female-driven, Valentine’s Day audience, Fifty Shades of Grey is the new No. 1 film at the weekend box office.

The film earned $81.7 million to become the second-best February opening in history after Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which earned $83.8 million on its debut weekend in 2004. It’s also the fourth biggest opening for an R-rated film, which is a bit surprising since it’s reportedly a much harder R rating than the current record-holder, The Matrix Reloaded. With sex scenes accounting for a fifth of its runtime, Fifty Shades of Grey is officially the raunchiest mainstream film of the last decade, and while studios tend to shy away from R ratings these days in order for a film to enjoy wider appeal, part of the interest behind this adaptation of the E.L. James book is its inherent raunchiness. Hell, the S&M underpinnings of the source material has made it an incredibly popular book. And now, as an incredibly popular movie, Fifty Shades of Grey is looking to become a big-screen franchise, with two sequels currently in the works based on the two other books in the Fifty Shades series.

Costing just $40 million to make, Fifty Shades of Grey is already on tap to do record-breaking, profit-turning business. Internationally, the film opened to $158 million from 58 territories, making it the biggest overseas opening ever for an R-rated film. With an expected global launch of roughly $248.7 million, the film is the type of juggernaut we don’t normally see in February. These are summer blockbuster numbers.

That said, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t the only film doing strong business in its debut weekend. Kingsman: The Secret Service opened to an impressive $35.6 million for the three-day weekend, and it’s expected the number will be bumped up to $41 million once the final number comes in. Although only halfway to recouping its $80 million budget domestically, Kingsman is already turning a profit thanks to strong overseas numbers. With a foreign total of $43.8 million, Kingsman is a surprisingly solid box office success.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water falls two spots to No. 3 with $30.5 million, although it’s not exactly bad news for the family hit, as it’s expected to finish the weekend with over $100 million in ticket sales. It also kept ahead of No. 4 finisher American Sniper, which earned $16.4 million. However, Clint Eastwood’s epic has now crossed the $300 million mark, the latest milestone in its record-breaking run.

Rounding out the Top 5 is Jupiter Ascending, which earned $9.5 million to bring its domestic total so far to a disappointing $32.6 million.

But how did other films do at the weekend box office? Check out the Top 10 below:

Box Office 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Scores Huge $81.7 Million Debut

Credit: Universal Pictures

THE TOP 10 AT THE WEEKEND BOX OFFICE – 02/16/2015:

1. Fifty Shades of Grey ($81.7 million)
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service ($35.6 million)
3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($30.5 million)
4. American Sniper ($16.4 million)
5. Jupiter Ascending ($9.4 million)
6. Seventh Son ($4.2 million)
7. Paddington ($4.1 million)
8. The Imitation Game ($3.5 million)
9. The Wedding Ringer ($3.4 million)
10. Project Almanac ($2.7 million)

H/T: The Hollywood Reporter / Box Office Mojo

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