Outside of fanboy fare, few films have been followed as closely prior to their release as Fifty Shades of Grey. Based on the first installment of the ‘erotic fiction’ trilogy that sold a staggering 100 million copies worldwide, Fifty Shades made headlines from the start: for its casting (and recasting) choices, trailers, the relationship (or lack thereof) of its stars and, of course, its potential for box office dominance.
For those of us who remained immune to the charms of Christian Grey, it’s been a long year. But at least, with the coming of this weekend’s box office, the Fifty Shades phenomenon is that much closer to climax.
Fifty Shades of Grey took in an estimated $8.6 million from Thursday night previews alone. In terms of fan-driven literary adaptations, that tops the $7 million that Twilight earned from its midnight screenings in November 2008 – even after adjusting for inflation.
Including its Thursday haul, Fifty Shades captured an estimated $30.2 million from 3,646 locations on Friday. That puts the film on track for approximately $90 million through Sunday and $100 million for the four-day President’s Day frame. Even allowing for some variance based on bad weather in the Northeast, an opening in that range would be more than enough for Fifty Shades to lock down new records for both February and President’s Day.
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ secured the February title way back in 2004 with the seemingly insurmountable sum of $83.84 million. In terms of President’s Day, the current title belongs to the anthology pic Valentine’s Day, which earned $63.1 million over its first four days. And while records for Valentine’s Day (the holiday) are not tracked in the same way as other box office titles (February 14th does not always fall on a weekend, after all), Valentine’s Day (the film) did earn an impressive $56.2 million on its first three-day weekend, which included the 14th.
At any rate, we can expect all three records to belong to Fifty Shades by this time tomorrow. In fact, the only title that may escape Christian Grey’s clutches is that for the highest R-rated opening of all time. On the strength of its $91.7 million debut, The Matrix Reloaded has owned that distinction since November 2003. American Sniper came achingly close to topping that just four weeks ago, so how interesting/awful would it be if Fifty Shades of Grey turned out to have the R-rated muscle that Clint Eastwood lacked?
We’ll have complete box office coverage tomorrow, including details on Fox’s new wide-release Kingsman: The Secret Service. It really is a sad day when a film starring Colin Firth is not sexy enough to steal some spotlight from Fifty Shades of Grey. But, the box office has spoken.
Here’s Friday’s top five films, based on studio estimates:
|1.||Fifty Shades of Grey||$30,200,000||$30.2|
|2.||Kingsman: The Secret Service||$10,500,000||$10.5|