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Fifty Shades a box office smash


Fifty Shades a box office smash

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Audiences were more than curious to check out the big-screen adaptation of the racy phenomenon Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend.

The erotic R-rated drama sizzled in its debut, earning an estimated $81.7 million from 3 646 theatres in its first three days, distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday.

In addition to destroying Valentine’s and Presidents Day weekend records, Fifty Shades of Grey has also become the second-highest February debut ever, behind Passion of the Christ’s $83.9 million opening in 2004.

The chart-topping film cost a modest $40 million to produce. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, it could be on track to earn over $90 million across the four-day holiday weekend.

“Our fondest wishes were realised,” said Universal’s President of Domestic Distribution Nick Carpou. “This is one of those moments where I can speak for the entire studio and say we’re celebrating.”

Carpou was especially pleased that audiences in large, mid-size, and small markets turned out to see the film despite weather challenges in the Northeast.

According to Universal, North American audiences were 68 per cent female.

Internationally, director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of E L James’ book earned an estimated $158 million from 9 637 locations in 58 territories.

That’s the second biggest international opening for Universal, right behind the $160.3 million debut from Fast & Furious 6, and the highest international opening for an R-rated film ever.

Director Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service also exceeded expectations, landing in second place with an estimated $35.6 million from 3 204 locations across the three-day period, according to Rentrak.

The R-rated comic book adaptation starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson cost a reported $81 million to produce and should earn around $41 million across the four-day period.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey, $81.7 million ($158 million international).

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service, $35.6 million ($23.1 million international).

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, $30.5 million ($13.5 million international).

4. American Sniper, $16.4 million ($3.7 million international).

5. Jupiter Ascending, $9.4 million ($15.6 million international).

6. Seventh Son, $4.2 million ($730,000 international).

7. Paddington, $4.1 million.

8. The Imitation Game, $3.5 million ($4 million international).

9. The Wedding Ringer, $3.4 million.

10. Project Almanac, $2.7 million ($340,000 international).