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Fifty Shades of Grey eyes $90 million-plus US debut, hits $158 million globally

Fifty Shades of Grey

Story by Jack Foley

FIFTY Shades of Grey has become a box office phenomenon, breaking records in the US and internationally.

The adaptation of EL James’ S&M-laced romance novel is on course to take $90.7 million in the US alone over the long Presidents Day holiday weekend, which includes $81.7 million for the three-day weekend. Once the figures are confirmed, this would make it the second highest opening ever for a February released movie, after Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

It is also the fourth highest opening for an R-rated film of all time.

Internationally, where it opened in 58 markets including the UK, the film has become a record-breaker, taking $158 million – the highest opening ever for an R-rated film. It puts the combined US and international total at $248.7 million, a number usually reserved for summer blockbusters and franchise movies.

Unsurprisingly, females made up the majority of audiences (making up 68 per cent in the US) but the film did prove a strong Valentine’s weekend draw for couples.

And Universal will now be licking its lips at the prospect of a franchise, having already greenlit the next two movies in the novel trilogy.

While Fifty Shades predictably dominated, there was also good news for Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service in the US, which grossed an estimated $35.6 million for the three days for a projected $41 million debut over the long holiday, well ahead of expectations.

The success of both Kingsman and Fifty Shades has helped the US box office get off to an encouraging start in 2014, especially when adding in the surprise runaway success of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which continued to perform well in the US and internationally.

Sniper has now jumped the $300 million mark in the US alone.

And family favourite The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water also helped to ensure the US box office enjoyed a bumper Valentine weekend by finishing its second weekend with $100.7 million in ticket sales.

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