6th UPDATE, TUESDAY PM: Final overseas update by Universal for Fifty Shades Of Grey shows a global weekend through Monday of $266.6M with $173.6M coming from 10,979 screens in 58 territories. It’s still the biggest February opener overseas of all-time and the second best for Universal behind Fast & Furious 6‘s $160.3M overseas bow. The E.L. James feature adaptation is No. 1 in 54 territories. Updated top weekend results include UK and Ireland $20.8M; Germany $14.1M; France $12.3M; Russia $11M; Italy $10.1M; Spain $8.7M; Brazil $8.3M; Mexico $8.1M; Australia $8M; Poland $4.7M and Argentina $3.5M. The film remains the biggest bow of all-time in 13 markets: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Paraguay, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela. Also for an R-rated film –or an equivalent abroad — Fifty Shades touts the biggest opening abroad ever for an adult film, beating the previous record holder The Matrix Revolutions at $117M.
5th UPDATE, MONDAY AM: Through the end of today, Universal is estimating that Fifty Shades Of Grey will post a $266.4M worldwide opening, comprised of a stateside four-day bow of $94.4M and a $172M foreign launch. Its original overseas weekend estimate (of Wednesday-Sunday) came in slightly lower at $156M, however, that’s still a record international bow for February. Fifty Shades is Universal’s second-biggest overseas bow ever behind Fast & Furious 6‘s $160.3M. On Saturday the feature adaptation of E.L. James novel grossed $55.1M making it the highest-grossing day abroad ever for the studio. Territory updates will be reported tomorrow.
4TH UPDATE, SUNDAY AM: Fifty Shades Of Grey dominated international play this weekend as 60% of people who went to the movies submitted to the Universal/Focus Features title.
The studio cropped its very early offshore weekend estimate by a hair, however, now projecting a $158M opening in 58 total territories over the five-day frame. That’s down a wisp from the $158.3M estimate the studio provided on Saturday. Either way, it’s huge. With a three-day domestic gross estimated at $81.7M, the worldwide opening weekend estimate as of today is $239.7M.
Some think the five-day overseas will reach a higher climax in the actuals, but this is already an incredibly sexy result that sets several records.
It’s the biggest international opening of 2015 thus far and makes Fifty Shades Universal’s 2nd-biggest international weekend ever behind Fast & Furious 6 which grossed $160.3M in 2013. On Saturday, Mr Grey saw $55.1M worth of business for Universal’s highest-grossing day ever at the international box office, spanking away Fast & Furious 6’s previous $46.2M record.
As reported yesterday, this is also the biggest opening weekend ever for an R-rated film internationally. The previous record holder was The Matrix Revolutions at $117M. Further comps include 300: Rise Of An Empire ($89M), Hangover 2 ($60.3M) and Sex And The City ($59M). Although Fifty Shades author E.L. James has said she was inspired to write the book after creating Twilight fan fiction, a comparison to the first movie in that series doesn’t compute since it initially opened in only five territories in 2008.
Fifty Shades is No. 1 in 55 markets. In 11 (Argentina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Uruguay), it is the biggest opening weekend of all time. In 30 markets, it is Universal’s biggest opening weekend ever, and in 31 it is the biggest for any R-rated pic.
Among the territory highlights, the UK/Ireland generated a $21.1M No. 1 bow at 586 locations. That’s Universal’s biggest opening weekend ever; the biggest February start of all time; the top opening for an 18-rated or 15-rated film, and the 9th biggest opening weekend across all films. Fifty Shades has an 18 rating in the UK, meaning no one under that age is admitted.
In France, where, like the UK, advance sales had been off the charts, the No. 1 start was worth $12M at 785 in Universal’s biggest opening weekend ever. In Germany, where Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson strolled the red carpet earlier in the week, the No. 1 start was $15.2M at 741 locations. That’s the biggest February bow ever and 2nd biggest Universal opening weekend.
Russia’s No. 1 $10.5M at 1,105 sites is Uni’s biggest opening weekend ever and overall the best for a 16+ or 18+ title in the market.
Italy and Spain attended Fifty Shades with abandon. The former was worth $9.1M at 530 locations giving Uni its No. 1 opening weekend ever and the biggest overall start for an R. Spain whipped up $7.9M at 398 locations for a nearly $20K per-screen-average. Also the biggest February debut weekend of all time and best ever for an 18+.
In Latin America, where it has been suggested the racy film might be soft, there are very strong results. Argentina’s opening weekend set an all-time record of $3.8M at 162; Brazil drew an impressive $8.9M at 550 locations for Uni’s best opening weekend ever and the biggest for a 16+ rating. Mexico embraced Ana and Christian to the tune of $8.1M from 667 sites and the biggest ever R-rated opening frame.
In Asia Pacific, Australia was the dominant force with $8.6M from 277 locations. It’s the best February debut session ever; the biggest MA- or R-rated opening weekend ever; and Universal Pictures’ biggest non-holiday opening weekend ever. New Zealand earned $1.1M at 90 locations for the biggest February opening weekend ever; and the biggest R-rated opening weekend of all time. The Philippines bested that with $2.2M at 85 locations — the top R-18 opening weekend ever; and the biggest debut frame for a February foreign release.
Fifty Shades is bound for five more territories including Trinidad later this week, followed by Korea on February 26, the UAE and other Middle East markets on March 5 and India, where the date is to be advised.
I’ll have more on Grey matters in the full international box office report, which will post separately in just a bit.
PREVIOUS, 3RD UPDATE, SATURDAY AM: If Fifty Shades Of Grey handcuffs Universal’s very early international weekend estimate of $158.3M, it will become the studio’s 2nd biggest offshore opening frame ever, just behind Fast & Furious 6’s $160.3M. Outside sources whisper that it is likely to climax even higher than that for this five-day session. It is expected to be far-and-away the biggest opening weekend of all-time for an R-rated film overseas, whipping previous title holder The Matrix Revolutions at $117M.
Now open in 57 territories, the lip-biter added $38M on Friday at 9,432 playdates for a three-day total of $66M. It is No. 1 in 56 out of the 57 markets.
Fifty Shades is now Universal’s biggest opening day of all time in 25 territories and the biggest opening day for an R-rated (or its international equivalent) film in 34 territories. In Argentina, Latvia, Lithuania and Uruguay, the Sam Taylor-Johnson-helmed Valentine is the biggest opening day of all time.
Among the Friday bows, the UK, where the film has the equivalent to an NC-17, opened at No. 1 to $7.1M. That makes it Universal’s biggest opening day ever; the biggest February opening day ever; and the biggest opening day for an 18-rated film. Spain was No. 1 with $2.9M unleashing the biggest February opening day ever and the top R-rated debut.
Territories that opened on Thursday include Germany ($5.5M two-day), Italy ($4M two-day), Russia ($4.6M two-day), Brazil ($4.5M two-day), Mexico ($3.8M two-day) and Argentina ($1.7M two-day). Records were set in each market (see previous updates below). Australia also bowed on Thursday and now has a $4M total for the biggest February opening of all time, the biggest R-rated start and Universal’s biggest non-holiday opening day of all time.
After three days, France is breathless with $4.9M and the Philippines is scoring at $1.1M thus far.
Five more markets will roll out including Trinidad on February 18; Korea on February 26; the UAE and other Middle East markets on March 5; and India, where the date is to be set.
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY AM: The Fifty Shades Of Grey phenom continued to have moviegoers hot and bothered on Thursday after 30 additional territories saw release. The day was good for $23.3M, bringing the two-day cume to $28.6M in a total 34 markets with No. 1s in 33 of those (Hong Kong being the hold-out). Universal and Focus Features’ adaptation of the first in the mega-selling bondage book series is dominating the international marketplace with an average 70% share and various records in every territory. Notably, in Russia, the opening of Fifty Shades is bigger than any of the films in the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight franchises. If the momentum continues, and with 23 markets added today, onlookers estimate a $100M+ five-day, perhaps as high as $130M.
Among the highlights are Argentina where the movie is the biggest opener of all time with $1M. In Brazil, it is Universal’s biggest debut ever and the highest opening gross ever for a film rated 16+ with $2.4M. Mexico is the biggest R-rated opening of all time at $2.1M. Those numbers could bode well for the sexy love story in Latin America, given there has been speculation those markets might be soft.
In Russia, Fifty Shades flogged several records. At $2.3M, the movie is the biggest opening day ever for Universal, the largest opening day for a 16+ or 18+ film, and the best non-(established)-franchise opening day ever. As noted above, the bow also bested all the Day 1 starts for each of the Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games movies.
Germany, where the film had its international premiere during the Berlin Film Festival on Wednesday, brought the top February opening day of all time at $2.3M. Italy is a best-ever bow for Universal and the biggest R-rated start with $2M.
A further 23 more territories opened today including Spain and the UK — which, despite a restrictive 18 rating, is roundly expected to be beyond pulsing.
PREVIOUS UPDATE, THURSDAY PM WRITETHRU: For such a reclusive billionaire, Mr Grey is on his way to seeing an awful lot of people just about now. The Fifty Shades Of Grey crew strolled the red carpet here in Berlin yesterday at the same time the film was beginning to roll out in France, Belgium, Switzerland and the Philippines. Universal has just provided the first-day Wednesday grosses for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of the mega-selling book with No. 1s across the markets, and record-setters for the studio. The total haul on Wednesday was $3.7M. The biggest play was France with 785 dates providing $2.7M making it Uni’s all-time top opener there — beating the testosterone-fueled Fast & Furious 6. It is also the No. 1 debut of the year in that market where pre-sales were at an all-time high and ladies-only screenings are planned for the coming days.
Elsewhere, Belgium was also the studio’s biggest debut day ever with a 70% share at 72 dates for $543K. The bondage-cum-love-story is the 4th biggest bower ever in the market. The Philippines scored the biggest R-18 start of all time with $340K. In French-speaking Switzerland, Fifty Shades is Universal’s 2nd highest bow ever with $136K at 34 dates.
The record-breaking first-day scores bode well for the bigscreen adaptation of EL James’ erotic novel with sources roundly predicting “huge” numbers. There are even whispers from some corners that it could go upwards of $100M for the weekend offshore. That would be especially aided by the five-day window and speculation that the UK will be massive despite a restrictive 18 rating. Fifty Shades banged out in 30 more markets today with early figures from Australia hand-cuffing Universal’s biggest non-holiday opening day of all time, and its 2nd-biggest opening day of all time. Early reports show the film grossing more than $2M at 277 playdates. Many movies make that in a weekend.
Through the Valentine’s frame, Universal and Focus Features are releasing the bondage pic across 57 markets along with the U.S. and Canada. Advance sales have been huge in Europe where the film is expected to get much of the overseas bang for its buck. A loose estimate of box office on the pre-bought tickets across Europe already places the film, whose budget is estimated at about $40M, at around $36M.
Domestically, the movie is looking at a $60M start, as my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro has reported. Overseas, the film has been banned in Malaysia and Indonesia and is unlikely to eventually have China figure in the mix, while some think Latin America might be soft. So here you have a film that may not play in some key areas, yet is being looked at as a phenomenal grosser. The UK ratings board gave it an 18, which is equivalent to an NC-17, meaning it will sacrifice some of its audience there, but that’s a market that rival distribs describe as a major play. Germany and France will also factor heavily.
It’s tough to make comps with this film given that erotic dramas hit their height in the 80s and 90s with the likes of 9 1/2 Weeks — to which Fifty Shades pays homage by way of an ice cube — and Indecent Proposal and Eyes Wide Shut. Comedy/drama TV transfer Sex And The City grossed $263M internationally and has a largely similar demographic to Fifty Shades.