UPDATE, TUESDAY: Rentrak has reported box office actuals for Presidents Day weekend of February 13-16 with Universal Focus FeaturesFifty Shades Of Grey coming in a hair higher with a 3-day of $85.17M, and a slightly lower four-day of $93M. Among R-rated 3-day openings, Fifty Shades owns the fourth best of all-time, with 2003’s Matrix Reloaded still tops with $91.77M, and as mentioned previously, the feature adaptation of E.L. James bestselling novel is the top opening ever for a February release. 20th Century Fox’s Kingsman: Secret Service maintains its $36.2M three-day, but is slightly below its 4-day prediction yesterday with an actual of $41.76M. Final total tickets sales to date for 2015 for the period of January 1-February 16 is $1.489B, +10% over the same frame in 2014. Total four-day domestic weekend tally: $246.16M, still an all-time record for the holiday, that +18% over the same four-day frame a year ago.

Studio reported actuals from Rentrak, ranked by 4-day weekend:

1). Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI), 3,646 theaters/3-day PSA $23,360 /3-Day: $85.17M/4-Day: $93M/ Wk 1  (Includes $8.6M Thursday previews)

2). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 3,204 theaters /3-day PSA $11,300 /3-Day: $36.2M/ 4-Day: $41.76M/ Wk 1  (Includes $1.4M Thursdaypreviews)

3). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (PAR), 3,654 theaters (+13)/ 3-day PSA $8,609/ 3-Day: $31.5M (-43%)/4-Day: $40M/Total Cume: $103.1M/ Wk 2

4). American Sniper (WB), 3,436 theaters (-449)/ 3-day PSA $4,777/ 3-Day: $16.4M (-30%)/4-day: $18.7M/Total cume: $306.5M/ Wk 8

5). Jupiter Ascending (WB), 3,181 theaters (0) /3-day PSA $2,909/ 3-Day: $9.25M (-50%)/4-day: $10.75M/Total Cume: $33.9M/ Wk 2

6). Paddington (TWC), 2,244 theaters (-644) /3-day PSA $1,799/3-Day: $4M (-23%) / 4-Day: $5.7M/Total cume: $63.9M /Wk 5

7). Seventh Son (UNI), 2,874 theaters (-1) /3-day PSA $1,445/3-Day: $4.15M (-42%)/4-Day: $4.8M/Total Cume: $14.1M/ Wk 2

8). The Imitation Game (TWC), 1,551 theaters (-412) /3-day PSA $2,248/3-Day: $3.48M (-26%)/4-Day: $4.18M/Total cume: $80.3M / Wk 12

9). The Wedding Ringer (Sony), 1,456 theaters (-682)/ 3-day PSA $2,228/3-Day: $3.24M (-31%)/4-Day: $3.7M/ Total cume: $60M /Wk 5

10). Project Almanac (Par), 1,732 theaters (-1,168) /3-day PSA $1,596/3-Day: $2.76M (-47%)/4-Day: $3.3M/ Total cume: $20.1M/Wk 3

11). Black or White(REL), 1,591 theaters (-232)/3-day PSA $1,690/3-Day: $2.69M (-41%)/4-Day: $3.1M/ Total cume: $17.8M/Wk 3

12). Still Alice (SPC), 502 theaters (+367) /3-day PSA $3,361/3-Day: $1.69M (+91%)/4-Day: $2.076M/ Total cume: $4.99M/Wk 5

13). The Boy Next Door (UNI), 1,192 theaters (-1001) /3-day PSA $1,490/3-Day: $1.77M (-57%)/4-Day: $2.003M/ Total cume: $34M/Wk 4

14). Taken 3 (FOX), 691 theaters (-816) /3-day PSA $1,616/3-Day: $1.1M (-52%)/4-Day: $1.265M/ Total cume: $86.9M/Wk 6

15). Selma (PAR), 566 theaters (-375) /3-day PSA $1,790/3-Day: $1.013M (-40%)/4-Day: $1.25M/ Total cume: $48.5M/Wk 8

16). Old Fashioned (FREE), 224 theaters (+221) /3-day PSA $4,455/3-Day: $998K (+2,460%)/4-Day: $1.08M/ Total cume: $1.13M/Wk 2

17). Birdman (FSL), 481 theaters (-185) /3-day PSA $1,782/3-Day: $857K (-34%)/4-Day: $1.03M/ Total cume: $36.6M/Wk 18

18). The Theory of Everything (FOC), 466 theaters (-136) /3-day PSA $1,590/3-Day: $741K (-25%)/4-Day: $904K/ Total cume: $33.3M/Wk 15

19). Big Hero 6 (DIS), 317 theaters (+61) /3-day PSA $2,135/3-Day: $677K (+95%)/4-Day: $891K/ Total cume: $219.5M/Wk 15

20). Whiplash (SPC), 515 theaters (+36) /3-day PSA $1,148/3-Day: $591K (-22%)/4-Day: $706K/ Total cume: $10.55M/Wk 19

Other Oscar best picture nominees:
54.) The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 210 theaters (+186)/ /3-day PSA $114/3-Day: $23,958K (+59%)/4-Day: $31,352K/Total cume: $59.3/Wk 5
Limited notable openers reported by Rentrak:
The Last 5 Years (RAD-TWC), 3 theaters / 3-day PSA $14,014/ 3-Day: $42,042K /4-Day: $51,475K /Wk 1

PREVIOUS, MONDAY 9:37 AM:  Studio actuals are being reported tomorrow, but in Monday morning estimates Universal Focus’ Fifty Shades Of Grey with $85M has eclipsed Passion Of The Christ‘s record February FSS of $83.8M.  In addition, Fifty Shades stands as the third-highest weekend bow for Universal ever behind 2013’s Fast & Furious 6‘s $97.4M and 2011’s Fast Five $86.2M.

20th Century Fox’s Kingsman: Secret Service was also higher in its Monday morning estimates with a $36.2M three-day and estimated $42M four-day. Demos for the film skewed 57% male/43% female with 60% being over 25.  The Colin Firth shoot-em up played fairly balanced across the U.S. but really excelled in the West and in Canada. Top theaters came from New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Toronto, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, Dallas, Miami, and Atlanta. Kingsman is looking to have great playability with its demo in the coming weeks as it scored an A- CinemaScore with guys and an A with those under 25. Exit polls were strong with 86% of the audience rating it either very good or excellent and 71% giving Kingsman a definite recommend.

The combo of Fifty Shades and Kingsman in the market fueled a record 4-day Presidents’ Day weekend of $247M per Rentrak Theatrical, beating the 2010’s record holiday of $239.8M. Even over three days, this weekend’s take of $214M beat the 2010 FSS high of $205M. Through Monday, 2015 is now 10% ahead of last year with $1.489B.

1). Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI), 3,646 theaters/3-day PSA $23,325 /3-Day: $85M/4-Day: $94.395M/ Wk 1  (Includes $8.6M Thursday previews)

2). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 3,204 theaters /3-day PSA $11,306 /3-Day: $36.2M/ 4-Day: $42M/ Wk 1  (Includes $1.4M Thursday previews)

3). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (PAR), 3,654 theaters (+13)/ 3-day PSA $8,670/  3-Day: $31.68M (-43%)/4-Day: $40M/Total Cume: $103.1M/ Wk 2

4). American Sniper (WB), 3,436 theaters (-449)/ 3-day PSA $4,811/ 3-Day: $16.53M (-29%)/4-day: $19.45M/Total cume: $307.158M/ Wk 8

5). Jupiter Ascending (WB), 3,181 theaters (0) /3-day PSA $2,905/ 3-Day: $9.2M (-50%)/4-day: $10.68M/Total Cume: $33.8M/ Wk 2

6). Paddington (TWC), 2,244 theaters (-644) /3-day PSA $1,849/3-Day: $4M (-23%) / 4-Day: $5.4M/Total cume: $63.6M /Wk 5

7). Seventh Son (UNI), 2,874 theaters (-1) /3-day PSA $1,440/3-Day: $4.1M (-42%)/4-Day: $4.75M/Total Cume: $14M/ Wk 2

8). The Imitation Game (TWC), 1,551 theaters (-412) /3-day PSA $2,273/3-Day: $3.48M (-26%)/4-Day: $4.1M/Total cume: $80.2M / Wk 12

9). The Wedding Ringer (Sony), 1,456 theaters (-682)/ 3-day PSA $2,335/3-Day: $3.2M (-28%)/4-Day: $3.7M/ Total cume: $60M /Wk 5

10). Project Almanac (Par), 1,732 theaters (-1,168) /3-day PSA $1,576/3-Day: $2.73M (-48%)/4-Day: $3.26M/ Total cume: $20M/Wk 3

PREVIOUS, Sunday: Universal is reporting Fifty Shades Of Grey with a three-day weekend of $81.67M and a projected four-day of $90.658M at 3,646 playdates. Quite clearly, Fifty Shades has tied up the record for best opening on Presidents’ Day Weekend.

Among February bows, Fifty Shades ranks a close second behind Passion Of The Christ, which has the top FSS for the month and top R-rated opening with $83.8M. Fifty Shades earned $8.6M in Thursday previews, which counted toward its $30.3M Friday.

In terms of whether Valentine’s Day would spike the B.O., or if its first-day grosses were front-loaded, Fifty Shades jumped 21% Saturday with another $36.679M. On its first night, Fifty Shades was a girls night out with 82% of the audience being female. On Valentine’s Day, it was a date night crowd, still dominated by females at 68% of the audience. It was a younger crowd too, with only 41% of all Fifty Shades moviegoers 30 and older. Caucasians made up 52% of the audience, followed by 22% Hispanic and 15% African American.

Distribs remarked this morning how Fifty Shades over-indexed across the board in small towns and mid-size markets, particularly in the South Central part of the country and the Bible Belt, as foretold by Fandango’s advance-ticket sales.

Fifty Shades was at the tip of everybody’s tongues this weekend. News shows on CNN and talk shows such as the Meredith Vieira Show continually discussed the finer points of BDSM culture. In some markets, like Deerfield Beach, FL, audiences threw premiere parties with massages, make-up and pole dancers. Hotels even featured Fifty Shades weekend-getaway packages. And they weren’t the only ones feeling ready to party.

“Universal is absolutely celebrating the weekend’s results,” said Universal domestic distribution president Nicholas Carpou. “We couldn’t be happier. Several teams at Universal deserve credit on making this film a huge success. The production team worked hard to make the film accessible to the widest audience possible. The marketing team pushed great results with its release-date strategy change and designing a campaign that expanded the amount of people who would come to this film.”

Per screen for FSS is $22,400, estimated to rise to $24,865 over FSSM. The 320 premium large-format screens for Fifty Shades, led by 107 Cinemark XD screens, are on track for 9% of the gross, an estimated $7.4 million for 3 days and $8.2 million for 4 days. The Friday and Saturday screen average for PLF was $18,329 and the projected PLF screen average is $23,125 for 3 days and $25,625 for 4 days.

Despite having 20th Century Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service in the market this weekend also, even Rupert Murdoch tweeted some props for Fifty Shades, though he couldn’t resist a bit of snark at the film’s C+ Cinemascore. Many attribute the so-so score to fans unhappy over the book’s translation to the big screen:

Kingsman, meanwhile, accomplished its mission, providing great action entertainment to those guys left behind by their mates for a Fifty Shades viewing. Nonetheless, Kingsman also attracted a decent portion of females to its audiences on its way to a strong second-place finish for the weekend.

Kingsman_cThe film came in well above its $20M range, with three-day estimates at $35.6M on 3,204 with a per-screen of $11,111.

Kingsman is projected to hit $41M through Monday. As Deadline said yesterday, this is the biggest opening for its Oscar-winning star Colin Firth. For director Matthew Vaughn, the numbers are second to his X-Men: First Class ($55.1M)

Exit polls indicated that audiences took in Kingsman because of its action genre. Its box office legs look great. While Kingsman received a B+ Cinemascore (like Taken 3 last month, which started slowly but has a total cume of $86.8M), it earned an A with the under-25ers, and an A- from audiences 25 to 34. Further bolstering Kingsman‘s word of mouth is a Post Track rating of four-and-a-half stars.

Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water took third in its second week with an FSS total of $30.54M. The animated comedy’s four-day estimate is $37.6M, which would put it over $100M by tomorrow. SpongeBob saw a stellar 125% surge between its Friday and Saturday figures.

Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s phenomenon American Sniper dropped 29% in its eighth week, but still hit the $300M bullseye with a $16.4M weekend. Its domestic cume is now $304.1M.  The studios’ $200M-plus sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascendingcontinues to struggle domestically, taking fifth with $9.4M, down 49%, with a 10-day estimated cume of $32.55M.

Another fantasy film struggling to make back its investment, Universal/Legendary’s Seventh Son is heading toward a 42% decline from its opening last weekend with $4.1M. Its 11-day cume should reach $14M by Monday.

The sheer momentum of this weekend’s box office puts 2015 at $1.45B, 11.4% ahead of last year through February 15 per Rentrak. Total weekend receipts are estimated at $209M, 17% over the same frame a year ago, which made $178.1M.

Below are the Top 10 studio reported estimates
1). Fifty Shades Of Grey (UNI), 3,646 theaters / $30.3M Fri. /$36.6M Sat. (+21%)/ $14.6M Sun. (-60%)/ 3-Day: $81.6M/4-Day: $90.6M/ Wk 1  (Includes $8.6M Thursday previews)

2). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 3,204 theaters / $10.5M Fri. /$15.4M Sat. (+47%)/ $9.6M Sun. (-38%)/ 3-Day: $35.6M/ 4-Day: $41M/ Wk 1  (Includes $1.4M Thursday previews)

3). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water (PAR), 3,654 theaters (+13) / $6.5M Fri. /$14.6M Sat. (+124%)/ $9.3M Sun. (-36%)/ 3-Day: $30.5M (-45%)/4-Day: $37.6M/Total Cume: $100.7M/ Wk 2

4). American Sniper (WB), 3,436 theaters (-449)/ $3.7M Fri. /$7.9M Sat. (+109%)/ $4.7M Sun. (-40%)/ 3-Day: $16.4M (-29%)/4-day: $19M/Total cume: $304.1M/ Wk 8

5). Jupiter Ascending (WB), 3,181 theaters (0) / $2M Fri. /$4.6M Sat. (+132%)/ $2.7M Sun. (-40%)/ 3-Day: $9.4M (-49%)/4-day: $11M/Total Cume: $32.5M/ Wk 2

6). Paddington (TWC), 2,244 theaters (-644) / $806K Fri. / $1.8M Sat. (+134%)/ $1.4M Sun. (-25%)/ 3-Day: $4.1M (-25%) / 4-Day: $5.5M/Total cume: $63.7M /Wk 5

7). Seventh Son (UNI), 2,874 theaters (-1) / $848K Fri. /$2M Sat. (+144%)/ $1.2M Sun. (-40%)/ 3-Day: $4.1M (-42%)/4-Day: $4.7M/Total Cume: $14M/ Wk 2

8). The Imitation Game (TWC), 1,551 theaters (-412) / $804K Fri./ $1.6M Sat. (+107%)/ $1M Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $3.5M (-24%)/4-Day: $4.1M/Total cume: $80.3M / Wk 12

9). The Wedding Ringer (Sony), 1,456 theaters (-682)/ $615K Fri./ $1.7M Sat. (+187%)/ $1M Sun. (-42%)/ 3-Day: $3.4M (-28%)/4-Day: $4M/ Total cume: $60.3M /Wk 5

10). Project Almanac (Par), 1,732 theaters (-1,168) / $564K Fri. /$1.3M Sat. (+147%)/ $775K Sun. (-44%)/ 3-Day: $2.7M (-48%)/4-Day: $3.2M/ Total cume: $20M/Wk 3

Best Picture Nominees:

Selma (Par), 566 theaters (-375) / $280K Fri. /$436K Sat. (+56%)/ $294 Sun. (-33%)/ 3-Day: $1M (-38%)/4-Day: $1.1M/Total cume: $48.4M / Wk 8

Birdman (FSL) 481 theaters (-185)/ $202K Fri./ $395K Sat. (+96%)/ $273K Sun. (-31%)/ 3-day cume: $870K (-33%)/Total cume: $36.4M/Wk 18

The Theory Of Everything (FOC), 466 theaters (-136)/ $169K Fri./$358K Sat. (+112%)/ $269K Sun. (-25%)/ 3-day cume: $796K (-20%)/Total cume: $33.2M / Wk 15

Whiplash (SPC) 515 theaters (+36)/ 3-day cume: $570K (-26%)/Total cume: $10.4M/Wk 19


Temper  (INDI), 125 theaters / $258K Fri. /$228K Sat. (-12%)/ $148K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $634K /4-Day: $731K/Wk 1

Somewhere Only We  (CHINA), 50 theaters / $105K Fri. / $150K Sat. (+43%)/ $98K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $353K /4-Day: $426K /PWk 1

What We Do In The Shadows (UNISON), 2 theaters / $21K Fri. /$37K Sat. (+79%)/ $24K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $82K /Per Screen Avg. $16K/4-Day: $97K /Wk 1

The Rewrite  (IMAGE), 9 theaters / $6K Fri. /$9K Sat. (+40%)/ $6K Sun. (-35%)/ 3-Day: $21K /4-Day: $26K /Wk 1

PREVIOUS, Saturday, 8AM: Universal is reporting a Friday estimate of $30.2M for Fifty Shades Of Grey, making it the highest February opening day ever, beating Newmarket’s Passion Of The Christ which opened on Ash Wednesday 2004 with $26.6M. Fox’s Kingsman: Secret Service came in on target with what the industry was projecting last night with a $10.5M Friday.  Paramount is reporting $6.5M for The SpongeBob Movie in third with an eight-day running cume of $69.6M, its second Friday off 56% from a week ago. Warner Bros./Village Roadshow own spots four and five respectively with American Sniper ($3.8M, off 38%) and Jupiter Ascending ($2M, -86%). American Sniper‘s total domestic B.O. through eight weeks currently stands at $291.5M, while Jupiter’s is at $25.1M through eight days.

fifty shades 10Several sources are telling me this morning that when it comes to Fifty Shades Of Grey, it’s a hard one to pin down in terms of a perfect weekend projection. It boils down two factors working against each other, one being that Fifty Shades is a fan-fave big-screen literary adaptation and the second being Valentine’s Day. This ying-yang factor has most conservative estimates keeping Fifty Shades of Grey in the $76-85M four-day realm. However, if the film turns out to be a great Valentine’s Day date flick and benefits from the holiday run, some think it still has a shot at $90M-plus over FSSM. Most fan-fueled literary bigscreen properties, regardless of age demo, are front-loaded at the box office, with Friday being their highest day and Saturday showing a modest decline, e.g. The Hunger Games posted a 25% decline from its opening Friday,  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey also slipped 25% in its second day and Divergent posted a -13%. Fold this data into recent Valentine’s Day moviegoing habits (when the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday).  During 2010 when the holiday fell on a Sunday and 2009 when it fell on a Saturday, the top five films experienced an average spike on the holiday ranging from +29% to 52%.

fifty shades eyesI hear that 78% of the opening night audience of Fifty Shades was female and that in breaking down its C+ CinemaScore, males loathed it at a C, with females giving it a C+. During Valentine’s Day weekend 2009, Friday The 13th was the No. 1 ranking movie that weekend with $40.5M. While most films in the top 10 showed spikes on the Saturday holiday, Friday The 13th declined 26% from its opening day of $19.3M to $14.3M on Valentine’s Day.  Clearly women then weren’t going to make Friday The 13th their date choice. The question today is whether gents will be willing to let the ladies twist their arm into a seat at Fifty Shades Of Grey. 

Nonetheless, even if Fifty Shades comes in at the lower end of projections at $76M, it’s still jawdropping for an R-rated film about BDSM that cost $40M, particularly one being released in the heart of winter.

Previous, Saturday 3:30 AM: In Friday late night grosses, Universal Focus’ Fifty Shades Of Grey is poised to hit a February opening day record with industry estimates predicting a first day of $31M for the feature adaptation of E.L. James’ fan femme novel and revised weekend projections  standing at $83M for FSS and a potential four-day of $91M.

Should Fifty Shades final at its current weekend projections, it is bound to find a place among the top R-rated weekend openings of all-time.  2003’s Matrix Reloaded currently owns the top FSS for an R-Rated film with $91.77M while 2004’s Passion of the Christ is the top weekend opener, and R-rated pic, in February with $83.8M.

kingsman 220th Century Fox’s R-rated guy action film Kingsman: The Secret Service took No. 2 Friday with an estimated $10.5M. The film is expected to hold that spot throughout the weekend, and is bound to rank as star Colin Firth’s biggest opening of his career with a potential three-day of $35M and a four-day of $39.4M. Kingsman will also go down as director Matthew Vaughn’s second biggest bow after 2011’s X-Men: First Class ($55.1M). Footage was unveiled for exhibitors at last year’s CinemaCon followed by its play at Anaheim’s Wondercon where it resonated with the fanboy crowd. The studio had a global first look rollout for Kingsman with X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23: its trailer ran on Yahoo, first images were released and the website launch. Kingsman cast and clips made a splash at last July’s San Diego Comic Con followed by extensive fan screenings in November, January and February with Vaughn and stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Hamill. Kingsman received a B+ Cinemascore and critics love it at 70% fresh on the Tomatometer.

spongebob 3With Rentrak reporting that 87% of all kids K-12 will be out of school on Monday with another 35% college students off for the Presidents Day holiday, Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water will be within breathing distance of $100M by Monday.  Meanwhile, Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s American Sniper will click past $300M at the domestic B.O. by Sunday. Other wide entries from last weekend include Warner Bros./Village Roadshow’s Jupiter Ascending looking at a projected 61% drop in its second FSS with Universal/Legendary’s The Seventh Son declining 54% in its second weekend.

Also by Monday, Weinstein Co.’s The Imitation Game, the second highest grossing Oscar best picture nominee this year behind Sniper, is expected to hit $80M stateside.

Top 10 films per industry estimates ranked by 3-day grosses:

1). Fifty Shades of Grey (UNI), 3,646 theaters  / $31M Fri.* / 3-Day: $83M/4-Day: $91M/ Wk 1

2). Kingsman: The Secret Service  (FOX), 3,204 theaters  / $10.5M Fri.* / 3-Day: $35M/ 4-Day: $39.4M/ Wk 1

3). The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (PAR), 3,654 theaters (+13)  / $6.6M Fri. (-56%)/ 3-Day: $26.6M (-52%)/4-Day: $36.1M/Total Cume: $99.2M/ Wk 2

4). American Sniper (WB), 3,436 theaters (-449)/ $3.79M Fri. (-39%) /3-Day: $16.4M (-29%)/4-Day: $19.2M/Total cume: $307M/ Wk 8

5). Jupiter Ascending* (WB), 3,181 theaters (0) / $2M Fri. (-68%) / 3-Day: $7.1M (-61%)/ 4-Day: $9.1M/Total Cume: $31.7M/ Wk 2

6). Paddington (TWC), 2,244 theaters (-644) / $869 Fri. (-22%) / 3-Day: $3.9M (-25%) / 4-Day: $5M/Total cume: $63.2M /Wk 5

7/8). Seventh Son (UNI), 2,874 theaters (-1) / $915K Fri. (-60%)/ 3-Day: $3.3M (-54%)/4-Day: $3.8M/Total Cume: $13.1M/ Wk 2

The Imitation Game (TWC), 1,551 theaters (-412) / $790K Fri. (-38%) / 3-Day: $3.3M (-29%)/4-Day: $3.9M/Total cume: $80M / Wk 12

9). The Wedding Ringer (Sony), 1,456 theaters (-682)/ $617K Fri. (-53%) / 3-Day: $2.3M (-50%)/4-Day: $3.1M/ Total cume: $59.2M /Wk 5

10). Black or White (REL), 1,591 theaters (-232)  / $602K Fri. (-53%)/ 3-Day: $2.3M (-49%) / 4-Day: $2.69M/Total cume: $17.4M/Wk 3

*includes Thursday night previews

Universal’s m.o. with Fifty Shades from the onset was not only engaging the novel’s fans in its marketing, but crossing the racy romance tale over to non-fans.  Fifty Shades earned a C+ CinemaScore from moviegoers which puts a question mark around its legs potential, but, it’s quite clear from Los Angeles to Miami-Dade County in Florida, that the film, spurred by its 100M book sales, is part of a cultural zeitgeist this weekend with women and couples.  Critics hate it at 27% rotten on the Tomatometer, but the ladies could care less.

US-ENTERTAINMENT-FILM-50SHADESAt AMC’s Sunset Place in Miami, the film was shown every 15 minutes since its 8 PM Thursday preview. At New York’s AMC Empire, Fifty Shades is showing 39 times on Valentine’s Day, while at the Hollywood Arclight on Sunset Blvd, there are 21 showtimes. There were local event premieres such as the one in Deerfield Beach, Florida where women received massages and Mary Kay makeup demos before the screening while their husbands and boyfriends watched pole-dance demonstrations by local instructors. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Ohio where the Catholic archdiocese has issued a boycott of the film because it doesn’t show a “loving relationship” properly, theater chains are on high alert to make sure that minors aren’t sneaking into the movie.  While it’s common at such YA films for fans to dress up in Harry Potter or Hunger Games costumes, AMC Theaters issued a statement in advance of Fifty Shades telling fans to leave their S&M weapons and get-ups at home, as it would “make guests uncomfortable, or detract from the moviegoing experience.”

fifty shades hotelHotels from New York to Seattle are offering Fifty Shades packages where moviegoers can check-in and unwind after catching the film, i.e. Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel  is serving up the “No Grey Area” package with one day use of an Audi R8 Spyder, helicopter tour of Seattle, Kama Sutra book upon arrival, champagne, Aphrodisiacs appetizers and a guestroom for two.

Online, the $40M Fifty Shades has been a whirlwind, much like a Hunger Games or YA film.  Author/producer E.L. James engaged her 700K fans via Twitter throughout production with continual retweets of Universal’s promos. The film’s Facebook page counts 8.4M fans, 7x the following of the book.  RelishMix weighs Fifty Shades social media footprint at 447M ranking behind the online campaigns of Hunger Games, Fast and Furious and The Avengers. Fifty Shades fans repost at a frequency of 31 to 1.  Total online video views are at 400M, comprised of 337M from YouTube and another 63M from Facebook.

ellie-goulding-love-me-like-you-doIn an effort to reach potential audiences outside the book’s fandom, Universal hooked on to such pop icons as Beyonce to tease out the first trailer last July (two of her songs appear in the film and ads; a remix of “Crazy in Love” and “Haunted”). The film’s soundtrack is set to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week. While soundtrack tie-in sales were quite common with 1980s blockbusters, in recent years they’ve only served as merchandising for uber-big films like Twilight and Hunger Games.  However, the Fifty Shades album was specifically curated, not only including tracks from the novel (Frank Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” and Rolling Stone’s “Beasts of Burden”).  Ellie Goulding’s song “Love Me Like You Do” counts 44.5M Youtube hits, with end-credits song, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” by Weeknd touting 15.7M YouTube video hits.

Fifty Shades author and producer E.L. James had the following message for her fans on Friday:

Thank you.

A photo posted by E L James (@erikaljames) on

Best Picture nominees: 

Selma (Par), 566 theaters (-375) / $272K Fri. (-44%)/ 3-Day: $1M (-38%)/4-Day: $1.2M/Total cume: $48.4M / Wk 8

Birdman (FSL) 481 theaters (-185)/ $199K Fri. (-39%)/ 3-day cume: $904K (-31%)/4-Day: $1M/Total cume: $36.6M/Wk 18

The Theory of Everything (FOC), 466 theaters (-136)/ $158K Fri. (-37%)/3-day cume: $692K (-30%)/4-day: $818K/Total cume: $33.3M / Wk 15

Whiplash (SPC) 515 theaters (+36)/$105K Fri. /3-day cume: $424K (-44%)/4-Day: $496K/Total cume: $10.3M/Wk 19


Temper  (INDI), 125 theaters / $250K Fri. / 3-Day: $931K /4-Day: $1.1M/Wk 1

Somewhere Only We  (CHINA), 50 theaters / $100K Fri. / 3-Day: $348K /4-Day: $421K /PWk 1

What We Do In The Shadows (UNISON), 2 theaters / $8K Fri. / 3-Day: $74K /Per Screen Avg. $15K/4-Day: $88K /Wk 1

The Rewrite  (IMAGE), 9 theaters / $7K Fri. / 3-Day: $26K /4-Day: $32K /Wk 1

Previous, Friday 1:13PM: Mid-day industry estimates point to Universal/Focus Features’ Fifty Shades Of Grey tracking for a potential February opening-day record of $26 million-$30 million today, which could beat the month’s previous opening-day champ, Mel Gibson’s 2004 Passion Of The Christ, which made $26.6M in its opening Wednesday. Over the four-day Presidents Day holiday, Fifty Shades Of Grey is looking at $75M-$85M per industry tracking; some analysts tell me it could even do higher than that.

Reported earlier by Nancy Tartaglione, Fifty Shades of Grey has already amassed $28.6M in a total of 34 foreign markets with No. 1s in 33. It’s looking at an overseas five-day bow of $100M-$130M; in sum, a total global bow could hit $215M.

Many were using 2008’s Sex And The City as an opening comp ($57M FSS), but with that comp blown out of the water Fifty Shades is resembling Twilight at this point in terms of numbers. That film, though PG-13, pulled in a first day of $36M and a four-day of $74.2M during the pre-Thanksgiving 2008 period. Twilight counted an audience that was 75% female. Fifty Shades author E.L. James has mentioned in interviews how she has been greatly inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s vampire tomes.

kingsmanThe weekend’s other newcomer, 20th Century Fox’s Kingsman: Secret Service, follows with estimates suggesting a $40M four-day and a Friday of $12.5M-$13M.  The $8.6M generated by Fifty Shades from Thursday night previews and the $1.4M made by Kingsman will be rolled into each film’s Friday ticket sales.  

Among the top domestic box office openings in February, Passion Of The Christ still rules over all titles and R-rated fare. Though it launched on a Wednesday, Passion made $83.8M over its FSS (five-day was $125.19M). The second-highest February bow belongs to last year’s The LEGO Movie which made $69.1M. 2001’s Hannibal owns the second-best February opening day behind Passion with $19.297M.