SATURDAY UPDATE: Universal’s climactic third entry in the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy is making eyes at a $100M international box office start through Sunday. That’s higher than pre-weekend estimates which put the James Foley-directed Fifty Shades Freed in the $80M-$90M range — precious few saw a potential cherry on top. A $100M debut would set Freed coming in about 5% off of last year’s Fifty Shades Darker at current exchange rates. Through Friday, there’s $50.7M in Mr Grey’s offshore play room.
Domestically, Fifty Shades Freed is also on a solid ease for a threequel at 14% down. Combined, the movie will dominate worldwide box office action this frame while the trilogy has now passed $1B. A sexy milestone when considering the trio of films was made at an estimated production cost of $150M and that a lot of Asian markets (including China) sit these titles out due to the racy content. Hitting the $100M sweet spot internationally this session would bring the franchise to an estimated $1.089B globally through Sunday.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson’s lovers are now spanking/canoodling in 57 overseas markets with No. 1 bows in 54. Adding to the markets already listed yesterday (see below) that saw the biggest opening days of 2018 so far are the UK, Spain and Mexico. Critics give these guys a hard time, but the faithful are undeterred and there’s been little targeted to the demo in recent weeks.
Says a rival exec surprised by the overseas numbers, “I guess if you’ve made the journey on the first two, you want to see how it ends.” Indeed, something we’re hearing that works in Freed‘s favor is that it closes a narrative circle.
Looking at individual hubs, Germany‘s fervent fan base is leading with $6M after a $2.4M Friday. That’s on par with Fifty Shades Darker which counted Germany as its most ardent overseas home. In the UK, Christian and Ana saw 55% of moviegoers submit with $3.7M for the 3rd biggest opening day of all time on an 18-rated film, coming in behind both previous installments. In France, FSF battled snow in Paris and the suburbs to add $1.5M on Friday. The cume through Friday is $5.1M as it ranks ahead of local smash Les Tuches 3 which is in its 2nd frame.
Brazil has now amassed $3.7M after opening earlier this week, and is running 5% hotter than Darker. Russia is also up by 5% with $3.3M to date. Italy has harnessed $3.3M across Thursday and Friday and is looking at the 3rd biggest opening weekend ever for an R-rated title, after both of the earlier BDSM romps. Spain‘s Friday start whipped up $2M to top the opening days of such superhero pics as Suicide Squad, Captain America: Civil War and Fantastic Beasts.
In Australia, the cume is $2.9M through Friday for the 4th biggest February opening behind Grey, Darker and Deadpool. Mexico on Friday logged the 4th bigest opening day for an R-rated title at $1.1M. Momentum in the Netherlands continues with the opening outpacing the earlier movies and the trio owning the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 spots respectively for an opening day of an R-rated movie. Argentina likewise had a strong Friday at $500K for $1.1M to date. Yesterday’s bank is 11% ahead of Fifty Shades Darker and 42% more steamy than Fifty Shades Of Grey.
We’ll be back tomorrow with the full weekend climax.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Launching in an additional 33 markets yesterday, Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed has harnessed $25M through Thursday at the international box office. That includes the $9M it scored in previews and official releases on Wednesday. In total, the trilogy’s climax will be at play in 57 offshore markets this weekend which will help push the franchise over $1B global today; it’s currently at an estimated $991M.
Wednesday’s numbers topped both previous films. FSF through Thursday is currently running 2% hotter than last year’s Fifty Shades Darker. All in all, Fifty Shades Freed is projected to tie up between $80M-$90M internationally this session, and possibly go a bit higher (although freezing temps and snow could have an impact in parts of Europe). Last year’s Darker bowed to $98.5M at today’s rates without previews, and to $105.6M with previews.
Results on Thursday included the biggest opening day of 2018 in Brazil, Russia, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Argentina and Switzerland.
In Brazil, the debut put $2.3M in Mr Grey’s toy box, on par with 2015’s Fifty Shades Of Grey and 11% above last year’s installment. This was also Universal’s No. 3 best Brazil bow ever and the No. 10 best start of all time.
Russia came in 10% ahead of Darker with $1.7M, and Germany — a particularly ardent market for these movies — grossed $2M in previews and $1.6M on opening day to land on par with Darker. Germany was the biggest overseas hub for that film.
In Italy, Anastasia Steele dominated with 67% of the market and $1.7M (FSF topped the No. 2 film, The Post, by 10x). Belgium likewise was a dominant play at 56% of the market and $1.1M total with $474K on opening day. This is the 5th biggest ever and 3rd for Uni.
Australia whipped up $1.1M in its Wednesday previews, on par with Darker, and added $800K on Thursday. Argentina tied up $651K on Thursday for the 5th biggest bow ever and, for a non-3D and R-rated film, it is the top opening of all time, coming in 28% bigger than Fifty Shades Darker. Peru also had a solid start at $170K and 16% higher than the previous title.
As with the other films, this James Foley-directed BDSM series entry is expected to see a mix of Germany, the UK, France and Brazil as the hottest and heaviest openers.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY: As Universal’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy begins its climactic run, the third film in the series has whipped off to an early $9.1 million start at the international box office. Fifty Shades Freed is being teased out overseas, beginning with previews in 20 hubs and official starts in five markets through Wednesday. As other markets come on board through today and Friday, it will be at play in 57 total including France, Germany, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Japan. The franchise will cross $1B this weekend worldwide and $700M offshore.
Continuing its predilection for the series, Germany made $2M in Freed previews Wednesday, dominating the market. This was the No. 1 offshore play on last year’s Fifty Shades Darker, and the No. 2 (after the UK) on Fifty Shades of Grey which had a showcase premiere berth at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015.
In France, the James Foley-directed threequel opened at No. 1 (official, not previews) with $1.5M to land on par with Fifty Shades Darker. The team, including leads Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, was on a freezing red carpet in Paris on Tuesday for the international premiere of a film that owes much to France — it was largely shot in the south. There’s competition here this weekend with Maze Runner: The Death Cure and Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris also bowing. All films are likely to be down this weekend, however, as a cold snap has gripped the Hexagon, and rare snow in Paris is causing all kinds of headaches.
In the Netherlands, FSF tickled the all-time biggest Ladies Night Previews with $1.2M. That’s 15% ahead of Darker and grabs hold of a spot in the top single-day previews ever for the market.
Australia saw $1.1M in previews, on par with the previous film. In the Philippines, the official opening day was $300K to score the best launch so far of 2018, well ahead of Grey and Darker.
All in all, the critic-proof Fifty Shades Freed is projected to tie up between $80M-$90M internationally this weekend. Last year’s Darker bowed to $98.5M at today’s rates without previews, and to $105.6M with previews.
Traditionally, the top markets for the Fifty Shades series have been a mix of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil, and there’s little reason to think that will change this time around. We’ll keep tabs on the lovers as the weekend rolls along.
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