The much talked about movie adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey stole into the theatres on the weekend. Silently and coyly? No no, this movie came in hard and aggressive (all the puns are just in your head!). Fifty Shades of Grey broke Valentine Day’s record with a $85 million opening over the weekend in North America, which also makes it one of the biggest openings for a R-rated movie. These opening figures seem befitting a big-budget summer flick, but that’s not what Fifty Shades of Grey was supposed to be. It was a much more modestly made movie with only $40 million as its production budget. Oh well, the studios are going to earn in multiples of those! Apart from a stunning domestic opening, Fifty Shades of Grey also opened successfully in many foreign markets where it earned $158 million, which takes its worldwide tally to more than $240 million. That is already 6 times the production budget! This movie could easily be headed north of $500 million which would definitely make it one of the best return generating films of 2015. Interestingly, the critics were not too much in love with the movie as the 26% score on Rottentomatoes score would indicate, but there are times when fans simply say — to hell with the critics! With such a massive fanbase of the book series, there was bound to be a lot of excitement to see the big screen adaptation. The rampage to the cinemas was largely led by the women who formed 68% of the audience in North America. I do expect the following weekends to have big drops in collections, say 60% or something in that vicinity, but with an opening like this, the film-makers are bound to be celebrating for now. Get ready for more Fifty Shades of something or the other.
Following up a distant second, but not a bad start nonetheless, is Kingsman: The Secret Service. This movie, based on the Mark Millar comics, has had good reviews and opened with a strong $36 million on the weekend. I liked the gutso nature of its release, taking on Fifty Shades of Grey on Valentine’s Day despite having little to do with love and more to do with spies. In hindsight it sort of seems like a smart move, because for all those who did not want to have any part in the kinky romance of Ana and Christian, Kingsman: The Secret Service was the only option which provided a completely different world to escape into. Directed by Matthew Vaughn who is coming on the back of X-Men: First Class success, and starring Colin Firth, the movie has done decent foreign business as well, to make for about $86 million worldwide collections so far (over the 4-day holiday period). The budget of the movie is a bit on the higher side at $81 million, so the studios would be looking for earnings of maybe $240 million or more worldwide by the end of the theatrical run. I expect the weekend falls for the movie to be relatively lower than Fifty Shades of Grey which would help it to reach that earnings mark.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fell by 43% on its second weekend. It has already had a surprising strong start, and the worldwide earnings are now close to $150 million. The movie should soon start giving returns to the studio on its investment. The sensation of January, American Sniper, still remains in the top five places, and has now crossed $300 million domestically and is close to reaching $400 million in worldwide box-office collections. If it continues to hold strong in the coming weeks, American Sniper could very well be the biggest movie of 2014 as far as the domestic box-office is concerned! Now who would have seen that coming?
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Fifty Shades of Grey ($85.0 million)
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service ($36.2 million)
3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water ($31.7 million; second weekend)
4. American Sniper ($16.5 million; fifth weekend)
5. Jupiter Ascending ($9.2 million; second weekend)