(PCM) With over 100 million copies sold worldwide, it comes as no surprise that the film adaptation of E.L. James’s erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, breaking box office records this past Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day weekend.
Opening in 3,646 domestic theaters, Fifty Shades of Grey had the widest open for an R-rated film in the U.S. ever, earning an estimated $81,670,000, making it the widest ever R-rated opening, beating 2011’s The Hangover II, and the third widest R-rated release ever, behind American Sniper and The Hangover II.
It is also the Fifth highest R-rated opening weekend, coming in behind 2003’s The Matrix: Reloaded, American Sniper, The Hangover II, and The Passion of the Christ.
Fifty Shades of Grey is also the second top grossing February open, coming in about $2 million short of the record set by Passion of the Christ in 2004.
The Sam Taylor-Johnson helmed movie starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson also has the highest-grossing Presidents’ Day open, beating out 2010’s previous record holder Valentine’s Day, which earned $56.3 million.
Despite receiving dismal reviews, Fifty Shades of Grey will probably continue to bring audiences to theaters nationwide for some time. The real question is whether the film’s two sequels will follow its lead in the box office or disappoint, like Twilight’s sequels.
Fifty Shades of Grey currently sports a rotten 26% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a critic consensus of: “While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen.”
After the controversy surrounding the novel’s depiction of BDSM, movie-goers were surprised by the film’s tame take, calling it vanilla and boring. Anthony Lane agreed in his review in The New Yorker, calling Fifty Shades of Grey “the “Downton Abbey” of bondage, designed neither to menace nor to offend but purely to cosset the fatigued imagination.”
Peter Travers bemoaned the film’s dullness in his Rolling Stone review, writing, “I’m shocked – shocked, do you hear me?!? – that the film version of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey is such a dull, decorous affair, about as erotic as an ad for Pottery Barn. Strictly intended for gluttons for punishment-by boredom.”
Despite the dismal reviews, Fifty Shades of Grey, made for just $40 million, has gone on to gross $240 million worldwide.
Kingsman: The Secret Service came in second for its opening weekend, earning an estimated $35.6 million, with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water coming in third with $30.5 million.
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