Last night, the hotly-anticipated adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey took in an impressive $8.6 million from previews in 2,830 theaters in North America, making it the second-highest Thursday night showing for an R-rated film after The Hangover Part II ($10.4 million in midnight screenings).
The film will need a safe word to stop its box office dominance for the weekend as it expands into 3,646 locations (including 75 IMAX screens), the widest release ever for an R-rated film and nearly a thousand more than last night. Some analysts have predicted the film could earn anywhere between $50 to $60 million for the Valentine’s Day weekend, although based on sales, it’s more likely to set a new Valentine’s Day box office record, surpassing the movie Valentine’s Day with $63.1 million in 2010 before there were Thursday previews for comparison.
For better comparison, last year’s first installment of the young adult novel Divergent grossed $4.9 million in Thursday previews on its way to $54.6 million and that’s without the bump from Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day on Monday. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 grossed $30.4 million from midnight screenings alone, so it’s doubtful Fifty Shades of Grey will get anywhere near its $141 million opening weekend.
Now playing, the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed Fifty Shades of Grey stars Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden and Callum Keith Rennie. Fifty Shades of Grey has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in over 50 languages worldwide since its release.
To date, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever. “Fifty Shades of Grey” (first published in 2011) follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, “Fifty Shades Darker” (2011) and “Fifty Shades Freed” (2012) explore the couple’s deepening relationship. Universal is already said to be developing these sequels.