Romantic drama Fifty Shades Freed came out on top in its first weekend at the box office, leading a trio of newcomers that opened on Friday. The film is the third and final chapter of the Fifty Shades trilogy, which has proven itself as a commercial juggernaut over the last few years. In 2015, Fifty Shades of Grey set a new February record in its first three days, while last year’s Fifty Shades Darker brought in $381.1 million worldwide. Despite the franchise as a whole being panned by critics, the property has a loyal fan base that comes out to see the next installment.
With the marketplace in something of a minor slump after an uninspired January, it was widely expected Freed would be able to win the weekend. However, its securing of the #1 position comes with a caveat. There was a noticeable drop in box office performance between Grey and Darker, and based on the projections, that downward trajectory was poised to continue with the finale. Estimates heading into the weekend had Freed in the $39 million range, which is about what happened.
Per Box Office Mojo, Fifty Shades Freed won the weekend with $38.8 million. As indicated earlier, that is the lowest debut in the series, illustrating it’s ending at just the right time. Fifty Shades of Grey earned $85.1 million in its opening, while Darker made $46.6 million. Despite Freed failing to mach the marks of its predecessors, it doesn’t mean it’s a commercial failure. Budgeted at just $55 million, the movie got a significant boost from the international market. To date, its global total stands at $136.9 million, which is already past its break even point. Additionally, the franchise recently crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, so Universal made a smart business decision with this investment.
Freed managed to beat out its fellow new arrivals. In second this weekend was Sony’s animation/live-action hybrid Peter Rabbit with $25 million. The family film earned a great deal of notoriety for its heavily-criticized trailers, but the reviews of the actual movie were slightly better than expected, which helped it draw in a crowd. Peter Rabbit‘s target demographic has also been largely underserved of late, with only Paddington 2 ($38.4 million domestic total) serving as a suitable option for youngsters. Clint Eastwood’s true-story drama The 15:17 to Paris failed to make much of an impression, pulling in just $12.6 million in its first three days. That figure is lower than Eastwood’s adaptation of Jersey Boys ($47 million domestic total), indicating 15:17 to Paris won’t stick around for long. The film earned mostly negative reviews, with some feeling the decision to cast the actual heroes of the film’s event was the wrong move.
Rounding out the top five were Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($9.8 million) and The Greatest Showman ($6.4 million), two holdovers from December that have demonstrated strong legs for eight weeks. Elsewhere in the top 10, Best Picture nominees The Post (8th place; $3.5 million) and The Shape of Water (9th place; $3 million) continued to receive a small boost courtesy of their awards buzz. Next week should see even more movement on the charts, as Marvel’s Black Panther looks to dominate whatever stands in its way.
Source: Box Office Mojo
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