Get ready for a lot of S&M references in this weekend's box office reporting. The long awaited adaptation of E.L. James' bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” debuted in theaters Thursday night and whipped up an impressive $8.6 million.
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, “Fifty Shades” is expected to gross between $75-85 million over the four-day President's day weekend. Like “Sex and the City” and the “Twilight” films before it, the romantic drama has keyed into a heavily female fan base that is making the opening a “must-see” event. Critics, on the other hand, have generally been negative on the picture with nationwide reviews corresponding to a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 47 on Metacritic. Much to Universal Pictures' delight, fans simply don't care.
The $8.6 million Thursday tally is the second biggest for an R-rated movie behind 2011's “The Hangover Part II's” $10.4 million. For comparison's sake, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” all took in between $8.1 and $8.7 million in early release last year.
Overseas, “Fifty Shades” has reportedly already taken in $28.6 million from 33 territories in just two days. The only territory where “Fifty” wasn't no. 1? Hong Kong.
The other new release this weekend is Matthew Vaughn's “Kingsman: The Secret Service” which also happens to be rated R. The adaptation of the Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons comic book series is expected to earn around $30 million domestic. It's already grossed over $20 million internationally.
Look for complete box office updates all weekend long on HitFix.