Universal’s “Fifty Shades Freed” led a trio of new releases at the box office, winning the weekend with an estimated $38.8 million from 3,768 screens.
It’s a solid result for the $55 million film, hitting tracker expectations of an opening in the upper $30 million range. It’s also just 17 percent down from the $46.6 million start scored by last year’s “Fifty Shades Darker.” As expected, critics panned the film with an 11 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, but opening night audiences gave it a B+ on CinemaScore, better than the C+ for the first film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and matching the grade scored by “Darker.” As has been for the “Fifty Shades” series, opening night demographics skewed young and female, with 75 percent being women and 55 percent being under the age of 30.
The film is expected to get one more solid box office jolt on Valentine’s Day this Wednesday before ceding the spotlight to “Black Panther.” Internationally, “Freed” has made $98 million from 57 markets, with Germany being the top market with a $10.7 million start. That gives “Fifty Shades Freed” a global start of $136.9 million, pushing the lifetime gross for the “Fifty Shades” trilogy to $1.085 billion.
In second place is Sony’s “Peter Rabbit,” which has hopped above tracker expectations with a $25 million opening from 3,725 locations. Projections had the film starting in the $18-22 million range, but this start will match the one made by Sony’s last animated entry, “The Emoji Movie.” Critics were mixed in their reception with a 58 percent RT score, while family audiences gave it an A- on CinemaScore.
In third is Clint Eastwood’s true story thriller “15:17 to Paris,” which was released by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow and hit tracker targets with a $12.6 million start from 3,042 locations, though that is still somewhat low considering the film’s $30 million production budget. According to CinemaScore demos, opening night crowds heavily skewed older with 57 percent being over the age of 50. Audiences were tepid on the film with a B- grade on CS, while critics gave it a thumbs down with a 20 percent RT score.
Taking fourth place is “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which added $9.9 million in its eighth weekend to push its total to $365 million. It is $24 million away from matching the $389 million made last summer by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and $8.5 million away from passing the unadjusted domestic total for “Spider-Man 2,” which would make the film Sony’s second-highest grossing film in North America. Development of a sequel was announced earlier this week.
Rounding out the top five is “The Greatest Showman” with $6.5 million in its eighth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $146 million. The film is expected to pass “La La Land” and its $151 million domestic cume this coming week.