Though it had the lowest opening of the series with $38.5 million, “Fifty Shades Freed” did just as well as its two “Fifty Shades” predecessors on Valentine’s Day, roping in $10.8 million to bring its total to $56 million, just 14 percent behind the pace set to this point by last year’s “Fifty Shades Darker.”
While “Freed” has been panned by critics, fans of E.L. James’ novels were pleased, giving it a B+ on CinemaScore. Universal has made “Fifty Shades” into a Valentine’s Day ritual over the last few years, and it has paid off with more than $1 billion in lifetime grosses between the three films. For a threequel, “Freed” has particularly performed well on the romantic holiday, nearly matching the $11 million made on Feb. 14 last year by “Darker,”
But now, “Freed” is expected to cede the spotlight to “Black Panther,” which opens in previews tonight and has seen its projections skyrocket over the past few days. The film is expected to easily break the $132 million February box office record set by “Deadpool” in 2016, but now rivals and box office analysts tell TheWrap that the film’s three-day total could beat the $174 million opening made by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” remake last year, which would make the film the biggest pre-summer opening of all time. That would also beat the opening by “Iron Man 3” to make it the biggest opening by a Marvel movie featuring a single superhero.