‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Explodes Overseas, Heads for Record $158 Million Debut

The opening of Universal’s adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel will be biggest ever for R-rated movie abroad

Last Updated: February 14, 2015 @ 10:51 PM

“Fifty Shades of Grey” has opened at No. 1 in 56 of the 57 foreign markets in which it debuted, dominating the international box office and steaming into the record books.

The big-screen adaptation of E.L. James‘s erotic bestseller took in $38 million Friday to raise its overseas total to $66 million after two days. That puts it on pace for a haul of more than $158 million over the three days, which would give the sexy romance starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson the biggest international opening weekend ever for an R-rated movie, ahead of 2003’s “The Matrix Revolutions” at $117 million.

“Fifty Shades” is currently pacing for an opening of around $75 million domestically, so it is looking at grosses well over $200 million worldwide in its first four days. That will be an impressive return on a movie that cost $40 million to make and virtually assures a sequel. Michael DeLuca, Dana Brunetti and James produced.

James’ bestselling erotic novels have sold more than 100 million copies and been translated into 52 different languages, and the box office numbers are providing more evidence of its broad global appeal. The huge foreign haul isn’t a total surprise, since “Fifty Shades” sold more than 4.5 million advance tickets.

“Fifty Shades” posted Universal’s biggest opening day of all time in 25 territories Friday, and it is the biggest opening day for an R-rated (or its international equivalent) film in 34 markets.

The U.K. and Ireland led the way with $7.1 million, the biggest opening ever in February or for an 18-rated film there. It set a February record in Germany, where it is at $5.5 million after two days and in France is at nearly $5 million after three days and is the studio’s biggest opener ever there. Russia ($4.6 million) and Italy ($4 million) openings both set records for Universal.

If you’re wondering which market didn’t make “Fifty Shades” the top film at the box office in its debut, that would be Hong Kong.

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