'Fifty Shades Freed' Whips the Competition at the Weekend Box Office

Fifty Shades Freed, the third movie in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise, handily won the box office competition over the weekend. It was no surprise that the erotic drama bested the other new releases in the weekend before Valentine's Day, especially since the closest competition was an animated family film. Freed is the lowest-performing film in the franchise to date, although it's not uncommon for third installments to fall short of their predecessors.

Via The Hollywood Reporter.

Universal's Fifty Shades Freed seduced audiences in its worldwide debut, grossing $136.9 million and propelling the female-fueled franchise past the $1 billion mark in global box-office ticket sales go become one of the most profitable series in the studio's history.

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In North America, Fifty Shades Freed easily dominated the weekend, coming in No. 1 with $38.8 million, the top opening of the year to date. There were no signs that the #MeToo movement slowed down the threequel, which came in less than 17 percent behind Fifty Shades Darker, a small drop for a third installment, not to mention a third title in a franchise based on a book series that's faded from view.

Overseas, Fifty Shades Freed sizzled with $98.1 million from 57 markets, including a first-place finish in 54 of those. Germany led all countries with $10.8 million, followed by the U.K./Ireland ($8.8 million), France ($8.7 million) and Italy ($7.2 million).

The first film in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, opened to $85.1 million domestically and $242.4 million worldwide over Valentine's Day weekend in February 2015. At that time, E.J. James' BDSM-laced books were a global sensation. Two years later, the follow-up Fifty Shades Darker opened to $46.6 million domestically and $144.4 million globally. The franchise has been enormously profitable for Universal, considering the trio of titles cost a combined $150 million to produce before marketing. The studio won't discuss financials, but insiders confirm the franchise is one of the studio's most lucrative properties.

Females made up roughly 75 percent of the North American audience for Fifty Shades Freed. In the pic, Dakota Johnson once again stars as Anastasia Steele, while Jamie Dornan reprises the role of Christian Grey.

"We take great pride providing films for distinct audiences," says Jim Orr, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "We played evenly across America and over-indexed in a lot of Midwestern markets where you wouldn't think an R-rated, adult title wouldn't play."

Get the rest of the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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