Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey lived up to the hype at the box office this weekend with an estimated four day-day holiday start of $94.4 million. The highly anticipated erotic romantic drama opened in line with its massive (and wide-ranging) pre-release expectations, which had surged in the weeks leading up to the film's release due in part to extremely strong pre-sales. Fifty Shades of Grey seized control of the record for the largest four-day Presidents Day weekend debut of all time; as it outpaced the $63.14 million four-day start of 2010's Valentine's Day by a very impressive 49.5 percent.
With the film's revised three-day estimate now standing at $85.04 million, Fifty Shades of Grey also claimed the largest opening weekend ever for the month of February (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). The previous record holder was 2004's The Passion of the Christ, which opened with $83.85 million back in 2004. Fifty Shades of Grey also claimed the fourth largest R-rated three-day opening weekend of all-time (behind only 2003's The Matrix Reloaded, last month's debut of American Sniper and 2011's The Hangover Part II).
The four-day to three-day ratio for Fifty Shades of Grey stands at 1.11 to 1. It is possible that Fifty Shades of Grey may be quite front-loaded going forward, due in part to the opening weekend rush out of the film's pre-existing fanbase. The film's lackluster C+ CinemaScore rating and poor critical reviews aren't promising early signs either when it comes to long term holding power. The audience breakdown for Fifty Shades of Grey skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (68 percent) and towards moviegoers over the age of 25 (58 percent).
Fox's Kingsman: The Secret Service was off to a nice start of its own this weekend with an estimated second place four-day take of $42.0 million. The Matthew Vaughn directed graphic novel adaptation starring Colin Firth exceeded expectations and likely received an added boost from serving as counter-programming for audiences not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey this weekend. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Kingsman claimed the seventh largest four-day Presidents Day weekend debut ever. Kingsman opened a very impressive 96 percent stronger than the $21.39 million four-day start of 2010's Kick-Ass.
The revised three-day estimate for Kingsman: The Secret Service stands at $36.23 million. That gives the film a four-day to three-day ratio of 1.16 to 1. Kingsman received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.
After last weekend's stronger than expected debut, Paramount's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fell two spots and 28 percent to claim third place over the four-day frame with an estimated $40.0 million. While The SpongeBob Movie experienced a significant second weekend decline for a family film over Presidents Day weekend, the film still continues to exceed expectations in a big way thanks to getting off to such a strong start last weekend. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is set to surpass the $100 million mark on Monday and has grossed $103.13 million through eleven days of release. The revised three-day estimate for The SpongeBob Movie is $31.68 million.
Warner's American Sniper placed in fourth with an estimated four-day take of $19.46 million. In the process the Clint Eastwood directed blockbuster starring Bradley Cooper surpassed the $300 million mark this weekend; making it just the third release of 2014 to do so. American Sniper was down a healthy 16 percent from last weekend, as the film continues to hold up well. The film has grossed a massive $307.16 million after 32 days of wide release and remains on course to become the highest grossing release of 2014. The revised 3-day estimate for American Sniper is $16.53 million.
Fellow Warner Bros. release Jupiter Ascending rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $10.68 million over the holiday frame. The expensive 3D sci-fi film from The Wachowskis starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis was down a sizable 42 percent from last weekend. Jupiter Ascending has grossed $33.80 million in eleven days, which is very disappointing with the film's price tag in mind. The film is currently running 9 percent ahead of the $30.95 million eleven-day take of 2008's Speed Racer. The revised 3-day estimate for Jupiter Ascending stands at $9.24 million.