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article image'50 Shades' opens wide and will take over the box office

By Tim O'Brien     Feb 12, 2015 in Entertainment
UPDATE: "Shades" took in another $30 million Friday as it will likely take down a Presidents' Day record in the states. However, it will have to push harder to take the R-rated movie opening of all time. It may still do that.
Estimates continue to vary from the three-day to the four-day, domestically.
EARLIER: For a R-rated movie to grab $8.6 million on a Thursday early showing is pretty darn impressive. So, like it or not, "50 Shades of Grey" has started hot.
EARLIER: As "50 Shades of Grey" readies itself to take over the box office, as a holiday weekend has unwrapped itself. Hype, marketing and buzz has filled this movie, and now the test is here.
Not only will Valentine's Day fall on Saturday, but in the United States there is one more holiday on Monday. That is Presidents' Day. That allows for wide speculation and ideas about how the box office will fare. Plus, the usual three-day and four-day numbers drop.
With "50 Shades of Grey," the hyped S&M film based on the book by E.L. James, those numbers vary. Whether it is the three-day or four-day. This one is quite unusual because many tickets are being bought online for this one.
Perhaps that is because many people simply do not want to walk up to the box office and say, out loud, "give me two to '50 Shades of Grey.'" Especially if a family is right behind them looking to see "SpongeBob." It will make for some unusual run-ins over the weekend.
Niche marketing takes on a whole new meaning with it as well. Just ask Target, who are selling "50 Shades" items, and sales of sex toys have increased. Meanwhile, some smaller theaters will not book it, but some women are "block-buying" tickets. This is the thing usually reserved for Christian films but not anymore. Perhaps they are "block-buying" for Christian Grey.
1. "50 Shades of Grey" - 3,645 theaters
2. "Kingsman: The Secret Service" - 3,100 theaters
3. "Old Fashioned" - 200+ theaters
"50 Shades of Grey" stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan and if this thing tanks, that would be a huge disappointment considering the hype - good or bad. This is perhaps review proof for the first weekend out as the hype will die next weekend. Those who want to see it are likely to have a blast over Valentine's Day. For the three-day, the estimates are from $50-61 million for the four-day and up to $40 million for three days. This is an odd one since many have buzzed about it but with the subject matter, they might not actually see it in public.
Being a R-rated movie will help, too. It is not a NC-17 film. But, do not expect a superhero opening for it because it is an R-rated movie.
But, do not count out "Kingsman: The Secret Service" to have solid weekend and then the second weekend for "SpongeBob." It should be a nice holiday weekend. Hollywood is attacking their early in the year problems and may have fold a solution. Release a few buzzed about movies early in the year, whether they are critically-acclaimed or not, and have some nice surprises in the dead of winter.
"Kingsman" stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Caine, among others, and it has the fanboys and perhaps those males that will never be seen at "50 Shades." The tracking for males vs females is the one to seek this weekend and that will be done. It will be interesting to see if males willingly go to "50 Shades."
Speaking of marketing, it has to be somewhat amusing to have "SpongeBob" on the marquee right next to "50 Shades of Grey." Or even "Fifty Shades of Grey.
More updates as the weekend takes over.
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