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Weekend Report: Moviegoers Flee From 'Fifty Shades'

by Ray Subers
Fifty Shades of Grey
 

 
February 22, 2015

Coming off a massive holiday weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey plummeted 74 percent in its second outing. Still, the movie easily held on the top spot this weekend with $22.3 million.

Among the new releases, McFarland, USA and The DUFF did solid business, while Hot Tub Time Machine 2 flopped.

Fifty Shades of Grey
's 74 percent drop is steeper than the second weekend declines for The Fault in our Stars, Valentine's Day, and all five Twilight movies. It's the second-biggest decline ever for a movie playing at over 3,000 locations; the worst belongs to the Friday the 13th remake, which fell 80 percent on this same weekend in 2009.

Adapted from an immensely popular book and opening on Valentine's Day weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey was always going to be fairly front-loaded. Still, the movie's horrible reviews (25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and weak word-of-mouth ("C+" CinemaScore) surely contributed in some way.

Fifty Shades
has now earned $129.2 million, and could be on track to close below $170 million. That's still a huge win—especially considering how well it's doing overseas—though it's not quite the monumental hit that its opening weekend may have suggested.

In its second weekend, Kingsman: The Secret Service fell 49 percent to $18.3 million. That hold is noticeably better than past President's Day comic book adaptations like Ghost Rider, Daredevil and Constantine. To date, the movie has earned $67.9 million, and still has a solid chance of ultimately topping $100 million.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
held on to third place with $16.6 million (off 47 percent). The movie has now earned $126.2 million total, and remains on track to eventually reach $155 million.

At 2,755 locations, McFarland, USA led this weekend's newcomers with $11 million. That's on the upper end of a modest range for recent sports dramas and Kevin Costner movies. It's a bit higher than Disney's last sports drama, Million Dollar Arm ($10.5 million), and is also above star Kevin Costner's Draft Day ($9.8 million). It's also near Costner's 3 Days to Kill, which opened to $12.2 million on the same weekend last year.

The audience for McFarland, USA was split evenly between men and women, and skewed older (60 percent above 25). It received a great "A" CinemaScore, which suggests word-of-mouth will be strong. By the end of its run, McFarland, USA could reach $30 million.

The DUFF
rounded out the Top Five with $10.8 million. That's nowhere close to high school comedies like Mean Girls and Easy A, though that's also an unreasonable bar: from a marketing standpoint, The DUFF seems to be a far more modest venture. CBS Films did a nice job getting the word out with a robust screening program, and ran a targeted marketing effort that struck a chord with young female moviegoers.

According to CBS Films, the audience was 75 percent female and 68 percent under the age of 25. With an "A-" CinemaScore, decent reviews and little competition over the next three weeks, The DUFF has a shot at ultimately hitting $30 million.

In sixth place, American Sniper fell 39 percent to $10.05 million. The movie now ranks 35th all-time with $320 million—ahead of Iron Man and Transformers—and remains on track to pass The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 to become the highest-grossing movie from 2014.

Opening at 2,880 locations, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opened in seventh place with a horrible $5.96 million. That's off 58 percent from the first movie's $14 million debut; while that drop isn't quite as bad as Machete Kills (67 percent) or Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (78 percent), it's still quite poor for a franchise continuation. Among early 2015 releases, the $5.8 million haul is a bit higher than Blackhat ($3.9 million) and Mortdecai ($4.2 million), and about on par with Strange Magic ($5.5 million).

A couple of factors played in to the movie's poor opening. While it's nice for a sequel to differentiate itself from its predecessor, this one seemed to do so in all the wrong ways. Beyond replacing John Cusack, the story seemed to go in a different, less appealing direction by sending the guys to many different time periods instead of setting up a Back to the Future scenario in a single one.

The five-year gap between the first and second installment was also problematic. Comedy sequels need to either arrive in close proximity to the original—two to three years—or far enough after for nostalgia to have kicked in. Finally, atrocious reviews likely kept some casual fans of the original away from theaters this weekend.

Paramount is reporting that the audience was 63 percent male and 76 percent over the age of 25. That audience awarded the movie a poor "C-" CinemaScore, which suggests that this is going to fall off quickly; ultimately, it would be surprising if this reached $15 million.

Still Alice
expanded to 765 locations and earned an estimated $2.17 million this weekend. With star Julianne Moore slated to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards tonight, it's likely that Sony Classics will be able to hang on to all (or most) of these theaters next weekend. With $7.96 million in the bank so far, there's a realistic chance that Still Alice winds up ahead of fellow Sony Classics movies Foxcatcher ($12 million) and Whiplash ($11.3 million and counting).

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

Forecast
'Fifty Shades' Set to Spank 'Hot Tub' Sequel This Weekend

Last Weekend
'Grey' Makes Green Over Valentine's Day Weekend

This Timeframe in Past Years:
• 2014 -
'LEGO' Obliterates '3 Days,' 'Pompeii'
• 2013 -
'Identity Thief' Steals Back the Top Spot on Quiet Weekend
• 2012 - 'Act of Valor' Gets SEAL of Approval
• 2011 - 'Gnomeo' Denied, 'Hall Pass' Ekes Out Modest Victory
• 2010 - 'Shutter Island' Hangs On, 'Cop Out,' 'Crazies' Debut Decently
• 2009 - 'Madea' Gives 'Jonas Brothers' a Lickin'
• 2008 - 'Vantage Point' Angles for Weekend Lead

• 2007 - 'Ghost Rider' Stays in the Saddle
• 2006 - 'Madea' Drags Moviegoers to 'Family Reunion'
• 2005 - 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' Comes Out Swinging at Number One


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Weekend Box Office Results
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