Friday Report: Moviegoers Submit to 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
Fifty Shades of Grey had a strong first place debut on Friday, though Kingsman: The Secret Service was no slouch in second.

Playing at 3,646 locations, the big-screen adaptation of the insanely popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey opened to an estimated $30.2 million yesterday. That ranks fourth all-time among R-rated movies behind The Matrix Reloaded ($37.5 million), The Hangover Part II ($31.6 million) and American Sniper ($30.3 million).

It doesn't look quite as impressive when compared to past female-skewing book adaptations, though. The first Twilight movie took in $36 million on its first day—remember, that was before the series was a full-on phenomenon—while The Fault in our Stars opened to $26.1 million last June.

If Fifty Shades of Grey plays like those movies, it will wind up with less than $70 million over the four-day weekend. Universal isn't expecting it to do much better—their current forecast has it earning around $76 million.

At the same time, the Fifty Shades audience is significantly older than the Twilight/Fault crowd, and are therefore less likely to rush out on opening day. Also, there's a question surrounding how the movie will play on Valentine's Day. If the movie drops to $25 million, then the $70-$80 million range is on point; however, if sales jump to $35 million, then $90-million-plus is back in play.

Opening at 3,204 locations, Kingsman: The Secret Service took second place with an estimated $10.5 million. That's significantly higher than director Matthew Vaughn's Kick-Ass, which opened to $7.66 million in April 2010.

Believe it or not, it's tough to find apples-to-apples comparisons from past President's Day weekends: Valentine's Day only occasionally falls on the holiday weekend, and many movies have opted to open earlier in the week. The best recent comparison is President's Day weekend in 2010, when Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday.

On that weekend, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and The Wolfman each opened to $9.6 million on Friday, and each finished the four-day weekend above $35 million. Look for a similar outcome for Kingsman this weekend.

After leading the box office last weekend, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water fell 56 percent to $6.5 million. For the four-day weekend, the movie should wind up earning over $30 million.

In fourth place, American Sniper eased 38 percent to $3.81 million. With a boost from Valentine's Day, it will likely earn at least $16 million over the three-day frame, which will rank in the Top 10 all-time among fifth weekends. It's now grossed $291.5 million, and will pass $300 million on Sunday.

Jupiter Ascending rounded out the Top Five with $2 million, which is off a massive 68 percent from last Friday. The mega-budget sci-fi adventure has earned a paltry $25 million through its first eight days.

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Forecast: 'Fifty Shades' to Dominate Valentine's Day Box Office

Related Charts:

Grosses for Friday, February 13, 2015

• 2014 Domestic Box Office