'Fifty Shades of Grey' whips up stunning $81.7 million

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' whips up stunning $81.7 million
For the second weekend in a row, "Fifty Shades of Grey" is off the charts with $23.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales. The film is an adaptation of the best selling novel about a titillating relationship between a businessman and a college student. Pulling in second is "Kingsman: The Secret Service" which brought in $17.5 million at the box office. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, the film is about a spy training program -- facing the threat of a tech genius.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Jamie Dornan attends the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards at Theatre Royal on May 18, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
British author E.L. James' erotic romance 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is the first installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy. The movie, released February 2015, stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, a college grad who begins a sadomasochistic relationship with a young business magnate Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan. Both the books and the movie trace the relationship between Anastasia and Christian as they explore bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism masochism.
Screengrab from YouTube showing a scene from the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' trailer.
It is one of the first times B-D-S-M is going from the bedroom to the big screen. And some people are not happy about it.
Fifty Shades Of Grey: Exclusive Interview with Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan & Director Sam Taylor-Johnson - 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy has been translated in 52 languages worldwide and sold more than 90 million copies.
Jamie Dornan arrives at The Theatre Royal in London on Sunday, May 18, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision /AP Images)
"Fifty Shades of Grey" fever is not only breaking records for online movie ticket sales; it's affecting everything from advertisers to sex toys.
PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 08: Actress Dakota Johnson poses backstage after the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Held at Grand Palais on July 8, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Rindoff/Dufour/Getty Images)
Sam Taylor Johnson poses at Anna Karenina World Premiere at Odeon West End on Tuesday September 04, 2012 in London. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Eloise Mumford arrives at the Women In Film 2014 Crystal And Lucy Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Luke Grimes arrives at The Art of Elysium’s 5th Annual Genesis at Siren Cube on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Rita Ora attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Victor Rasuk seen at the Special Los Angeles Screening of Open Road and Five Star Feature Films 'JOBS', on Tuesday, August, 13, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Open Road/AP Images)
E. L. James' best-selling novel, "Fifty Shades of Grey," is shown on the desk of Deborah George, division director of materials management for the Gwinnett County Public Library, on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, in Lawrenceville, Ga. George recommended that her 15-branch library system not stock the book, deeming it primarily erotica. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Author E. L. James attends the E. L. James Book Signing For '50 Shades Of Grey' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on September 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Jamie Dornan seen visiting a gym in Notting Hill on May 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/GC Images)
Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan and his wife Amelia Warner pose for pictures on the red carpet upon arrival for the BAFTA TV awards in London on May 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO/WILL OLIVER (Photo credit should read WILL OLIVER/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 25: Dakota Johnson is seen in the East Village on July 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)
Dakota Johnson attends the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Protesters hold placards criticizing the depiction of S&M in the film 'Fifty Shades of Grey' as a group of women arrive for its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
People arrive to watch the film 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Women pose for photos in front of a poster advertising the film 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. The long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman shows tickets to the media before the film 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
People arrive to watch the film 'Fifty Shades of Grey' on its opening day in Los Angeles on February 12, 2015. 'Fifty Shades of Grey', the long-anticipated movie version of the bestselling erotic novel, began its worldwide rollout opening in theatres across France, Germany, Belgium and Serbia, days ahead of its key target territory the United States. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
I got the chance to watch 50 Shades of Grey before all of you did, so that I could fill you in on whether or not you should spend your hard earned money seeing it at the movies this Valentine's weekend.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Audiences were more than curious to check out the big-screen adaptation of the racy phenomenon "Fifty Shades of Grey" this weekend. The erotic R-rated drama sizzled in its debut, earning an estimated $81.7 million from 3,646 theaters in its first three days, distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday.

In addition to destroying Valentine's and Presidents Day weekend records, "Fifty Shades of Grey" has also become the second-highest February debut ever, behind "Passion of the Christ's" $83.9 million opening in 2004.

The chart-topping film cost a modest $40 million to produce. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, it could be on track to earn over $90 million across the four-day holiday weekend.

"Our fondest wishes were realized," said Universal's President of Domestic Distribution Nick Carpou. "This is one of those moments where I can speak for the entire studio and say we're celebrating."

Carpou was especially pleased that audiences in large, mid-size, and small markets turned out to see the film despite weather challenges in the Northeast.

"We had a tremendous amount of interest from small-town exhibitors," said Carpou, noting strong outings in the South. "That speaks to their patrons really wanting to see the film as soon as possible and be part of what everyone is talking about."

According to Universal, North American audiences were 68 percent female.

Internationally, director Sam Taylor-Johnson's adaptation of E L James' book earned an estimated $158 million from 9,637 locations in 58 territories. That's the second biggest international opening for Universal, right behind the $160.3 million debut from "Fast & Furious 6," and the highest international opening for an R-rated film ever.

"Those are summer-style blockbuster numbers in February," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office firm Rentrak.

"Controversy, or at least the conversation that's created by 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' suddenly infuses this movie into the mainstream conversation," he added. "They had to very carefully create a movie that was edgy, push the envelope, but without going too far to make it socially unacceptable."

Director Matthew Vaughn's "Kingsman: The Secret Service" also exceeded expectations, landing in second place with an estimated $35.6 million from 3,204 locations across the three-day period, according to Rentrak.

The R-rated comic book adaptation starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson cost a reported $81 million to produce and should earn around $41 million across the four-day period.

Animated children's film "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" came in third with $30.5 million in its second weekend in theaters, falling only 45 percent. As one of the few family-friendly options in theaters, Paramount's PG-rated movie could pass $100 million by the end of the holiday weekend.

Rounding out the top five were holdovers "American Sniper," with $16.4 million, and "Jupiter Ascending," with $9.4 million.

The Oscar-nominated "American Sniper," now in its fifth weekend of wide release, has earned over $300 million in North America to date.

"We should learn in 2015 to not underestimate how well films can do," Dergarabedian said. "Coming off a 2014 where we were down 5.2 percent, where a lot of movies did not live up to expectations, 2015 is right now running like a freight train toward the first $11 billion year in North America."

'Fifty Shades Of Grey': Christian Turns The Tables Clip

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

1. "Fifty Shades of Grey," $81.7 million ($158 million international).

2. "Kingsman: The Secret Service," $35.6 million ($23.1 million international).

3. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," $30.5 million ($13.5 million international).

4. "American Sniper," $16.4 million ($3.7 million international).

5. "Jupiter Ascending," $9.4 million ($15.6 million international).

6. "Seventh Son," $4.2 million ($730,000 international).

7. "Paddington," $4.1 million.

8. "The Imitation Game," $3.5 million ($4 million international).

9. "The Wedding Ringer," $3.4 million.

10. "Project Almanac," $2.7 million ($340,000 international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:

1. "Fifty Shades of Grey," $158 million.

2. "Somewhere Only We Know," $30 million.

3. "Kingsman: The Secret Service," $23.1 million.

4. "Jupiter Ascending," $15.6 million.

5. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," $13.5 million.

6. "Big Hero 6," $9.2 million.

7. "Taken 3," $7.1 million.

8. "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," $6.7 million.

9. "Detective K: The Laborer's Daughter," $6.2 million.

10. "Penguins of Madagascar," $4.1 million.

___

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

More to see from 'Fifty Shades' below:

33 PHOTOS
Dakota Johnson -- Jamie Dornan -- Fifty Shades of Grey
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'Fifty Shades of Grey' whips up stunning $81.7 million
"Fifty Shades of Grey" stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are leaving very little to the imagination ahead of the film's big release on Feb. 13. 
Actor Jamie Dornan poses for photographers with wife Amelia Warner on the red carpet for the world premiere of the film Fifty Shades of Grey at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Wednesday,Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Amelia Warner, left, and Jamie Dornan arrive at the 16th annual InStyle and Warner Bros. Golden Globes afterparty at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 11: Actress Dakota Johnson and actor Jamie Dornan attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' premiere during the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival at Zoo Palast on February 11, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
Dakota Johnson admits that she sometimes questions her decision to take on the virginal role of Anastasia Steele in the highly anticipated erotic book-turned-movie Fifty Shades of Grey, according to ETOnline.
She’s on a promotional blitz for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which debuts this weekend, and Dakota Johnson just made a surprising comparison to her film and Harry Potter.
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2015 file photo, author EL James attends a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" in New York. James, who was also a producer on the film, says she pushed hard on creative decisions to make sure her readers would be happy with the final product. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend a special fan screening of "Fifty Shades of Grey" hosted by The Today Show at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' Fan First Screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the LACMA Art + Film Gala at LACMA on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Dakota Johnson attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" on Monday, May 5, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 06: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan seen at 'Today Show' studios on February 06, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the upcoming 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: In this handout photo provided by NBCUniversal, Presenters Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan speak onstage during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Presenter E.L. James (L) and Jamie Dornan, winner of the Vertu Breakthrough award, attend the GQ Men Of The Year awards in association with Hugo Boss at The Royal Opera House on September 2, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
Jamie Dornan arrives at the BAFTA 2015 awards season tea party at The Four Seasons Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York fan first screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on February 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Dakota Johnson arrives at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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