50 Shades of Grey
Still of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Universal Pictures
Still of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Universal Pictures

“Fifty Shades Of Grey” shattered industry expectations, and will end the combined Valentine’s Day-President’s Day weekend with a blistering $94.4 million in the cash registers, analysts said Monday.

The R-rated sex drama led a weekend that will go down as the best-ever for the film business: $247 million will be spent on movie tickets in the United States and Canada between Friday afternoon and the last show tonight.

“‘Fifty Shade Of Grey’ feels the love from audiences, coming in even higher than Sunday’s estimate with $85 million for the three-day portion of President’s weekend, and a whopping $94.4 million for the four day frame,” gushed Rentrak’s Paul Dergaradedian.

That makes the kinky flick the best-opening movie in any February.

But that wasn’t the only weekend surprise. An R-rated action movie, “Kingsman: The Secret” opened in second place with an estimated $42 million through Monday night, also well above the collective industry expectation.

And at the squishier end of the demographics, “Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out Of Water” also sailed past its target by more than a million dollars. It soaked up another $40 million for the extended weekend, good enough to pass the $100 million waterline in just 10 days of showing.

“American Sniper” added another $19.5 million through tonight to its four week total. By the end of the night, it will be at the $307.2 million mark in the U.S. and Canada alone, according to studio projections.

Rounding out the 10 most-popular films in North America, as estimated by the studios and collated by Rentrak, were “Jupiter Ascending” ($10.7 million), “Paddington” ($5.4 million), “Seventh Son” ($4.7 million), “The Imitation Game” ($4 million), “The Wedding Ringer” ($3.7 million) and “Project Almanac” ($3.3 million).

—City News Service

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