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Weekend Predictions: How Big Will 50 Shades Be?

February 13th, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service poster

Fifty Shades of Grey will win the weekend box office race and then aliens will come down to Earth and eliminate us as a species. Okay, that second part is just wishful thinking on my part. Kingsman: The Secret Service will open in a distant second place, despite earning reviews that are really good, for this time of year. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water will fit somewhere in-between the two new releases. Last year, The LEGO Movie remained in first place with $49.85 million. Fifty Shades of Grey will crush that figure, leading 2015 to an easy victory.

Fifty Shades of Grey is expected to be such a huge hit over the weekend that Universal is apparently already working on at least one sequel. The only people less happy about that than the critics are the two stars. Critics seems to be divided into three groups. Firstly, there are those who think it is better than the book was, but still terrible. Secondly, there are those who think it is better than the book was, still terrible, but terrible in an entertaining way. And finally, those who actually liked the movie. Since the film's Tomatometer Score is just 30% positive, and falling, the last group is the smallest. Additionally, there are reports that the two stars hated the movie and have absolutely no chemistry together. If you saw their video interview together, this should come as no surprise. On the other hand, the film is widely expected to dominate the box office and there are some who think it will break records for a February release. It probably would break the record for biggest single day in February, if Valentine's Day landed on a Friday. As it is, many expect the film to earn just over $80 million over the four-day weekend. (Presidents Day is Monday). Some even think it will reach $100 million by the end of Monday. I'm not that bullish, but $85 million over four days is still more than enough to justify a sequel.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water should score second place over its sophomore stint weekend thanks in part to its family friendly appeal and its great reviews. Look for $42 million over four days, which will push its running tally past the first film's final and into the nine-digit range.

Kingsman: The Secret Service is an action comedy spy thriller based on a comic book and co-written and directed by Matthew Vaughn. The spy elements are new, but otherwise this is a genre that he has worked with before. His experience, and the top-notch cast, has led to strong reviews and the buzz is good. It isn't nearly as good as the other wide release coming out this week, but good enough that it should become a solid midlevel hit. On the high end, the film could flirt with second place with just over $40 million over the weekend. On the low end, it will struggle to get to $30 million. I really want this film to be a hit, so perhaps my judgment is clouded. That said, I think the film will earn $35 million over the four-day weekend.

The competition will finally be getting to American Sniper and it will fall to fourth place with just over $20 million over the weekend. That said, this will be enough to get to $300 million overall and it will be about a week away from topping The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 for the biggest film released 2014.

Jupiter Ascending will round out the top five with about $11 million over the four-day weekend. The studio is going to take a bath on this $175 million movie.

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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, Jupiter Ascending, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Fifty Shades of Grey, American Sniper, Matthew Vaughn, Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan