Fifty Shades of Grey opens this Valentine’s weekend, and the flick has followed the model of other potential blockbusters by allowing a limited release on Thursday night. If the film’s performance during that limited release can be used as a model, it appears Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have themselves a huge money earner on their hands.
Ever since the movie was first released, the hype machine powered by the book series’ fanbase has been working overtime. At first, the flick’s producers were releasing little teaser posters, which showed just the back of Jamie Dornan’s back as he looked out over the city. Then we finally started getting some trailers showing the rather salacious sex scenes that made the books so popular.
Fifty Shades of Grey has long since transcended the kind of romance novels that are often ridiculed. Instead, this film has become one that even your grandmother might find herself going to see. The craze surrounding the series has become so ridiculous that a branded puzzle recently popped up in at least one grade school, raising more than a few eyebrows.
With a little more than 2,830 engagements on Thursday night, 50 Shades of Grey racked up over $8.6 million, which makes it the second highest preview night in movie studio history, according to Deadline. That kind of dollar figure has to have studio heads salivating, considering the film will be moving to more than 3,645 theaters including 75 IMAX hubs tonight and through the weekend. Earlier estimates claimed the film could bring in around $50 million on Valentine’s weekend, but one has to wonder if the big Thursday night will drive up those estimates.
It helps that the steamy flick is going to be largely without much in the way of competition this weekend. While this isn’t exactly a “romantic” movie, considering there isn’t a lot of wining and dining or professing of love, it is indeed a film that will suit couples looking for a Valentine’s Day movie more than Spongebob Squarepants or Kingsman: The Secret Service. While both of those are expected to do fairly well, according to Entertainment Weekly, neither will come close to Grey.
The real question for this weekend will be just how big an opening the movie might eventually record. There is certainly a devoted fan base, and since this isn’t exactly a flick that is hugely story driven, some fans of Fifty Shades of Grey might find themselves hitting the theater numerous times throughout the weekend.