The 50 Shades Darker box office for the first week of its run is officially in, and it’s a bit of a failure.
— StillMoving (@StillMovingUK) February 12, 2017
Despite the incessant promotion, the promise of “sexiness” galore, and the promise of it being a worthy addition to the canon, USA Today is reporting that the 50 Shades Darker box office was a commercial disappointment. In 2015, 50 Shades of Grey opened to a record-breaking $85.2 million at the box office during its opening weekend. This time around, 50 Shades Darker took home less than half of that, with a disappointing $46.8 million draw during its opening weekend.
The sequel, 50 Shades Darker, was such a commercial disappointment, in fact, that The LEGO Batman Movie — which also debuted this weekend — trounced it with more than $55 million in take-home box office during its opening weekend.
Part of the reason for the 50 Shades sequel’s failure at the box office has to do with the fact that Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday in 2015, according to a Universal Studios executive. That meant that 50 Shades of Grey was a perfect Valentine’s Day movie to take your date to. But because Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday, this year, 50 Shades Darker fell short of expectations.
The perfect two???? pic.twitter.com/xI67axnoD6
— Fifty Shades Darker (@Official50world) February 10, 2017
According to The Hollywood Reporter, there’s another reason why the 50 Shades Darker box office was a disappointment: because it, quite simply, is a terrible film. (It’s not as terrible as its predecessor, but it’s terrible nonetheless: according to MetaCritic, 50 Shades Darker earned a B rating overall, compared to the C+ rating of its predecessor.)
Studio executives still have a lot of hope in the film, however. Nick Carpou, Universal Studios’ domestic distribution president, said that he expects the movie’s numbers to improve after Valentine’s Day, especially in so-called “Middle America.”
“This series still has a lot of juice. It bodes well for what comes next. And we absolutely are playing in the heartland. And we will see a big bump on Tuesday, which is Valentine’s Day.”
Carpou, however, didn’t address how the film’s near-universal critical excoriation negatively affected the box office.
— Jamie Dornan 360° (@jamiedornan360) February 9, 2017
One of the biggest reasons why the 50 Shades Darker box office was a complete disappointment was because of it being a complete critical failure. While the 50 Shades franchise never positioned itself as high art, there is a lot more that’s wrong with the film than what’s right. According to the New York Times, aside from the complete misrepresentation of BDSM culture, the film suffers from a sub-standard story and plot line (remember, the 50 Shades series is fan fiction based off of the Twilight series, which had even less of a plot), dispassionate sex scenes, and poor acting on both the parts of Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
Like many outlets, the New York Times has noted that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have no inter-personal chemistry either on-screen or off-screen, and this lack of chemistry is the main reason why the 50 Shades Darker box office is such a disappointment.
“There’s not much else to say except that the all-media screening of ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ I attended had scarcely begun before it turned into a live edition of the TV show ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000.’ At least some of the few hundred moviegoers seem to have arrived with modest expectations; others had seen ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ so presumably knew better. Soon, though, the individual scattered titters and excited murmurings began to shift and to harmonize as skeptics and true believers alike became as one, joined by the display of so much awfulness. Afterward, we lit cigarettes and murmured about what fun we had even though we also agreed that we could never go there again.”
— Jess KStew (@jess_kstewart) February 4, 2017
Are you surprised that the 50 Shades Darker box office was such a disappointment?
[Featured Image by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images]