Fifty Shades Freed whipped up $40 million at the domestic box office during its opening weekend. Variety reports that the third movie in the Fifty Shades trilogy is also dominating international markets as well. It’s already amassed $50 million in ticket sales outside of the United States.
According to Forbes, this means that the series has earned more than $1 billion worldwide since the premiere of the first movie. Fifty Shades of Grey racked up $571 million worldwide, while Fifty Shades Darker made a slightly less impressive $381 million. The production costs of all three of the movies have amounted to $150 million.
While many have slammed the movies for being terrible works of film, those box office numbers are still an impressive feat for movies that don’t feature Marvel superheroes.
Based on a series of best-selling erotic books by E.L. James, the trilogy chronicles the “relationship” between Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). In the first movie, Christian, a high-powered billionaire businessman seduces Anastasia, a naive college student, and introduces her to BDSM and the rest of the story follows the ups and downs of Anastasia’s acceptance of that part of their sex life.
Fifty Shades‘ billion-dollar box office performance puts it in an exclusive club of high-earning, R-rated franchises, Forbes notes. The trilogies in this club include The Matrix, which earned $1.6 billion over three films, and The Hangover movies, which earned $1.4 billion. Resident Evil ($1.2 billion after six movies), The Conjuring ($1.2 billion after four movies) are among the other billion dollar franchises in this group.
Fifty Shades Freed was miles ahead of its closest competition, Peter Rabbit, which earned $22 million, Variety reports. The family-friendly feature stars comedian and late-night-talk-show host James Corden as the main character. Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley play supporting roles. The previous top earner, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, earned $9 million.
But Fifty Shades Freed’s reign at the box office may not last long. Marvel’s Black Panther premieres on February 16, and based on advance ticket sales, it’s expected to take in close to $150 million during its opening weekend, Variety notes.