“Fifty Shades of Grey” is gearing up to have one of the most impressive Valentine’s Day opening weekends in film history. Early projections say the film adaptation of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel will reach record-breaking box-office numbers. However, it might still find itself lagging against the 2015 competition.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that there is massive interest in “Fifty Shades” and puts its four-day opening weekend debut (Monday, Feb. 16, is a holiday, Presidents Day) somewhere between $45 million and $50 million. This would place it in position to edge out 2007's “Ghost Rider” ($52 million) for the second-best opening on Valentine’s Day weekend ever. The champ here, appropriately enough, is 2010's “Valentine’s Day,” which brought in $62 million.
While “Fifty Shades” is likely to be the breakout hit of its calendar slot, it will have formidable competition in the weeks and months to come. THR suggests that, while awareness of the film is through the roof, actual interest is harder to measure. The film’s sexually provocative subject matter might make the general public shy away from seeing it in theaters. In addition, like the book, it doesn't offer much for a male audience. Even if the movie meets its box-office expectations, it still will be behind films like the Oscar-nominated “American Sniper.”
According to Variety, the Clint Eastwood-directed military drama passed $107 million in its Jan. 16 opening four-day period. Luckily for “Fifty Shades,” other films in 2015 thus far, such as “Paddington,” “Mortdecai” and “The Boy Next Door,” are not expected to be big grossers. However, that doesn’t necessarily give "Fifty Shades" higher esteem.
This year will mark some of the biggest blockbuster releases in recent memory. “The Hunger Games” will come to a close in November. “Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens” will try to capture a new generation of science fiction fans in December. June's “Jurassic World” will bring back dinosaurs after 14 years. And Joss Whedon will present “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” in May. As Forbes notes, the first “Avengers” film made a record-breaking $207 million during its opening weekend in May 2012. If the highly anticipated superhero movie "Ultron" performs even half as well, it will blow “Fifty Shades of Grey” completely out of the water.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” will hit theaters Feb. 13. As of now its only real competition is the Colin Firth spy comedy “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” which is expected to gross $30 million in its opening.