Analysts vastly underestimated how well "Fifty Shades of Grey" would perform at the box office President's Day Weekend.
The adaptation of the best-selling erotica fan-fiction series by E.L. James brought in an adjusted $85 million over the three-day weekend (originally that number was $81.7 million). In four days, the $40 million Universal Pictures and Focus Features' film made $94.4 million.
Analysts thought it would make just over $60 million.
That was probably due in part to comparisons with "Twilight." "Fifty Shades" started out as fan-fiction of the popular teen novels. The first "Twilight" movie debuted to $69 million in 2008, so an opening around $60 million would have made sense for the first installment of "Fifty Shades."
Instead, the film became the best-opening weekend in February ever at the box office, knocking 2004's "Passion of the Christ" from the top spot.
Here are a few other records it now holds:Largest opening weekend for a romantic movie (beating out 2001's "Pearl Harbor," $59 million) Largest opening weekend for an erotic thriller (topping 2009's "Obsessed," $28.6 million) The biggest R-rated ticket-seller on Fandango
The film also has the fourth-largest opening weekend for an R-rated movie.
Since its release, the movie has made over $266 million worldwide. In the UK and Ireland, the film made $21.5 million.
Why didn't analysts think "Fifty Shades" would make more?
For one thing, history precedes it.
Typically, February isn't a month where we see a lot of break-out box-office hits.
"The LEGO Movie" started to change that thought process last year when it surprised everyone with a $69 million opening weekend, and a second weekend where it nearly performed just as well.
The biggest thing "Fifty Shades" had going against it was how previous R-rated films and films in the erotica genre have performed at the box office opening weekend.
Take a look at the biggest opening weekends for R-rated movies. "Fifty Shades" is the only film of its kind to crack the top five.Movie Opening Weekend Worldwide Gross Estimated Budget "The Matrix Reloaded" $91.8 million $742 million $150 million "American Sniper" $89.2 million $392.9 million $58.8 million "The Hangover Part II" $85.9 million $586.8 million $80 million "Fifty Shades of Grey" $85 million $266.4 million to date $40 million "The Passion of the Christ" $83.8 million $611.9 million $30 million
Instead, here's how the top erotic thriller films have performed opening weekend at theaters:Movie Opening Weekend Worldwide Gross Estimated Budget "Obsessed" $28.6 million $73.8 million $20 million "Eyes Wide Shut" $21.7 million $162.1 million $65 million "Basic Instinct" $15.1 million $352.9 million $49 million "The Boy Next Door" $14.9 million $36.3 million $4 million
"Fifty Shades" had the advantage of not only being an R-rated erotica film, but unlike the other films listed above, it had a huge "Twilight"-sized fan following. Over 100 million copies of "Fifty Shades of Grey" have been sold.
The combination of both helped it break any box-office expectations.
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