Dominant 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sets box office record

LOS ANGELES, USA – Steamy bondage romp Fifty Shades of Grey dominated the North American box office on its opening weekend, whipping the competition to secure top spot – and the biggest February opening ever – industry figures showed Tuesday.

The erotic tale of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his sadomasochistic relationship with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) pulled in $93 million –more than 40 percent of the top dozen movies' sales – according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. 

Add to that earnings of $173 million outside the US, takes its international sales to over a quarter of a billion dollars $266 million to be exact.

The movie, which opened last week in Europe before its weekend US debut, scored the record haul despite some decidedly mixed reviews. (READ: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Review: Tepid drama)

"While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, 50 Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen," said the Rotten Tomatoes movie ranking website, which gave it a lackluster 26 percent approval rating. (READ: 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Sexy bits and audience reactions)

Another Valentine's Day weekend opener was British spy-comedy flick Kingsman: The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson, which debuted in second place with a haul of $41.8 million.  

 

 

The performance of the two newcomers was easily enough to shove last week's top film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, down to third place, with $40 million in sales over the long Presidents' Day holiday weekend. 

 

 

American Sniper, relegated to fourth place, had $18.8 million in ticket sales.

Since its release, the highly acclaimed Sniper has raked in $305 million and a half-dozen Oscar nominations, including a best actor nod for Bradley Cooper in the title role. (READ: ‘American Sniper’ Review: Molded for entertainment)

Jupiter Ascending sold the fifth most tickets, with a $10.8 million in its second weekend.

 

The fantasy flick pairs Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum and is a first foray into the genre for sibling directors Lana and Andy Wachowski since their work on The Matrix series. (READ: A closer look at Mila Kunis' Michael Cinco gown in 'Jupiter Ascending')

Paddington, a big-screen adaptation of the family classic about a bear lost in the big city, earned $5.8 million for the sixth spot. (READ: Xian Lim on his childhood, Kim, and 'Paddington')

 

Seventh Son, a 3-D fantasy-action film starring Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, was in seventh place, earning $4.8 million.

 

The Imitation Game, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as codebreaking genius Alan Turing, took $4.2 million in eighth place, followed by comedy The Wedding Ringer with $3.7 million in ninth.

 

Rounding out the top 10 was science fiction tale Project Almanac, with $3.3 million. – Rappler.com

 More 50 Shades of Grey on Rappler: