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'Fifty Shades Freed' Tops Box Office With $38.8 Million, 'Peter Rabbit' Hops to $25 Million

From Reuters - February 11, 2018

LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) - Universals opening of Fifty Shades Freed is dominating North American moviegoing this weekend with a solid $38.8 million at 3,678 locations as cinemas await the arrival of Black Panther.

Sonys launch of family comedy Peter Rabbit wound up with a better-than-expected $25 million at 3,725 sites. Clint Eastwoods thriller The 15:17 to Paris from Warner Bros. arrived above forecasts at $12.6 million at 3,042 venues for the weekend.

A pair of sturdy holiday season holdovers in their eighth weekends took fourth and fifth as Sonys Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle finished with about $9.8 million at 3,126 sites and Foxs The Greatest Showman grossed $6.4 million at 2,373 screens. Jumanji declined only 10 percent from the previous weekend and will finish the weekend with $365.7 million in 54 days in 38th place on the all-time domestic grosser list, $3 million behind Despicable Me 2. Showman slid only 17 percent and has totaled $146.5 million.

The finale of the Fifty Shades trilogy -- referred to in marketing materials as the climax -- is also launching in 57 international markets this weekend with about $100 million, which brings the franchise total to about $1.09 billion.

The weekend saw a significant increase in moviegoing in the wake of a slow Super Bowl session with $138 million, up 46 percent, according to comScore. Overall business was off 27 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when The Lego Batman Movie led with $53 million.

Moviegoing will receive another major boost over the Presidents Day weekend with Disney-Marvels Black Panther opening Feb. 16 and forecasted to take in as much as $150 million during the Friday-Monday period. Overall year-to-date domestic business as of Sunday is $1.234 billion, down 1.8 percent from 2017.

This weekend is merely the calm before the proverbial Marvel-powered storm as Black Panther is poised to leap into theaters with potentially record-breaking results, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

Fifty Shades Freed sees Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the conclusion of the events set in motion in 2015s Fifty Shades of Grey and 2017s Fifty Shades Darker. Though the Fifty Shades Freed launch wound up above forecasts, it was not as strong as its predecessors. Fifty Shades of Grey opened with a sensational $85.2 million in 2015, and Fifty Shades Darker opened with $46.6 million on the same weekend last year.

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