“Fifty Shades Freed” Makes $38M+ in Its Opening Weekend

'Fifty Shades Freed' (CW Theaters)

‘Fifty Shades Freed’ (CW Theaters)

“Fifty Shades Freed,” the third and last entry in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, hit theaters this past weekend. The movie took in $38.8M+ in the US for its opening weekend. It played in 3,678 theaters, averaging $10,549.21 per theater.

This opening weekend actually decreased from previous entries in the trilogy. The opening weekend of “Fifty Shades of Grey” performed 54% better, and “Fifty Shades Darker” performed 16% better than the current movie.

The gender split for this movie was a little different than the previous two films: Women comprised 75% of the audience, making it the highest ratio of male-to-female audience members for the trilogy.

Overseas, the movie made $98.1M. The movie made the highest opening day of the year in the UK, Spain and Mexico. It’s interesting to note that both of the previous films made 70% of their revenue off overseas audiences, so we’ll see if the same pattern repeats. “Fifty Shades Freed” opened in 57 overseas markets, and was #1 in 54 of those markets.

Worldwide, the entire franchise has grossed over $1.085B.

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Jordan Peele Is the First African-American to Receive The Trifecta Oscar Nominations

Jordan Peele (The Hollywood Reporter)

Jordan Peele (The Hollywood Reporter)

Jordan Peele just had the best day ever.

Oscar nominations hit yesterday, and the nominations for Peele’s movie “Get Out” put him in rarefied territory. “Get Out” received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for Peele.

These honors make Peele the third filmmaker to get the trifecta of honors as a first-time director. (Yes, hard to believe, but “Get Out” was his first feature!) Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks preceded Peele in this trifecta with their respective features “Heaven Can Wait” and “Terms of Endearment.” Not only that, but Peele is the first African-American to achieve this!

Congrats Jordan! I can’t wait to see what comes next for you! Crossing my fingers that you’ll win all Oscars!!

“Black Panther” Sets Fandango Record for Marvel Pre-Sales

Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther' (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Chadwick Boseman in ‘Black Panther’ (Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki)

Seriously, who *isn’t* eagerly awaiting “Black Panther” to drop?! If you know anyone that’s not, tell them to get right!!

The latest proof comes from ticket website Fandango, which opened ticket sales to the latest entry to Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) a week ago. Twenty-four hours later, “Black Panther” had set a new record for advance ticket pre-sales for a Marvel movie. Sadly, no numbers were given to back up this claim (because you know I’d love to see them!).

The film is clearly benefitting from broader awareness: Sales began after a national TV spot aired during the College Football Playoff National Championship. A recent Fandango survey of 8K moviegoers revealed that “Black Panther” is the second-most anticipated film of the year. It ranks below another MCU entry “Avengers: Infinity War.” Many of the “Black Panther” characters will appear in “Infinity War.” Titular star Chadwick Boseman was also voted the “most anticipated comic book hero in a standalone movie.”

This pre-sale record may or may not indicate how well “Black Panther” will do when it opens next month. According to entertainment industry trade “Deadline,” estimates not affiliated with the movie are predicting an opening weekend take of $80-85M, and maybe scaling up to $100M. But then “Captain America: Civil War” (the previous Fandango pre-sales record holder for the MCU) made $179M in its opening weekend, and went out to gross $1.15B (!) around the world.

“Black Panther” opens on Feb. 16, 2018, and stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, and Angela Bassett.

Trends: All-Female Reboots

"Ghostbusters," 2016 (Geek.com)

“Ghostbusters,” 2016 (Geek.com)

The 2011 movie “Bridesmaids” was very funny, no doubt about that. The film, which starred a cadre of funny women led by Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, centered on the escapades of the titular group as they helped their friend (played by Rudolph) on the way to getting hitched. The movie was well-liked by audiences, and that showed in the revenue. At the end of the year, “Bridesmaids” ranked #14 at the domestic box office with $169M+ in revenue, and #20 in the worldwide box office with $289M+ in revenue.

But it also had an effect on movies that we’re still feeling: “Bridesmaids” convinced studios that audiences (both women and men, shocker) would see a movie with an all-woman cast. Well…duh. And now studios have sat up and taken notice.

The waves from “Bridesmaids” have hit an interesting formula: to remake a beloved movie with an all-female cast. The rationale goes that if the men liked the original, then the women will love the remake! (And there’s the assumption that the men will be dragged to the movie from their ladies, but it’s OK because it’s a nostalgic property.)

One high-profile all-female remake has already come out: this year’s “Ghostbusters.” The reboot has Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones investigate paranormal happenings in New York. The movie has a strong “Saturday Night Live” heritage: In addition to Wiig, McKinnon and Jones logging time on the show, the movie also featured current cast member Cecily Strong in a notable part. “Ghostbusters” debuted at #2 on opening weekend, and as thus far grossed $124M+ domestically and $208M+ worldwide.

Another all-female project announced recently was a reboot of the 2001 heist movie “Ocean’s 11” (which itself is a remake of the 1960 movie of the same name). Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, and Nora Lum (better known by her rap name Awkwafina) will make up the ensemble. No release date yet, but I know I’ll be seeing it in the theatre because I vote with my dollars.

It’s great to see so many movies getting made with all-female ensembles, but I can’t wait to get to the point where it’s not noteworthy anymore, but unremarkable and accepted.

 

 

Channing Dungey is the First Black Woman to Run ABC

Channing Dungey and ABC logo (Variety)

Channing Dungey and ABC logo (Variety)

Big news on the entertainment/broadcast networks front: Channing Dungey was named President of ABC Entertainment last week. She’s the first Black woman to run a broadcast network’s entertainment division.

Dungey replaces outgoing president Paul Lee.

Before her new role, Dungey ran development of ABC’s shows. She’s worked with the “Thank God It’s Thursday” (TGIT)-block of “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” earning her nickname of “the Shonda Rhimes whisperer.”

I’m eager to see how ABC’s programming will change as a result of Dungey’s promotion. Based on her glowing history with show runners, it sounds like viewers are in for a treat.

 

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Morning After: Opening Weekend Box Office

'Fifty Shades of Grey' still (Nova FM)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ still (Nova FM)

Last week, we examined different aspects of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in preparation for the then-upcoming movie. 

Who saw “Fifty Shades of Grey” this weekend? I did, twice (and I own my choices).

The collective ticket-buying (and swooning over Jamie Dornan) is estimated to make $81M+ its three-day opening weekend (comprising Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The movie opened at 3.6K+ theaters (“the widest release to date for an R-rated film,” as “The Hollywood Reporter” notes), and is projected to make $90M+ over the four-day holiday weekend (which includes Monday). If it hits this number, “Fifty Shades of Grey” will hold the honor of having the biggest President’s Day opening weekend in history.

Internationally, the movie has opened to #1 in 56 markets to nab $158M+, doing very well in Europe and Latin America. “Deadline Hollywood” reports that five countries have yet to release it, including Korea and the United Arab Emirates, through Mar. 5. China will release the movie next weekend. So far, the global total numbers $248M+.

Needless to say, “Fifty Shades” is doing gangbusters business. It’s safe to say the movie will turn a profit: it was only made for $40M.

The movie has also hit another milestone: it’s the biggest opening for a female director. Catherine Hardwicke previously held this record for directing the first “Twilight” film, released in November 2008. (Incidentally, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy started out as “Twilight” fan fiction.) That movie took in $69M+ its first weekend.

It’s unclear whether director Sam Taylor-Johnson would try to repeat that feat with the next two movies in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. So far, there have not been any discussions of her returning, as she only signed a deal to make one movie.

Hopefully, this stunning showing will open the door for more female-led erotic films, both in front of and behind the camera.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Advance Tickets Selling Out the South

'Fifty Shades of Grey' still (Express UK)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ still (Express UK)

Happy Friday! Next week at this time, some of you might be going to see the hotly anticipated “Fifty Shades of Grey” (either willingly or not). Hope you got your tickets early, because it already became the fastest-selling R-rated movie in Fandango’s history.

According to “Deadline Hollywood,” the movie is tracking to open around $60M over four days. Fandango’s data shows that a lot of the advance sales are coming from the South. Says Anthony D’Alessandro:

It’s a remarkable feat for a risque hard-R film in this region, as exhibitors in this area of the country have refused to book NC-17 films.

The top five states for advance sales are all in the South: Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky and Alabama. Fandango also crunched the numbers on how much more than expected each state was selling advance tickets. Mississippi led the way at 3.9 times the expected rate, with Arkansas (2.8x) and West Virginia (2.7x) following closely behind. Southern states take up eight of the top 10 states outselling presale estimations.

In terms of Southern cities, Tupelo, MS, Florence, KY and Chattanooga, TN have already sold out.