2nd UPDATE, 6:01 PM: Christian Grey isn’t as big as many expected, but he’s large enough: Universal’s Fifty Shades Darker per early evening estimates looks to rake in between $10M-$10.8M on Valentine’s Day, a midweek holiday haul that still fills rival distribution chiefs with envy. That figure is close to a 170% spike over yesterday’s $3.9M and reps 23% of Fifty Shades Darker‘s $46.6M first weekend on the high end. Total cume by end of today for the sequel will reside at $60M-plus.
In addition, last weekend’s other wide entries aren’t being overlooked today: Warner Bros’ The Lego Batman Movie is expected to ring up an estimated $5M-$5.5M taking its five-day cume to $61.2M at the high end, while Lionsgate/Summit’s John Wick: Chapter 2 is gunning for $4M-$4.5M for a running cume by EOD of $37.6M.
Lego Batman may have come apart today in the face of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, but he’ll build himself back up again as he’s looking at a second weekend of $31M, -42%. B.O. prognosticators think Fifty Shades Darker will take a tumble like its 2015 predecessor Fifty Shades of Grey, -65% in its second weekend for $16.3M (Shades fell 74% for $22.2M) — but then again, there’s some great word-of-mouth around this titillating sequel.
1st UPDATE, 7:57AM: Universal’s Fifty Shades Darker refused to submit to No. 2 yesterday, earning an estimated $3.9 million, which is $400K higher than what the industry was expecting. Current cume for the sequel stands at $50.6M.
However, on Valentine’s Day today, the James Foley-directed movie is projected to post orgasmic sales with many seeing $12M-plus.
A double-digit take for the E.L. James sequel is completely within reach: The last time Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday was in 2012, and that saw another female-skewing title, The Vow, embracing $11.6M. That daily take repped 28% of the pic’s then-$41M opening weekend. Another reason why many expect a big day for Fifty Shades Darker is that a bulk of its advance tickets sales (which have been outpacing The Lego Batman Movie by 2-to-1) are for today.
Two years ago, the lovers’ holiday fell on a Saturday, and goosed Fifty Shades Of Grey‘s second-day take by 21% versus Friday with $36.8M. That’s unprecedented considering that female-skewing pics are typically frontloaded. The first installment also pulled in more couples on Valentine’s Day, while opening day was largely comprised of women.
It comes as no surprise to see decent business for Fifty Shades Darker during the weekdays: It’s an older adult-skewing title (Screen Engine/ComScore’s PostTrak reports 77% females, 70% over 25), and that crowd also prefers to dodge weekend crowds at the multiplex. Over the weekend, PostTrak observed that packs of women turned out in bulk over couples: 50% went with friends, while 36% brought a date.
Women, of course, love this movie more than men: On CinemaScore, the ladies gaveFifty Shades Darker an A-, while men slapped it with a B-. Ditto on PostTrak: Women gave Christian Grey an 82% positive to guys’ 66%.
RelishMix reports that hashtags for #FiftyShades, #FiftyShadeDarker along with #FiftyShadesOfGrey surged to a very strong 23.7K-plus per day over the weekend. That outstripped #LegoBatman at 3.9K per day. Daily Facebook page likes are immense at 81K. And, the daily video views on YouTube – driven by Taylor Swift/Zayn’s hit, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” are averaging 645K and peaking at over 3M views per day. Also, Darker’s video viral rate is 21:1 which is on par with what most superhero movie trailers generate. The sequel’s social star is pop singer Rita Ora who counts 22.7M followers across FB, Twitter and Instagram. In regards to the social conversation, Relish Mix says “fans are beaming about how Darker surpassed their expectations having seen the movie with their husbands and boyfriends in many cases. They’re also committing to see version three in the franchise. Many are calling out specific shots, loving the apartment as well as moments in the book that they wanted in the film.”