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Weekend Box Office: Fifty Shades Freed, Peter Rabbit Lead Modest Weekend

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By Chris Kavan - 02/11/18 at 04:42 PM CT

Even without the Super Bowl attracting eyes, the opening February box office didn't exactly light the world on fire, coming in 32% behind the same weekend last year. Next weekend should alleviate those blues as Black Panther is set for a monster opening. The weekend still had good news - the Fifty Shades franchise crossed $1 billion worldwide and all three new openings topped the box office while Jumanji and The Greatest Showman continued their remarkable runs. The rest of February is going to be much more interesting, but it has to start somewhere.

1) FIFTY SHADES FREED

As with most franchises, Fifty Shades Freed opening of $38.8 million was down compared to the first two films. Fifty Shades Freed opened 16% lower than Fifty Shades Darker ($46 million) and 54% under the original film ($85.1 million). But that is pretty standard for most films of this kind, and it still means Fifty Shades Freed, especially with Valentine's Day coming up, still has a chance to hit the $100 million or so mark. The film earned a nice "B+" average, the same as Darker, but the female audience jumped to 75%, the highest percent yet for the series; 55% of the audience as also under the age of 30. More importantly, the film hit $98.1 million overseas, meaning that officially the Fifty Shades films have hit $1 billion ($1.22 billion to be exact), which is more than excellent for a franchise that has cost just $150 million. Even if I don't see the appeal of these films at all - much like the books it has proven popular enough to make plenty of money and it looks like this third film will be no exception.

2) PETER RABBIT

The animated/live action hybrid opened in second place with a solid $25 million, which is frankly on the high end of most expectations. It helps that the Peter Rabbit trailer played in from of both Jumanji and The Greatest Showman (and Ferdinand) - meaning that families, or better yet, the kids, had a lot of eyeballs on it. While the critics didn't shower it with praise (58% on Rotten Tomatoes), it earned a nice "A-" from audiences. It was made up of 58% female and 63% over 25. With almost all Sony Animation films earning a roughly 3.5x multiplier, $85 million is on the table for the $50 million production. And if earns about the same overseas as other Sony Animation films, it could wind up in the $250 million worldwide range. Better news for Peter Rabbit, even with Black Panther upcoming, is it doesn't face a direct animated threat until Sherlock Gnomes that doesn't arrive until the end of March. Peter Rabbit looks to have a nice little run ahead of it.

3) THE 15:17 TO PARIS

The fhird new wide release of the weekend also rounded out the top three with a $12.6 million opening. That is a bit on the low end for Clint Eastwood and with just a "B-" Cinemascore from audiences (critics were even less impressed), it looks to join the likes of J. Edgar and Invictus as somewhat disappointing entries in his filmography. Eastwood took a chance at casting the action service men who helped stop a terrorist attack rather than professional actors - and that may be the one saving grace of an otherwide unremarkable thriller. We'll see if it can at least hit $40 million, though it's not a given at this point, it all depends on if the adult audience supports this one or continues to drift toward the Oscar-nominated films.

4) JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

The reigning champ once again relinquished its throne, but still showed its might regardless after a minor 10% drop over last weekend. What's more Jumanji's $9.82 million weekend raised its total to $365.6 million - less than $8 million behind Spider-Man 2 ($373 million) which it is now guaranteed to pass to become Sony's second highest-grossing film of all time. It also hit $881.7 million worldwide - topping the $880.4 million of Spider-Man: Homecoming and the $880.7 million of Spectre and it will likely top the $893 million of Spider-Man 3 to also become Sony's second highest-grossing film globally (behind the $1.1 billion of Skyfall). It's currently on track to top the $368 million of Secret Life of Pets and the $389 million of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to become the biggest domestic hit for Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan (it is already the biggest domestic hit for Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black). It is already the biggest worldwide hit for the four main stars, accepting Dwayne Johnson for the Furious 7 and Fate of the Furious. It still has plenty of records to top and shows little sign of slowing down - we'll see how it fares against Black Panther, however.

5) THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Rounding out the top five, The Greatest Showman also dipped a light 16.8%, with a $6.4 million weekend and a new $146.5 million total. Both Jumanji and Greatest Showman have yet to drop over 205 since opening, and neither film has fallen outside the top five, either. It is inching ever closer to Les Miserables ($148 million) and La La Land ($151 million) to become the highest-grossing original live musical of all time. It probably won't be able to top Chicago ($171 million) among all-time musicals, but it is going to be darn close. It has also topped $300 million worldwide and continues to be one of the leggiest films of all time, with really, just Titanic beating it in terms of sheer comparison (number of theaters opened and the like). Much like Jumanji, it just hit the right audience at the right time and is thoroughly impressive.

Outside the top five: Plenty of films are flirting with milestone marks, but only two hit this week. The Oscar nominated I, Tonya crossed the $25 million mark with $1.55 million (15th place) and a new total of $25.22 million. Another Oscar-nominated film, Darkest Hour, crossed $50 million with $1.59 million (14th place) and new $51.4 million total. There should be a lot more to report next weekend, as several films are just a million or so shy of reaching some milestones of their own.

Speaking of next weekend, ahead of early critical reviews and huge social media buzz, Black Panther looks to have a huge opening - we'll see if it's one for the record books. Trying to compete at all seems like a losing proposition, but the animated Early Man and biblical epic Samson are going to try.

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