With Fifty Shades Freed, the Franchise Crosses $1 Billion

Sony’s launch of family comedy

Sony’s launch of family comedy"Peter Rabbit wound up with a better-than-expected $25 million

The final installment of Universal's erotic trilogy based on the books of E.L. James is on track to debut with about $38.8 million from 3,768 theaters in the USA and Canada this weekend, outpacing fellow newcomers Peter Rabbit and 15:17 to Paris while unseating Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

If you're curious about the breakdown, the Germans REALLY loved Fifty Shades ($10.8 million), followed by the United Kingdom/Ireland, France, and Italy rounding out the top five biggest draws, all behind the United States and North America.

"It's very satisfying to see a trilogy designed primarily for an adult female audience be able to broaden out literally into a billion dollar franchise", said Jim Orr, the studio's distribution chief. In a pattern set by recent trilogies including "The Maze Runner" and "Pitch Perfect", "Fifty Shades Freed" opened lower than its predecessor though Universal anticipates that the film will continue to play strongly throughout the week, particularly on Valentine's Day this Wednesday.

The only other R-rated franchise's to total over US$1 billion internationally are The Matrix, Resident Evil, The Conjuring, The Hangover, Alien (not counting the PG-13 Alien vs Predator), Die Hard (not counting the PG-13 Die Hard 4.0) and The Terminator (just counting the first three R-rated films). Will Gluck directed the movie, which has garnered mixed reviews but a respectable A-minus CinemaScore.

A reconstruction of the 2015 effort by Ayoub el Khazzani to kill passengers aboard a European train - thwarted by vacationing U.S. servicemen - "The 15:17 to Paris" collected about $12.6 million, Eastwood's lowest wide-release opening result since "J".

Clint Eastwood had a tougher weekend with "The 15:17 to Paris". It added $9.8 million to its haul, bringing its cumulative total to $365.7 million.

"Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle", last weekend's victor, slips to #4. Internationally, it added a further $98.1 million from worldwide markets.

Next week, Disney opens the highly anticipated "Black Panther", Lionsgate debuts the animated "Early Man" and Pure Flix premieres the drama "Samson".

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