Performance anxiety was probably inevitable, but in its second weekend the film version of “Fifty Shades of Grey” suffered one of those calamitous dropoffs that all but prove that no one actually enjoyed it. During the four-day Valentine’s Day weekend, the breathlessly hyped BDSM-lite movie raked in $93 million — the fourth highest opening for an R-rated picture. This weekend it made $23.2 million. That’s a 72 percent drop, and while movie sequels remain no-brainers, it also means terrible author E.L. James will feel further emboldened to up her control over the films.
And yet “Fifty Shades” was still the weekend’s top film, in part because there was nothing else to see. Each of the three new wide releases did only so-so or worse. “McFarland USA,” the year’s second movie in which Kevin Costner plays a semi-racist who helps out minorities (after “Black or White”), scooped up only $11.3 million, as did the surprisingly well-received teen movie “The DUFF,” which at least did well for its small-ish budget. And after a week of journalists using the words “the ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ franchise,” the series’ second entry came in at number seven with all of $5.8 million, meaning future John Cusack-less sequels may have to be DTV, if they bother existing at all.
Meanwhile, the English spy romp “Kingsman: The Secret Service” itself fell 50 percent but, like “Fifty,” retained its spot from last week, ranking number two with another $17.5 million. And did you know “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” has made only a third the grosses of “American Sniper”? The spin-off sequel spent its third weekend in the third spot, adding $15.5 million to its $125 million cume, while Clint Eastwood’s controversial war drama made $9.6 million to its staggering $319.6 million total.