Fifty Shades Freed


The Golden Raspberry Awards ‘celebrate’ the very worst in movies over the last twelve months, and Freed’s prequel Fifty Shades Darker was nominated multiple times.While Dornan and Johnson thankfully didn’t ‘win’ the Worst Actor and Actress categories they were nominated in, the franchise didn’t have a great deal of luck elsewhere.Fifty Shades Darker was named Worst Remake, Ripoff or Sequel; beating Baywatch, Boo 2!, The Mummy and Transformers: The Last Knight.

Kim Basinger was also triumphant in the Worst Supporting Actress category.She was chosen over The Mummy’s Sofia Boutella, Transformers: The Last Knight’s Laura Haddock, Snatched’s Goldie Hawn and Bad Moms Christmas’s Susan Sarandon.

For Worst Picture, though, Darker was off the hook: The Emoji Movie was chosen instead.

And the trilogy has had great news this week too: the ongoing success of Freed worldwide has enabled the trilogy to pass $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office.

Considering the combined budget of all three films was less than $200 million, that’s not too bad at all.That bow helped the trilogy get over $1B worldwide, with the total now upwards of $1.25B. As we’ve noted, that’s a sexy feat given the roughly $150M combined production cost — and that the erotic flicks never see the inside of movie theaters in some key markets due to the content.

Fifty Shades Of Grey finaled at $571M WW/$404.8M overseas. This one’s not getting close to that, but that’s normal for a threequel outside the superhero genre. And, the first movie was a genuine phenomenon that met massive pent-up demand. Fifty Shades Darker did not have the newness factor going for it, and ended its run with $381.1M WW/$266.5M offshore. Freed is looking at $320M global through this weekend, and a likely finish in the $340M arena. One thing all the movies have in common is that they run a pretty even 30%/70% domestic to international split.

In notable play, Ana and Christian have maintained a steely grip on Germany where the lovers stood down Black Panther for No. 1 last weekend and stayed dominant throughout the midweeks this week, grossing another $1M on Friday to top $26M there.

Traditionally, the lead markets for the Fifty Shades series have been a mix of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil. One thing the franchise doesn’t have going for it is the momentum in some emerging Asian markets like Malaysia and Indonesia, which have been throwing off significant numbers of late but where these films are too naughty to play.

At the film’s opening some of the majors saw lower numbers (think the UK and Australia), while growing markets like Argentina and Venezuela picked up slack to score well above the previous films.

Critics give the Fifty crew a hard time, yet audiences who salivated over the books get hot and bothered each time a new movie rolls around. Helping Freed, which beat industry expectations at open, is that it propels and closes a narrative circle. Over the course of the films, the bestseller as a foundation plus the Valentine’s Day timeline added to catchy and seductive marketing material for a demographic that is regularly underserved. And, as with the previous movies, the Freed soundtrack is doing rocking business, having reached No. 1 in 67 counties. Domestically, Fifty Shades played coast and coast and proved it wasn’t just a glossy brand relegated to metropolitan business.

The third and final chapter based on EL James’ bestselling soft-core phenomenon is produced by Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti and Marcus Viscidi, alongside James, with a screenplay by Niall Leonard. LOS ANGELES — In one of the more awkward box office pairings in memory, the rough-sex sequel “Fifty Shades Freed” was No. 1 at North American theaters over the weekend, while the cuddly-cute “Peter Rabbit” did well with children in second place.

“Fifty Shades Freed” (Universal Pictures), which did not delight critics nearly as much as it did pun-enthralled headline writers, arrived to ticket sales of roughly $38.8 million. Based on the third and final book in the “Fifty Shades” series by E.L. James, “Fifty Shades Freed” cost an estimated $55 million to make, not including marketing. It was directed by James Foley (“Glengarry Glen Ross”) and co-stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.

The “Fifty Shades” cultural fever ended a long time ago: Most readers discovered that a little of Ms. James’s writing goes a long way. But ticket sales for the final movie adaptation — marketed by Universal with a baldfaced tagline, “Don’t miss the climax” — were solid, declining only 16 percent from initial results for its series predecessor, “Fifty Shades Darker,” a year ago.“Fifty Shades of Grey” kicked off the trilogy in 2015 with X-rated toy tie-ins and $85 million in opening-weekend ticket sales, an astounding total for an erotic drama, a genre that had long been out of favor at multiplexes. All told, the sadomasochistic series has collected roughly $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, including $98.1 million in international ticket sales over the weekend for “Fifty Shades Freed.”

“Peter Rabbit,” an animated-live action hybrid that cost Sony Pictures about $50 million to make, after accounting for government production incentives, took in $25 million in the United States and Canada, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. Directed by Will Gluck (“Easy A”), the PG-rated “Peter Rabbit” features vocal performances by James Corden (Peter) and Margot Robbie (Flopsy).

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Hollywood did not expect “Peter Rabbit” to register much interest. But a newly rejuvenated Sony picked a savvy release date — there are few family films in the market — and backed the film with a marketing campaign that made the 116-year-old Beatrix Potter character feel contemporary and even a smidgen cool, at least to the primary-school set.

Clint Eastwood had a tougher weekend with “The 15:17 to Paris.” A reconstruction of the 2015 effort by Ayoub el Khazzani to kill passengers on board a European train — thwarted by vacationing American servicemen — “The 15:17 to Paris” collected about $12.6 million, Mr. Eastwood’s lowest wide-release opening result since “J. Edgar” in 2011.

Poor reviews and the absence of marketable stars (the servicemen starred as themselves) likely hurt the film, which cost Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow a modest $30 million to make. About 60 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 50, Warner said.The Fifty Shades franchise has made big bank this box office, despite often being critically dismissed as a series of unsexy, moronic and overwrought “chick flicks.” This assessment is not wholly inaccurate, but it is unproductively harsh. I confess that I still think E.L. James’ prose in Fifty Shades of Grey is rather amateurish. Still, the courtship of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a kind of sadomasochistic Henry Higgins, by Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), his Pollyanna-ish Eliza Doolittle, was originally conceived as Twilight fan fiction. So I tend to think James’ editors deserve some blame for its original, uh, roughness.

Still, my larger point being: Just how seriously should we take the Fifty Shades films? These movies are unusual in that they are, like the Twilight films before them, so popular that they’ve become the new business model. The Fifty Shades films are also, despite often defined by erotic thriller tropes and cliches, uncommon because of their preoccupation with female sexuality. It would accordingly be too easy to outright dismiss Fifty Shades Freed because of its creators’ imaginative and technical shortcomings.

I read two compelling articles about Fifty Shades Freed before seeing it for myself. Both informed the way I saw — and struggled with my enjoyment — of the film. The first one can be found at Fandor, and it’s by Justine Peres-Smith. She writes, “[Fifty Shades of Grey] represents the first steps toward the future of what femme-friendly erotic cinema can be,” adding that the first adaptation “is the only [R-rated] film in the [box-office opening weekend] top 10 that is explicitly about sex, and the only one with a female lead. Based on a wildly successful book series of the same name, it is the most successful erotic franchise in film history.”

I was compelled by what Peres-Smith identified as a female-gaze-centric appeal. “The movies feature soft-core sex and nudity, which is often edited to a steamy pop hit. But what sets these scenes apart from other films that dramatize sex is that while they increasingly focus on Grey’s desire to ‘dominate,’ they also focus on Ana’s pleasure, not as a reward for male desire, but as a central theme of the film.”

Time’s Stephanie Zacharek goes further: “Movie nudity is so rare today that it makes what Dakota Johnson does, in all three Fifty Shades movies, that much more remarkable. She takes Anastasia seriously while retaining a sense of humor about herself. In a scene where Grey’s tongue follows the length of Anastasia’s leg, from ankle to wherever, Anastasia gives in to the moment, her neck arched in glorious silhouette. Johnson has a sense of Anastasia not just as part of a pristinely arranged tableau but also as a sensualist, with all the attendant nerve endings and complex emotions that that implies.”