There’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film franchise, with trailers and commercials for the second movie in the series — “Fifty Shades Darker” — dominating the airwaves of late.
But when it came to the incredibly edgy film’s opening weekend, it appears the sex-fuelled drama couldn’t hold up to a surprising contender at the box office: “The Lego Batman Movie.” Yes, you read that correctly.
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While “Fifty Shades Darker” brought in $46.8 billion — just over half of the $85.2 million the first film garnered during its U.S. box-office launch — the popular kids film about Legos and Batman brought in $55.6 million, Variety reported.
In fairness, “The Lego Batman Movie” also garnered 20 percent less than its 2014 predecessor, “The Lego Movie.” Still, the drop for “Fifty Shades” was much steeper at 45 percent, according to The New York Times.
It’s a fascinating scenario, proving that family friendly entertainment can truly bring in money for Hollywood studios.
But Universal, which released “Fifty Shades,” doesn’t seem too worried, as the company expects “Fifty Shades Darker” to pick up steam over the President’s Day holiday next weekend, with Nick Carpou, domestic distribution chief for Universal, saying he thinks the sequel will have a longer life that its predecessor, according to Variety.
“The interest in it will spread out more,” Carpou said. “With next weekend being a holiday, it gives us a chance to have repeat business.”
Still, it’s hard to look past the fact that the much-publicized film was beaten at the box office by a kids flick — something that should actually offer up some solace to the faithful and those concerned about the values espoused and distributed by Hollywood.
Critics — particularly Christians — have long voiced concern over the “Fifty Shades of Grey” franchise, which is based on sex-themed books by author E. L. James. Some pastors have used the popularity of the films to try and send a message about biblical sexuality, addressing worries about the potential impact these sorts of movies have on the public.
Either way, it seems “Fifty Shades Darker” didn’t quite top the charts in its opening weekend. We’ll have to see what next week holds for both movies.
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