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'Fifty Shades of Grey' to dominate weekend box office

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Fifty Shades of Grey had Valentine’s Day (and, to a lesser degree, the Presidents Day holiday) on its side when it premiered last weekend, but its impressive numbers are likely to take a steep drop this time around since the oh-my-God-it’s-in-theaters excitement has started to wear off among fans of the book.

It won’t have much to compete with this weekend though: Three movies are opening, but none of them should crack the top three—or, in The Duff’s and McFarland, U.S.A.’s case, the top five. Here’s how it could play out:

1. Fifty Shades of Grey — $34 million

Fifty Shades had an undeniably strong opening weekend: Not only did it gross $93 million over the four-day weekend, but it also scored the biggest February debut ever (beating out Passion of the Christ‘s $83.9 million debut). It likely won’t keep making numbers that big though—the people who really wanted to see the movie already saw it last weekend. The movie might follow in Twilight’s footsteps—another romance film based on a wildly popular book (and the inspiration for E L James’ 50 Shades of Grey)—and drop around 60 percent between its first and second weekends.

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service — $20 million

After a successful first weekend, Kingsman is likely to go head-to-head with SpongeBob. It has positive word-of-mouth and mostly positive critical reviews on its side, so those who were waiting to hear from others how the comic book adaptation is have their chance to see it for themselves this weekend. 

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water — $19 million

Out of the three new offerings this weekend, none are kid-friendly—giving SpongeBob at least another week near the top of the box office. Ticket sales dropped 43 percent between its first and second weekends, so it should drop another 40 percent this weekend leaving it making somewhere around $19 million.

4. American Sniper — $12.3 million

Sniper’s up for multiple Oscars this weekend, including Best Picture—so even though it’s no longer the number one winner at the box office (that reign ended two weeks ago when The SpongeBob Movie opened), its awards season association should give it an extra boost the next few days. 

5. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 — $12 million

The sequel’s predecessor opened with $14 million in March 2010, so this one might follow in its footsteps—but it’s missing something big: John Cusack, who starred in the first one. This time, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke are left to their own devices. While they are all big enough comedians, none have the same widespread appeal as Cusack. But, then again, Hot Tub Time Machine is somewhat of a cult classic at this point, so fans of the original should be lining up for the second. Plus, there’s a definite dearth of comedies in theaters now, something that gives Hot Tub Time Machine 2 an opportunity to fill that hole.

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