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'Fifty Shades of Grey' tops the box office

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Chuck Zlotnick

Fifty Shades of Grey spent another weekend on top, but just barely: The film’s gross dropped a steep 72 percent from last weekend’s $85.1 million, bringing its second weekend total to $23.2 million—just about $5 million more than Kingsman: The Secret Service, which came in second place with $17.5 million.

The Fifty Shades drop in sales was predicted, though; the film’s audience was mostly made up of people who read the books and planned to see the movie as soon as it hit theaters. And they did: Fifty Shades‘ scored February’s highest debut ever, grossing $93 million over the four-day weekend. 

Kingsman: The Secret Service dropped by 51 percent but held on to a spot in the top two, partly thanks to positive word-of-mouth surrounding the Matthew Vaughn-directed comic book adaptation. The SpongeBob Movie similarly benefited from word-of-mouth, in this case from families: Although Disney’s PG-rated McFarland, USA opened this weekend, The SpongeBob Movie continues to be the only newish, completely kid-friendly option. (Talking sponges come off as a lot more fun to toddlers than Kevin Costner playing a running coach.)

But just because McFarland, USA wasn’t the number one family-friendly movie doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful: The sports drama debuted with $11.3 million, making it the highest grossing premiere this weekend. Right behind that was The Duff, a teen comedy—a type of film moviegoers haven’t seen in quite a while—starring Mae Whitman, with a better-than-expected $11 million.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey — $23.2 million

2. Kingsman: The Secret Service — $17.5 million

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water — $15.5 million

4. McFarland, USA — $11.3 million

5. The Duff — $11 million 

McFarland, USA and The Duff’s places in the top five came as a bit of surprise, as forecasters predicted Hot Tub Time Machine 2 would be the highest grossing debut this weekend. But Hot Tub Time Machine ended up coming in at No. 7 with $5.8 million—considerably less than the original’s $14 million debut, and just about 40 percent of its $14 million budget.

As for American Sniper, the Clint Eastwood-directed war movie finally found its way out of the box office top five: The movie, up for Best Picture at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, placed at No. 6 with $9.7 million.

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