Box Office: 'Fifty Shades' Falling More Than 70 Percent; 'The DUFF' Overperforming

Fifty Shades of Grey Still 1 - H 2015
Courtesy of Universal

Fifty Shades of Grey Still 1 - H 2015

The weekend's big disappointment is 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' which is losing to fellow new entries 'The DUFF' and inspirational sports drama 'McFarland, USA.'

Universal's Fifty Shades of Grey will easily stay at No. 1 in its second weekend despite a steep decline of more than 70 percent, not unusual for a fan-fueled property.

Fifty Shades grossed $7.8 million Friday for a projected $24.3 million weekend, pushing its domestic total to $131.2 million by the end of Oscar weekend.

The movie's falloff is predictable, considering its record-breaking $85 million debut over Valentine's Day and Presidents Day weekend. (The Fault in Our Stars, another female-fueled property, likewise tumbled 70 percent in its second weekend.)

Fifty Shades, along with holdovers Kingsman: The Secret Service and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, are all fending off a trio of new offerings at the domestic box office — Hot Tub Time Machine 2, teen comedy The DUFF and the inspirational sports drama McFarland, USA, starring Kevin Costner. Generally speaking, moviegoing will see a big dip on Sunday because of the Academy Award ceremony.

Fifty Shades, based on EL James' S&M-laced romance novel, is nothing short of a box-office dominatrix. On Wednesday, the film — costing a relatively modest $40 million to make — raced past the $300 million mark globally after clocking in at $102.7 million domestically and $209 million internationally for total ticket sales of $311.7 million.

Universal has yet to announce specific plans for the next Fifty Shades movie — James wrote three books — including whether Sam Taylor-Johnson will return to direct. Stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson both have options.

Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman will stay at No. 2 in its second weekend, falling only 50 percent to an estimated $18 million for a domestic total of $67.6 million through Sunday. The Fox movie earned $5.3 million Friday.

Paramount's SpongeBob, now in its third weekend, will claim the No. 3 spot with an estimated $16 million to $17 million for a domestic total of more than $126 million by Sunday.

The big surprise of the weekend is CBS Films and Lionsgate's teen comedy The DUFF, which is on course to beat both Hot Tub Time Machine and McFarland with an estimated $11.5 million after earning $4.3 million Friday, as well as an A- CinemaScore.

Targeting girls, The DUFF is the first CBS Films title to be released by Lionsgate per their new partnership. Mae Whitman (Parenthood) stars as Bianca, who makes herself over after learning she's the "designated ugly fat friend" of two girls who are more popular. The ensemble cast also includes Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Bianca A. Santos and Skyler Samuels.

McFarland, an inspirational sports pic going after families, is tipped to gross in the $10.5 million-$11 million range after earning $3.6 million Friday (it could end up beating The Duff). The movie, nabbing an A CinemaScore, stars Costner as Jim White, the real-life coach who teamed with underdog kids to build a championship cross-country team at McFarland High School, a predominately Hispanic school in McFarland, Calif.

The Disney film, with a $25 million production budget, was originally supposed to open in November. Directed by Niki Caro, McFarland also stars Carlos Pratts, Valente Rodriguez, Maria Bello and Morgan Saylor.

From Paramount and MGM, Hot Tub Time Machine is the weekend's big disappointment. It was expected to earn in the mid-teens, but may not hit $7 million, putting it at No. 7 after virtually flunking with a C- CinemaScore. The good news is that the male-fueled pic cost a modest $14 million to make.

Director Steve Pink's Hot Tub sequel, opening nearly five years after the first film debuted to $14 million, returns most of the original cast, including Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clarke Duke and Chevy Chase, though no John Cusack. Adam Scott appears as a new castmember. This time out, the crew inadvertently land in the future.

At the specialty box office, Sony Pictures Classics opens the Oscar-nominated Wild Tales in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The dark comedy, from Argentina, is nominated for best foreign-language film.