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Fueled by females everywhere, the film adaptation of EL James‘ S&M-laced romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey to is doing massive business around the world, putting in on course for a global debut of $235 million or more.
The Universal title is doing astounding business internationally, as well as domestically. Overseas, Fifty Shades has already earned $66 million since opening Wednesday for a projected foreign debut of $158.3 million — the largest ever for an R-rated film (in some markets, it has an even more restrictive rating than an R), not accounting for inflation.
In North America, the movie is poised to gross $80 million-plus over the long Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend after nabbing $30.2 million on Friday.
To say the film’s global showing is a blockbuster start is an understatement, considering Fifty Shades, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, cost a relatively modest $40 million to make. James’ trilogy is a global phenomenon, and it looks like the movie will follow suit. The Fifty Shades books have been translated into 52 languages and sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
Fifty Shades is breaking numerous records everywhere. Internationally, it poised to deliver Universal its No. 2 opening of all time behind Fast & Furious 6 ($160.3 million). And in 34 markets, it scored the top opening-day of all time for the equivalent of an R-rated title.
The previous best international opening for an R-rated film was The Matrix Revolutions ($117 million).
Thanks to its racy subject matter, Fifty Shades won’t be playing everywhere, of course. Malaysia, a predominately Muslim country, has banned the film, while other Muslim countries aren’t likely to play it either.
And the U.K. gave Fifty Shades an adult-only rating, meaning only those 18 and older will be allowed to buy a ticket. That’s the equivalent of an NC-17 in the U.S., where it received a more friendly R rating. France gave it a very lenient 12 rating, meaning anyone 12 years or older can see it.
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