by: Madelyn Glymour | Contributor
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who really want to see Fifty Shades of Grey and those who really don’t want to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Some projections have put Fifty Shades‘ opening weekend just under $90 million — an astounding number, when you consider that its interest is tracking well below the average, not just overall, but in each major age/gender demographic. Even women over 25, generally considered the prime target for this film, don’t seem, as a whole, all that interested in seeing it.
But you can’t deny there’s buzz. Fifty Shades has over 8 million Facebook likes; has been tweeted about over 300,000 times in the past week; is the fastest-selling R-rated movie and the fourth-highest of all time in Fandango presales. What we’re seeing is a disparity between total interest (which is low) and extreme commitment (which is very high). In other words: People are less likely to want to see the movie, but of those who do want to see it, there’s no force on Earth that could drag them away from the theaters this weekend. It’s this hardened core of dedicated fans who are driving presales and Facebook likes; as for the tweets, those are coming from both ardent fans and ardent haters, of whom Fifty Shades also has a disproportionate amount.
As in any election, the outcome is up to the undecideds. In this case, that means people who might not see the movie on their own, but might be convinced by friends or significant others. If the tracking numbers are right, young women are going to have a hard time dragging their boyfriends to the theater this weekend. Older women, on the other hand (who are slightly more likely to see the movie to begin with) might have better luck convincing their husbands.
All of this makes Fifty Shades‘ performance incredibly difficult to predict. It seems clear that it will win the weekend — perhaps even by a record-breaking amount. But with projections ranging from $60 million to $90 million, an exact number is hard to pin down.
|Opening Weekend||Current Gross||Facebook Likes||Tweets|
|FIFTY SHADES OF GREY||N/A||N/A||8,501,565||334,168|
|THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER||$55.365 million||$61.605 million||712,619||105,861|
|KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE||N/A||N/A||182,741||48,541|
|AMERICAN SNIPER||$89.269 million||$286.221 million||1,539,260||233,744|
|JUPITER ASCENDING||$18.372 million||$22.218 million||267,832||133,214|
As for the rest of the movies, Fifty Shades‘ only new competitor this week is Kingsman: The Secret Service. Kingsman is kind of an inverse of Fifty Shades; it is great interest levels, but relatively low awareness. Nevertheless, it seems like the movie of choice for people who want to go to the theater but don’t want to see Fifty Shades. (I can’t imagine there will be very many conversations this weekend that start out, “What should we see? Fifty Shades of Grey or Kingsman: The Secret Service? I’m up for either.”) And Kingsman‘s awareness isn’t bad, it’s just not at Fifty Shades levels. A $30-$35 million opening seems about right.
The Spongebob Movie is in its second week, but it’s the only remotely kid-friendly movie on the table, and America’s parents are dealing with a long weekend off from school. It should retain audience. American Sniper is entering its 8 millionth week in theaters (okay, just its eighth, but who’s counting?), and Super Bowl weekend excepted, it’s been preserving a lot of its audience due to Oscar buzz and an iron control of the national conversation. But the thinkpieces have moved on to Fifty Shades, now, and two months is a long time to spend in theaters, so we should start seeing drops now; I’m predicting a 30 percent loss this week, leaving it with $16 million for the weekend. Finally, last week’s #3 movie, Jupiter Ascending, should eek out a fifth-place finish, due largely to its lack of competitors for the spot.
|Critics||Users||# of Ratings||Stars||# of Ratings|
|FIFTY SHADES OF GREY||33||N/A||34,980||3.2||9,996||46|
|THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER||75||68||22,412||7.0||3,524||63|
|KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE||73||N/A||55,405||8.2||12,487||59|
(Sources: boxoffice.com, rottentomatoes.com, imdb.com, metacritic.com. Starred figures are estimates. Tweets represent figures for this week only. Figures represent numbers at time of writing, and may have changed. Tracking Board does not report Rotten Tomatoes user ratings for movies that have not yet seen wide release.)