Fifty Shades of Grey movie breaks UK records after scoring biggest 18-rated opening ever

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson proved a big box office pull this weekend

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The Independent Culture

Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from domination in the bedroom to whipping up a frenzy at the box office after breaking the UK record for the biggest opening of an 18-rated film.

The movie adaptation of EL James’ bestselling erotic novel took a massive £4.6 million on Friday night, with cinema-goers flocking to see Jamie Dornan play BDSM-loving billionaire Christian Grey alongside co-star Dakota Johnson.

Sam Taylor Johnson’s film was equally popular state-side, scoring the highest-grossing Presidents Day Weekend opener in history with $81.7 million and becoming one of the biggest R-rated debuts of all-time.


The film was named the second-highest US February debut since 2004’s The Passion of the Christ, while also breaking the record for the biggest North American opener by a female director ever.

Fifty Shades is also on top internationally, earning an estimated $158 million overseas to bring its total to $239.7 million, Universal Pictures has said. That figure makes it the studio’s second biggest overseas opening, behind Fast and Furious 6’s £160.3 million debut, and the highest international R-rated opening ever.

“These are summer-style blockbuster numbers in February,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “It had that whole sex thing going for it, it was edgy and it started a conversation.

“It went beyond being a girls’ night out movie and became a date night movie.”

Elsewhere, Colin Firth’s new spy adventure Kingsman: The Secret Service also performed well, as did children’s favourite The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (see above chart).