Fifty Shades of Grey was one of the highest grossing films of 2015. The sequel is now getting ready to bow in theaters and they're certainly aiming to take the box office by storm once again. However, it's looking like the franchise may have faded over the last couple of years. Box office analysts are predicting that Fifty Shades Darker may only gross half of what it did on opening weekend two years ago.
Analysts are predicting a $35 million to $40 million opening for Fifty Shades Darker, which is much less than the $85 million opening the first film received in North America. The reasons for the drop may have little to do with the film itself, and more to do with advantages the first film happened to receive which the sequel will not. Fifty Shades of Grey opened over the Valentine's Day weekend, and Valentine's Day itself fell on a Saturday. as such, a movie like Fifty Shades may have seen more business than it otherwise would have. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, the $85 million that the first film brought in was actually well above expectations at the time. This year, the romantic holiday falls on a Tuesday, so the sequel will draw fewer couples looking for a steamy weekend. It could be that this will just correct the inflation of the first film and bring in a box office number that's more in line with what was expected.
To be fair, $40 million will still be a significant win for the movie. It didn't cost more than $55 million to make so an opening like that would seemingly guarantee a profitable project. There's also a belief by some that that Fifty Shades Darker opening slower could lead to it being in theaters longer, which could result in the film still doing as well as its predecessor overall.
There are two other major releases hitting theaters on February 10 alongside Fifty Shades Darker. While both have the possibility to be very popular films as well, the three couldn't be more different. The LEGO Batman Movie and John Wick Chapter 2 will be competing with Darker at the box office. It will likely be an interesting weekend at the movies as it's unlikely any of these movies will actively take business away from any other. While there may be theatergoers who want to see more than one of them, they're also about as different as three films can get.
There's at least one more of the Fifty Shades films planned to be based on the third book in the series. As long as Fifty Shades Darker does reasonably well, it shouldn't have any major impact on that plan. We'll find out when the film debuts next month.