Forbes - Fresh off the presses, Fifty Shades of Grey has officially passed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office. The Universal/Comcast Corp. film has earned $150m domestic (an impressive feat in-and-of-itself) and has earned $352m overseas for a $502m worldwide as of yesterday. As you of course know, the Dakota Johnson/Jamie Dornan erotic drama opened with a bang worldwide last month with a $93m four-day Fri-Mon domestic debut and a record-breaking (for an R-rated release) $266m global bow. The film has sunk like a stone in America, but it has kept up momentum around the world. To wit, it is only the sixth R-rated film in history to cross the half-billion-dollar mark at the worldwide box office. Its closest rivals are Terminator 2: Judgement Day ($519m, way back in 1991 when that made it the third biggest movie of all time behind Star Wars and E.T.), Ted ($549m), The Hangover part II ($586m), The Passion of the Christ ($611m back in 2004), and The Matrix Reloaded ($742m in 2003).
The film has one major territory yet to open, with its debut in Egypt coming March 11th. The Dakota Johnson film claimed Universal’s third highest-grossing opening ever. Internationally, Fifty Shades of Grey has become Universal’s highest grossing R-rated film ever and their twelfth biggest worldwide box office champion period. Among all films that have crossed $500m worldwide, Fifty Shades is among 21 films to hit that milestone without crossing the $200m domestic milestone, of eleven of which were animated. If it hits $600m (a big “if”), it will be the third R-rated film in history to do so and just the eleventh film to do so sans $200m+ in domestic grosses, joining the most recent member of that club, Chris Nolan’s Interstellar. Among live-action films directed by a woman, it trails only Mama Mia! ($611m).
There has been a lot of talk about how worldwide box office is becoming more important to more films, and this is a prime example. The picture is an R-rated erotic drama, yet its biggest bounties are coming outside of America, at least as a sum total. We all like to look at the $1 billion successes of Transformers: Age of Extinction or Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and exclaim that worldwide box office is killing Hollywood, but this is a somewhat unconventional release, more akin to Life of Pi or Interstellar, that has gone from a rock-solid hit to a worldwide sensation on the strength of markets outside of America. And it is another example of Universal scoring massive profits from lower-budgeted, somewhat unconventional releases beyond the traditional tent pole fare. Fifty Shades of Grey cost just $40 million and it has already made 12x its production budget.
It has outgrossed every 2014 release for the studio, surpassing the $458m worldwide gross of Scarlett Johansson’s R-rated sci-fi actioner Lucy, which itself was an outside-the-box smash hit last summer on a $40m budget. It’s their highest grossing film since Despicable Me 2 way back in July of 2013. Universal is going to have a killer year thanks to strong sequels and franchise plays (Furious 7, Jurassic World, Pitch Perfect 2, etc.), but they are still mixing up the likes of Minions with releases like Trainwreck and Straight Outta Compton. I had plenty of nice things to say about the studio last year, as their tentpole-free 2014 slate led to a string of solid hits and huge profits. They obviously have a lot of would-be blockbusters this year, partially because of films like Furious 7 and Minions that were originally intended for 2104. But I hope they don’t forget the lessons of 2014. As I always say, you make more money on “the first Harry Potter” then on the “next Harry Potter.”
THR - Fifty Shades of Grey has crossed the $500 million mark at the global box office in a sizeable victory for Universal, which spent $40 million on the film adaptation of EL James' steamy, bondage-laced novel.
Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, the female-fueled Fifty Shades has earned $352 million internationally and $150 million domestically for a worldwide total of $502 million. That means 70 percent of its earnings are coming from offshore, in line with Hollywood action tentpoles. James' Fifty Shades trilogy has been translated into 52 languages and sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.
The movie, the No. 1 title of 2015 to date, is Universal's most successful R-rated title overseas, not accounting for inflation.
Generally speaking, the movie has done best in countries where the book was a best-seller, led by the U.K. and Ireland ($46.9 million), Germany ($33.7 million), France ($24.5 million), Brazil ($24.2 million), Italy ($21.2 million), Spain $19.2 million), Russia ($17 million), Australia ($16.1 million), Mexico ($14.6 million), Venezuela ($9.8 million), Poland ($8.6 million) and Argentina ($7.6 million).
But that rule doesn't apply everywhere. Last weekend, Fifty Shades opened to $1.8 million in South Korea, where the book wasn't popular. Conversely, Fifty Shades has done little business in Japan, where the book likewise never caught on.
Fifty Shades has two more territories to open: India, where a date has yet to be set, and Egypt on March 11. The film has been banned in most Middle Eastern countries, as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Universal has yet to announce plans for the next title in the franchise. There's rampant speculation that director Sam Taylor-Johnson won't return to direct after conflict with James.