Box Office: “Fifty Shades” gets off (hah!) to a $40 million start, “Peter Rabbit” barely hops, Clint’s trip to Paris bombs

box2 Universal previewed “Fifty Shades Freed” in two theaters Wednesday night in Orlando, where I saw it. Two nearly-packed houses, filled with (mostly) older women.

And as with the first two films in this trilogy, they ate it up. Me? Not so much. Other critics? Nope.

But a huge Thursday night opening and big Friday means “Fifty Shades Freed” will clear $40 million on its opening weekend. Epic numbers, even though all the other films opened bigger ($85 million for the first one). Either the audience is getting smarter, dying off or getting their softcore porn somewhere else. It’s a bad movie, even if they kind of seem to get that and have a few laughs about it as they do.

  “Peter Rabbit,” from the same folks who gave you “Hop!,” is doing roughly half the business that limp cartoon managed. The trailers don’t really sell it and reviews have been weak. They didn’t even bother previewing it in many markets ( I see it today, reluctantly).  A $22 million opening suggests audiences are over British kids’ films. “Paddington 2” overwhelmed as well, remember. Maybe Brexit is to blame.

1517  Clint Eastwood’s mawkish and poorly-acted “The 15:17 to Paris” isn’t opening on as many screens, was not previewed for critics in much of the country and is bombing, straight out of the gate. Warners knew what it had on its hands, a very old, impatient director who should have bowed out with “American Sniper.” A $12-13 million opening may mean Clint’s blank check with the studio has been cashed. Terrible reviews, some of the worst of Clint’s career, are not helping. ‘

“The Post” and “The Shape of Water” are the best performing Oscar contenders at this late date. “Shape” is nearing $50. Perhaps Hollywood is noting the staggering run of “The Greatest Showman” and wishing they’d given the always wonderful Hugh Jackman his due. $175 million and counting in ticket sale might actually get people to tune in to the Academy Awards this year.

 

 

 

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