Box Office: ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ Whips ‘Lego Batman,’ ‘John Wick: Chapter 2′ on Friday – Variety

While “The Lego Batman Movie” is still expected to conquer the weekend, “Fifty Shades Darker” bound up its toy competitor on Friday, along with fellow newcomer “John Wick: Chapter 2.”

Universal’s “Fifty Shades” earned $21.5 million on Friday from 3,710 locations. The film’s strong performance in its first two days should put its three-day total in the $46 million range. James Foley directed “Fifty Shades Darker” based on a script that Niall Leonard adapted from E. L. James’ novel of the same name. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. “Fifty Shades” also opened in 37 international markets on Wednesday and Thursday including Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France and Germany, and will expand to 57 total this weekend. Its early international grosses as of Friday afternoon stood at $22.4 million.

Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment’s “Lego Batman” made $15 million on Friday from 4,088 theaters and should wrangle $54 million by the weekend’s end, below some earlier ambitious projections, but still a strong showing. The animated film features the voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, and Ralph Fiennes. Chris McKay directed the animated adventure written by a five-man team: Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern, and John Whittington.

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Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 2” should wrap up the weekend with a solid third place finish. The action sequel starring Keanu Reeves made $11 million on Friday and is on its way to an opening in the range of $29 million from 3,113 locations.

As with any sequels, this trio will be judged against their original models. In 2015, “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened at No. 1 with $81 million. It went on to earn more than $166 million domestically and about $571 million worldwide. “The Lego Movie” debuted in 2014 at No. 1 with $69 million on its way to becoming a domestic smash hit with $258 million. Its global total topped $469 million. “John Wick” opened in October of 2014 and grossed over $80 million worldwide. It opened at number two in the U.S. with $14 million.

“Split” and “Hidden Figures” are expected to round out the weekend’s top five. The former, from director M. Night Shyamalan, won the box office the past three weekends. The latter, an awards season contender, continues to post solid numbers in its eighth frame.

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