'Fifty Shades Freed' commands $38.8 million to top box office

Fifty Shades of Grey lead pair Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson bagged the worst actor awards

Fifty Shades of Grey lead pair Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson bagged the worst actor awards

A screengrab from "Fifty Shades Freed" that stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 - Universal's Fifty Shades Freed, the last chapter in the erotic romance trilogy that has enjoyed huge popularity among mostly female audiences, vaulted to the top of North American box offices with an impressive weekend opening estimated at US$38.8 million (RM153.5 million).

The box office is down 27% from the same weekend past year, which saw the launch of The Lego Batman Movie, Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter 2, each of which opened with more $30 million.

Fifty Shades of Grey opened to a shocking $85.2 million in 2015, and the sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, brought home a little more than half that with $46.6 million in its first weekend past year.

The slightly more family-friendly Peter Rabbit, which mixes live actors with computer-generated animation, raked in US$25 million, far exceeding Sony's projections.

What'd U go see in theaters this weekend??

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Hollywood did not expect "Peter Rabbit" to register much interest.

And Clint Eastwood's terrorism movie The 15:17 to Paris got disgusting reviews by critics, taking in just $12.6 million on the weekend. A reconstruction of the 2015 effort by Ayoub el Khazzani to kill passengers aboard a European train - thwarted by vacationing United States servicemen - "The 15:17 to Paris" collected about $12.6 million, Eastwood's lowest wide-release opening result since "J". About 60 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 50. Overall business was off 27% from the same weekend a year ago, when The Lego Batman Movie led with $53 million.

Two films that just won't quit rounded out the top five: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle fell to fourth place with $9.8 million and The Greatest Showman took fifth with $6.4 million.

"This weekend is merely the calm before the proverbial Marvel-powered storm as Black Panther is poised to leap into theatres with potentially record-breaking results", said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. But it's all just setting the stage for Black Panther, which opens next week.

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