Fifty Shades Darker Dominates LEGO Batman and John Wick 2 in Thursday Box Office

In Thursday night previews, even the combined might of Batman and John Wick, two world-renowned butt-kickers, couldn't stand up to Christian Grey's whips and chains. Fifty Shades Darker took it to the Thursday night box office, defeating the combined totals of The LEGO Batman Movie and John Wick: Chapter 2.

Darker finished Thursday night with $5.8 million, a strong showing for February, but almost 3 million less than the first film in the series on the same weekend two years ago. It seems some of the steam has been lost from the book trilogy's engine - a single digit rating on review composite RottenTomatoes - yes, it's at 8% on release - probably doesn't help things, either.

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(Photo: ComicBook.com)

The R-rated action flick John Wick: Chapter 2 pulled in $2.2 million, a significant growth of about 250% over the first film's preview night of $870,000. The buzz around the first film, and its instant cult classic status, certainly helped the growth there. It had about 1300 less theaters than Fifty Shades or LEGO Batman, as well, so this is actally a significant win for John Wick, which should finish with around $30 million this weekend.

As for The LEGO Batman Movie, it also hit $2.2 million in Thursday night previews, albeit with 1,000 more screens than John Wick. Preview nights for family films, and animated films, are traditionally lower, so this is a solid start. Zootopia had only $1.7 million on Thursday night, and went on to a $75 million opening and finished with the fourth-highest worldwide gross of 2016, pulling in over a billion dollars, so the outlook is very good indeed. The first LEGO Movie had a $400,000 Thursday and a $69 million opening, and that was on a largely untested property.

For the weekend, LEGO Batman should win with relative ease, expanding its Thursday night opening of 3400 theaters to 4,088 today, a certified fresh of mid-90 percentile. Warner Bros. is anticipating only a $60 million opening, but a $75-80 million opening is projected by industry watcher BoxOfficeMojo. Fifty Shades Darker should take second with around $40 million, and John Wick: Chapter 2 in third, again with something either just shy or just over $30 million.

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