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'50 Shades' A Record-Breaking Hit For Comcast

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Some like it, some hate it and more than 100,000 boycotted it, but there’s no arguing one thing about “Fifty Shades of Grey” -- it’s a hit.

The controversial sex-fueled drama may have its critics, but the movie that opened this extended Presidents’ Day (and Valentine’s Day) weekend looks to be a record-breaking box office success for Universal Studios and parent company Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

The Numbers

According to Time, 50 Shades has already drawn more than $81 million at the box office and likely finished the four-day weekend at over $90 million, a Presidents’ Day weekend record.

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While some had bold predictions of a $100 million opening for the movie version of the raunchy best-selling book, Comcast will certainly be pleased with the record-breaking performance.

The movie’s success is no surprise after the performance of the book. EL James’ novel sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, about half of which were sold in America.

Limited Appeal

One possible explanation for “Fifty Shades” failing to top the $100 million mark for the weekend is that 78 percent of Friday night’s audience was female. Without a mass appeal to a male audience, a large portion of the movie’s weekend success hinged upon its performance as a Valentine’s Day date movie.

Free Publicity

The movie has been subject to accusations that it is nothing more than pornography, that it is exploitative of women and even that the story itself is plagiarized.

It's possible the controversy amounted to free publicity for the film.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s (NASDAQ: FOXA) “Kingsman: the Secret Service” also has a strong opening night and was on pace for a $32.5 million Presidents’ Day weekend at last calculation.

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