"Fifty Shades of Grey," the widely anticipated adaptation of the best-selling novel about a kinky relationship between a businessman and a college student, took in $81.7 million in ticket sales to soar to the top of U.S. and Canadian weekend box office charts.
The film, which stars James Dornan and Dakota Johnson as the libidinous couple, far outpaced the No. 2 release, "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which took in $35.6 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.
Third place on the U.S. Presidents' Day holiday weekend went to the family-friendly "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," based on the popular television show about a talking animated sponge, which sold $30.5 million in tickets at U.S. and Canadian theaters.
"Fifty Shades" got a boost from a Valentine's Day opening after it was released earlier in the week in 57 foreign markets. It took in an additional $158 million overseas, for a global total of $240 million.