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JAMIE DORNAN and DAKOTA JOHNSON return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in "Fifty Shades Freed," the climactic chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon. Bringing to a shocking conclusion events set in motion in 2015 and 2017’s blockbuster films that grossed almost $950 million globally, the film arrives for Valentine’s Day 2018.&nbsp;(Universal Pictures)

Weekend box office: 'Fifty Shades Freed' dominates as 'Black Panther' looms

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By RYAN PAINTER, KUTV

Weekend box office: Feb. 9-11, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - This week saw three films debut in wide release: “Fifty Shades Freed,” the final film in the Fifty Shades trilogy, the family film “Peter Rabbit” and Clint Eastwood’s thriller “The 15:17 to Paris.”

As expected, “Fifty Shades Freed” brought in the best total with $38.8 million domestically and an additional $98 million internationally as the franchise surpassed $1 billion worldwide. Not bad for what was originally fan fiction inspired by The Twilight Saga. I wish I could say I was equally as impressed with the film, but “Fifty Shades Freed” is the most ridiculous and poorly constructed film in the trilogy as it relies on the sort of plot points that even soap operas would be wary of using. Still, there are clearly those who enjoy car advertisements occasionally interrupted by sex and a message from Colorado’s tourism board. All good things must come to an end. Fortunately, so do the bad things.

For reference, “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened to $85.2 million in 2015 and “Fifty Shades Darker” debuted with $46.6 million in 2017.

“Peter Rabbit” landed in second place with $25 million. That’s a little better than what the experts were predicting. That’s only roughly half of the film’s production budget, but no cause for concern. Family films tend to be less front-loaded than most other mainstream releases. Plus, I suspect the film will have a healthy international run.

“The 15:17 to Paris,” Eastwood’s fact-based thriller about three Americans who stop a train hijacking in France, is something of an oddity. To give the film an elevated sense of realism, Eastwood decided not to use actors in the leading roles and cast the three real-life heroes instead. The film wasn’t screened for local critics, an unusual move for an Eastwood project. Despite the lack of press, the film managed $12.6 million this weekend.

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Fourth place goes to "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” with $10 million. Domestically the film has earned $365 million.

The Greatest Showman” finished off the top five with a weekend total of $6.4 million.

Next weekend is going to be interesting. There’s no question that “Black Panther,” the latest move in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will open to huge numbers. But, how huge? Will it hit $150 million? Time will tell.

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