Fulfilling (or not) the fantasies of hundreds of thousands of fans, the hotly anticipated “Fifty Shades of Grey” hit theaters across the world this morning, leaving broken ticket sales records and hyperventilating fans in its wake.
Though it has been the subject of numerous controversies, from fan indignation over the casting of its leads to being banned in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia based on the sexual content depicting a BDSM relationship, “Fifty Shades” appeared to find a safe haven — and plenty of fans — throughout Latin America.
“Fifty Shades” is the first in a planned trilogy film adaptation of E.L. James’ bestselling novels of the same title. The trilogy has sold more than 90 million copies and has been translated into 52 languages worldwide.
Mexico was one of the first countries in the world to premiere “50 sombras de gris,” as it is called in Spanish, showing it on screens across the country at midnight. The film will open in 1,200 theaters throughout Mexico and, as of this morning, had sold a reported 341,000 tickets for the opening weekend.
In Brazil, a Groupon offer sold 12,000 tickets for the movie in just 36 hours, and many of the first screenings were sold out days before the actual opening.
The film also opened in Bolivia, selling 5,000 tickets for the midnight showing alone. The Bolivian representative for Universal International Pictures, the film’s distributor, promised that the movie would remain in national theaters for at least eight weeks.
“Fifty Shades” made waves in Paraguay as well, selling about 10,000 tickets in pre-sale for the midnight showing and opening weekend
In Chile, the film shattered presale records, selling more than 74,000 tickets before the movie even opened in the country.
“There has never been a presale opened so far ahead of time and never has it been so anticipated,” said Dominique Spiniak, head of programming for cinema company Cine Hoyts. “That is, five months ago fans were asking when is the premiere, when does it open, when will tickets go on sale.”
“Fifty Shades” had its official international premiere in Berlin, where it was included in the Berlin Film Festival, also known as the Berlinale. The film was met with a mixed reception — while devoted fans were no doubt pleased to see the book come to life on the screen, a number of viewers and critics at the initial screenings reported laughter throughout scenes that were intended to be more dramatic than comedic.
Still, regardless of the critical response to the film, experts anticipate that it will shatter national and international box office records. In the United States, where AMC Theaters have requested that fans refrain from dressing up or bringing BDSM toys and accessories to screenings, “Fifty Shades” is expected to make between $50 and $70 million on its opening weekend — timed, of course, to coincide with Valentine’s Day.