Fifty Shades of Grey – makes $81.7 million from 3,646 theaters in 3 days

Audiences were more than curious to check out the big-screen adaptation of the racy phenomenon ‘‘Fifty Shades of Grey’’ last weekend.

The erotic R-rated drama sizzled in its debut, earning an estimated $81.7 million from 3,646 theaters in its first three days, distributor Universal Pictures said on Sunday. Internationally, director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of E.L. James’s book earned an estimated $158.3 million from 9,637 locations in 58 territories.

In addition to destroying Valentine’s and Presidents’ Day weekend records, ‘‘Fifty Shades of Grey’’ has also become the second-highest February debut ever, behind the $83.9 million opening of “The Passion of the Christ” in 2004.

Cast: Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is as an erotic Valentine’s Day romance; is slavishly faithful to the book although squeezing a 500-page novel into a two-hour movie.

MPAA assigned the movie an R rating for “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.”

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