The box office is looking hot for Valentine’s Day weekend thanks to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The big-screen adaptation of E.L. James’ wildly popular erotic novel, which debuts on Feb. 13, could open to up to $60 million, according to some early tracking estimates.
The film, which is being released by Universal Pictures, follows kinky billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his demure love interest Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson).
Fandango, the nation’s largest movie ticket company, reported hundreds of sold-out showings for the film, beginning with the first 8 p.m screenings on Feb. 12 and running through the weekend.
Theater owners continue to add new screens and showings to meet demand, Fandango, the ticketing website owned by NBCUniversal, reported.
Locally, Los Angeles and San Diego are among the cities with reported sold-out showings. Other cities include Las Vegas; Houston; New York; Tupelo, Miss.; Florence, Ky.; and Chattanooga, Tenn.
In a state-by-state analysis of the advance sales patterns, Fandango said that presales in Southern states were significantly higher than expected.
Mississippi topped the list, with presale tickets four times higher than expected. Meanwhile, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama and Louisiana had presale rates at least twice as high as normal.
Surveyed moviegoers selected “Fifty Shades of Grey” as their fourth-most anticipated film of 2015, Fandango reported in December. It followed “Star Wars: Episode VII -- The Force Awakens,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2."
MovieTickets.com, a global online ticketing service, announced that its sales in January 2015 were up 37% compared with January 2014.
The company attributed the increase to advance ticket sales for “American Sniper” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” An estimated 42% of all tickets sold by the company on Monday through Tuesday were for the upcoming film.
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