LOS ANGELES, Calif. - "Fifty Shades of Grey" didn't relinquish control of the box office.
Universal's erotic drama starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan earned $23.2 million at No. 1 in its second weekend at the box office, according to studio estimates Sunday. The adaptation of E.L. James' bestselling novel earned an additional $68.1 million overseas.
Despite the victory, director Sam Taylor-Johnson's "Fifty Shades of Grey" plummeted a steep 73 per cent from its record-breaking $85 million three-day debut over President's Day weekend.
"There was a pent-up demand and excitement for 'Fifty Shades of Grey' last weekend, so this was its destiny after it broke the box-office record for the biggest opening in February and didn't have the added bonus of a holiday weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office firm Rentrak.
The action spy film "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and the family friendly "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" similarly maintained their respective No. 2 and No. 3 spots at the box office in their second and third weekends.
Fox's "Kingsman" nabbed $17.5 million, while Paramount's "SpongeBob" soaked up another $15.5 million.
A trio of newcomers failed to crack the top three.
Disney's cross-country racing tale "McFarland, USA" with Kevin Costner launched at No. 4 with $11.3 million. Lionsgate's high school comedy "The DUFF" debuted at No. 5 with $11 million. Paramount's wacky sequel "Hot Tub Time Machine 2" opened at No. 7 with $5.8 million.
A few Oscar contenders received a boost at the box office ahead of Sunday's 87th annual Academy Awards.
"American Sniper," which is up for six awards, including best picture and best actor for Bradley Cooper, racked up another $9.6 million at No. 6 in its ninth weekend of release.
"The Imitation Game," nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and best supporting actress for Keira Knightley, came in at No. 9 with $2.5 million in its 13th weekend.
"Still Alice," which features best actress front runner Julianne Moore, earned $2.2 million after expanding to 765 theatres in its sixth weekend.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Fifty Shades of Grey," $23.2 million ($68.1 million international).
2. "Kingsman: The Secret Service," $17.5 million ($33 million international).
3. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," $15.5 million. ($21.9 million international.)
4. "McFarland, USA," $11.3 million.
5. "The DUFF," $11 million.
6. "American Sniper," $9.6 million ($20.5 million international).
7. "Hot Tub Time Machine 2," $5.8 million.
8. "Jupiter Ascending," $3.6 million ($8.9 million international).
9. "The Imitation Game," $2.5 million ($6.7 million international).
10. "Paddington," $2.3 million ($1 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Rentrak:
1. "Fifty Shades of Grey," $68.1 million.
2. (tie) "Kingsman: The Secret Service," $33 million.
2. (tie) "Dragon Blade," $33 million.
3. "From Vegas to Macau II," $29 million.
4. "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," $21.9 million.
5. "American Sniper," $20.5 million.
6. "Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal," $17 million.
7. "Wolf Totem," $14 million.
8. "Detective K: The Laborer's Daughter," $12.5 million.
9. "Daddy, Where Are We Going? 2," $11.5 million.
10. "Big Hero 6," $11 million.
Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.