"Fifty Shades Freed" did manage to open at number-one this weekend, bringing in nearly $39M across 3,768 locations.
Reviews slated the climactic film as the worst entry in a awful franchise, but the wild success of each Fifty Shades movie has proven that - like the Transformers movies - they're critic-proof.
Next weekend is a big one at the box-office, with Marvel's "Black Panther" and the animated-comedy "Early Man" set to debut nationwide.
Fifty Shades of Grey, perhaps the most apparently un-filmable book since Frank Herbert's Dune, became a box office sensation once it was adapted into a movie. Women once again made up the vast majority (75 percent) of the opening weekend audience.
"We are exhilarated with the results", said Jim Orr of the franchise's distributor, Universal Pictures.
The studio expects a healthy mid-week bump on Valentine's Day and to serve as counter-programming over the holiday weekend against "Black Panther".
It came in way ahead of Peter Rabbit, which jumped into second place with $25 million.
Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17 to Paris" is expected to land in third-place, the film brought-in over $12M across 3,042 locations.
"Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle", last weekend's victor, slips to #4.
The dramatic thriller is about the true story of three American soldiers and lifelong pals as they thwart a terrorist attack on a train.
Starring Hugh Jackman as the colorful P.T. Barnum who founded the Barnum & Bailey circus in the 1800s, it's earned $146.5 million domestically and $314.2 million globally.
Overall the marketplace is still down around 1.8 percent for the year and around 27 percent from the same weekend last year which, comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian notes, saw the launch of "The Lego Batman Movie", "Fifty Shades Darker" and "John Wick: Chapter 2", all of which opened over $30 million. While Freed's numbers are nowhere near the first movie's sensational take, topping the box office on a slow, pre-Black Panther weekend is still a fitting way to say "laters, baby" to a weird, puzzling series. This weekend "Fifty Shades Freed", "The 15:17 to Paris", and "Peter Rabbit" hit the box-office, hoping to cash-in on a slow winter weekend before Marvel's "Black Panther" releases nationwide. "I think it's going to break records and spark a huge conversation".