Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are blowing past critics on their way to a likely box office record for an opening weekend.
The film raked in $30.2 million when it debuted on Friday (Feb. 13) and is expected to top $75 million over its opening three-day weekend, according to Hollywood trade rag Variety.
That should easily eclipse the previous Valentine’s Day weekend haul of $63.1 million for Garry Marshall’s 2010 film “Valentine’s Day.”
The Universal movie is also setting another record. It’s the biggest box office winner with the worst rating ever on rottentomatoes, which tracks reviews. The film has only scored a 26 percent rating, which means critics are almost universally panning it.
But the criticism doesn’t end there.
The Catholic Church has also weighed in on the film. Dennis Schnurr, the Archbishop of Cincinnati, is urging Catholics to boycott the movie because of its sado-masochistic themes.
Schnurr is irate not because it’s simply a bad film. Rather, he objects because it portrays bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism as “normal and pleasurable” bedroom activities.
“This movie is in direct contrast to the Christian message of God’s design for self-giving and self-sacrificing love, marriage and sexual intimacy,” he wrote.
He also called the movie a “direct assault” on Christian marriage.
“We need to inform our people about the destructive message of this movie and to highlight the beauty of God’s design for loving relationships between a husband and wife in the bond of marriage,” he said.
Baptists are up in arms, too. Ed Young, pastor of the Fellowship Church in Dallas, Tx, also says E.L. James’ novel is a “perverted attempt to trap readers, according to The Christian Post newspaper.
Someone should remind him of the Catholic Church’s history of self-flagellation. It remains popular in the Philippines, Mexico, and parts of Peru, according to a popular history of the practice.
Anti-porn and women’s rights groups have also condemned the film. LifeSiteNews, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the Family Research Council and the website CounterCultured, released a joint statement, saying the film promotes misogyny, abuse and manipulation.
So far, however, the Vatican has yet to weigh-in on the film. Pope Francis, who was elevated in 2013, has been trying to present a more tolerant, less confrontational view of the church.
Under previous Popes, the Vatican newspaper routinely condemned films it considered anti-Catholic, such as Tom Hanks’s “Da Vinci Code.”
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