"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' best-selling novel earned an additional $68.1 million overseas.
Despite the victory, director Sam Taylor-Johnson's "Fifty Shades of Grey" plummeted a steep 73 percent 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 theaters in its sixth weekend.