Was there ever any doubt? The film adaptation of E.L James’ global bestseller Fifty Shades Of Grey is about to open in cinemas around the world, and the R-rated flick is already on course to be a guaranteed box office hit. The two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, would clearly bring the first film’s integral audience with them when adapted, so it comes as no surprise that these stories will now officially get the big screen treatment.
Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, director Sam Taylor-Johnson, and author E.L. James jointly made the announcement Friday morning at the first Fifty Shades of Grey fan screening event at New York’s Zeigfeld Theater.
For those who don’t know, Fifty Shades Of Grey introduces the characters of the young and naïve Anastasia Steele (Johnson) and the mysterious and distant young billionaire Christian Grey (Dornan). It follows their initial, mutual infatuation and fledgling ‘relationship’ – with her exploration of her own emotional and physical desires structured around Grey’s encouragement of Steele to participate in his secret BDSM lifestyle. It also sees Steele’s discovery of the roots of Grey’s lifestyle, as well as the more extreme end of the BDSM spectrum, and depicts the initially negative impact this has on the relationship.
The first sequel – Fifty Shades Darker – sees Steele and Grey compromise and reconcile, but they are faced with opposition from outside the relationship. Family, friends, old associations and business rivals all seek to interfere and place obstacles in the path of the couple, while Grey’s controlling and possessive behavior intensifies. The second sequel – Fifty Shades Freed – sees all of the growing tensions between Steele and Grey peak with heightened drama and violent situations.
The Fifty Shades trilogy of books is the perfect example of the difference between critical and financial success in entertainment product. On release, the series of novels received mixed reviews, with most leaning toward the negative. The quality of writing, along with the fantastical plot, was highlighted as being problematic as repeatedly as the author uses the word ‘mercurial,’ or as often as she has Steele biting her bottom lip. Despite these well-publicized criticisms, the trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, set the record for fastest-selling paperbacks in the U.K, and saw author E.L James top the Forbes list of highest-earning authors in 2013.
Such popularity meant that a movie adaptation was likely and – having achieved that with the expected vast pre-release ticket sales – adaptations of the sequels were always inevitable. While it remains to be seen whether fans of the books will truly approve of this adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, audiences can rest assured that they will soon have the chance to chomp at the bit once again, for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.