‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Still Titillates, Just Not In The United States

Fifty Shades of Grey director

If you were among those hoping for a premature climax to Fifty Shades of Grey, you are about to be disappointed.

Hollywood insiders and curious hobbyists alike were abuzz on Friday when news broke that Fifty Shades of Grey, the highly anticipated film adaptation of the book of the same name, dropped 73 percent at the domestic box office. There is no shortage of people likely delighted by Fifty Shades of Grey’s huge drop in ticket sales.

According to entertainment industry news website Deadline, bad word of mouth is negatively affecting Fifty Shades of Grey ticket sales. Given Fifty Shades’ 4/10 star rating on IMDb, and 25 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that should come as little surprise. Never underestimate the power of a well-chosen release date. Despite tumbling ticket sales, Fifty Shades still took the number 1 spot at the domestic box office after a weak opening for the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

Overseas was a different story for Fifty Shades of Grey. While the film did decline 52 percent in its second weekend, it still raked in a healthy $60 million, bringing its foreign total to a whooping $280.5 million. That brings Fifty Shades of Grey’s total earnings to just over $400 million worldwide in just two weeks. That puts Fifty Shades of Grey more than $20 million over the 10-day earnings of the film adaptation of Twilight, the series which inspired it. It’s worth noting that at 65 percent, Twilight had a smaller second week domestic box office drop, although Fifty Shades of Grey had a much bigger opening weekend.

Despite the massive opening weekend success of Fifty Shades of Grey and the more modest success of the second weekend, Universal has yet to announce plans to adapt the two remaining books in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. According to Variety, that’s because Fifty Shades series author E.L. James is seeking more control over the next adaptations. Specifically, E.L. James wants to write the screenplays herself.

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel and director Sam Taylor-Johnson are widely expected to exit the series due in part issues with E.L James. It seems James feels that the best course of action is for her to take on screenwriting duties, although she reportedly has no screenwriting experience.

At least one outlet is against James taking over as screenwriter for Fifty Shades Darker. In a recent report, Forbes wondered if E.L. James could find the same success as a screenwriter that she did as a novelist.

“The ‘Fifty Shades’ movie was tolerable and even fun because the writers, director, and actors (well, Dakota Johnson) knew to wink at the audience and keep it cheeky (for the first half at least). If Universal agrees to let James write the sequel, ’50 Shades Darker,’ will she have the ability to step away from the material and adopt that same attitude?”

Whether it’s a story you love or love to hate, expect Universal to go ahead with plans for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.