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'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author Releasing Own Line of Wine

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author Releasing Own Line of Wine

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author Releasing Own Line of Wine

If you’ve walked into a Barnes & Noble or any other bookstore in the last two years, you have probably seen the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey romance novels displayed all over the store. While we can’t necessarily say we’ve caught onto the erotica craze, we can say we’re digging the idea of a wine inspired by the novels. Wine and romance just seem to go together, don’t they?

On Sept. 23, Fifty Shades of Grey author, E. L. James released a new collection of wines inspired by her best-selling books. Featuring the tagline "You Are Mine," Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin and White Silk wines offer Fifty Shades superfans the opportunity to indulge in some of the same wines that their favorite characters sip in the novels.

A recent press released stated that the Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin is a blend of petite sirah and syrah, with flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, creamy caramel and vanilla, leather, and clove spice that has been aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels. The White Silk wine is a delicate yet rich blend of gewürztraminer and sauvignon blanc. White Silk’s flavors include floral aromatics of lychee and honey, tempered by flavors of crisp grapefruit, mineral and lush pear, and a faint hint of butterscotch that has been fermented cool, and aged in stainless steel tanks.

In the release James stated, "Wine plays an important role in Fifty Shades of Grey, adding to the sensuality that pervades a number of scenes. I’ve always had a penchant for good wine, so combining two of my passions to blend Red Satin and White Silk was a natural extension of the series. I hope my readers curl up with a glass as they enjoy the romance between Anastasia and Christian."

The wines are reportedly personally blended by author E. James along with winemakers in California’s premium North Coast appellation. We’re definitely excited to give these interesting blends a try. At only $17.99 a bottle we'll probably pick one up when they hit liquor stores in October but maybe we’ll skip the romance novel and curl up with a cookbook instead…

The secret DNA behind bestsellers

Your program can identify, from scanning 20,000 books, ones which made the New York Times bestseller lists with 80% accuracy, and one of your key discoveries was that the topics covered in a novel – marriage, work, technology – are more important than its genre in terms of predicting its success. Why?

JA: If you look at a bestseller list, you might think it was very diverse in genre – a Stephen King alongside a Jojo Moyes. But certain topics were strong indicators of a bestseller, regardless of genre. “Human closeness” came out on top. This doesn’t mean romance – it could be talking with someone you are intimate with or shopping with a parent. It may be to do with pacing – when Dan Brown knows he has to slow his pace down a little bit and let the characters reflect before a big chase scene in the Vatican, his characters talk it out. John Grisham does it perfectly because in all the legal machinations and suspense and back stabbing, there are always scenes where a lawyer gets a bottle of red wine and a Chinese takeaway and sits on the couch with his female counterpart and they chew the cud for a bit. It is almost the opposite of a formulaic how-to make a boy meet a girl, make them fall out.

MJ: You could have a book all about human closeness – but that is too much. What we found in bestsellers was that there was a sweet spot, of a couple of topics, each taking up 30% of the book.

JA: When I worked at Penguin UK, I found that manuscripts by new authors were too ambitious, like a painter who can’t settle on one colour and uses the whole paintbox. We found that having a couple of key topics, and then sprinkling a few smaller ones throughout the rest of the book was perfect. If you look at Danielle Steel or John Grisham, they use the same three topics as their signature then pepper it with other details. Jodi Picoult is an example of an author who has found her sweet spot. She writes “commercial fiction”, and she has her own niche, her own brand. You know what you’ll get with Picoult.

‘She has her own niche, her own brand. You know what you’ll get with Jodi Picoult.’ Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

A lot of the authors you identified are series writers, like Grisham: Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Lee Child. Should debut writers plan a series?

MJ: In our tests we ensured that when we were testing a particular book, there were no others by the same author available to the machine so it wouldn’t bias against someone who had lots, such as Patterson. But so many serialised books came through in our top 100 list, which signals that is what people like reading.

JA: Series are a very good way to establish your name.

You look at ‘The Girl’ trend in publishing – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl. Should writers avoid buying into that?

JA: No, the girl thing still has legs. When I was working in publishing and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hit, there were all these acquisitions meetings that focused on finding the secret that we could repeat. Publishers bought thrillers by Scandinavian men. Hundreds came on the market and only one of them got very big: Jo Nesbø. Scandinavian male crime writers were not the right focus – look at Larsson’s plot lines and themes instead.

MJ: I would warn against trying to be a copycat writer. Yes, there is a current fascination with feminine noir but if you don’t have a feminine noir book in you, I don’t think you’re going to manufacture one by piecing together a recipe from topic choices.

Is plot more important than style?

MJ: No. If your style is no good, no one will read it.

JA: Look at Fifty Shades of Grey – some readers complain about the style, but others only notice how effective it is as a page-turner. I don’t think it is EL James’s will to be a stylist, but she’s not making any mistakes either. We found that long sentences are rare in bestsellers – James Joyce might get away with it, but a newbie probably won’t. Same with superfluous adjectives. Exclamation marks don’t go down well. You don’t need all the punctuation on your keyboard. Let the language do the work.

‘long sentences are rare in bestsellers – James Joyce might get away with it, but a newbie probably won’t.’ Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer

You developed a graph of The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey that shows that they are almost exactly matched in terms of fast and slow moments in their pacing.

MJ: Yes we noticed super-bestsellers have symmetrical pacing, and other books that are bestsellers didn’t always have this. It seems there is a marked correlation between this plotting and what we would call a page-turner.

JA: If you think of a plot like a musical beat, James and Brown were the two that had a very fast, consistently even beat, almost like techno – some readers really love this, but some find the fast pace off-putting.

Your program found that bestsellers usually had sex scenes around halfway through. Why?

JA: If you read a romance novel, you get the first kiss or sex scene at a third or halfway in, which drives the plot curve that follows: will they get together? And successful erotic writers know that. But when you know the rules, break them. You could have a sex scene on page one, like a modern crime writer will have a dead body in the first line.

You identified a perfect bestseller, which was The Circle by Dave Eggers, because it was brief, had no signs of superfluous punctuation and three popular topics – technology, jobs and “human closeness”. But other books sold a lot more.

MJ: We’re not claiming it should have been the biggest book ever, but our program found it was the perfect combination. It is the Goldilocks zone – it is just right. It is not a page-turner like The Da Vinci Code, but it is not deeply meditative like Brave New World. It has a plot, but it also has big ideas.

'Fifty Shades of Grey'-inspired wine surprises with flavor

The startling book and now movie phenomenon also has spawned a red and white wine called Red Satin and White Silk completely endorsed by author E.L. James.

Fifty Shades of Grey inspired wine comes in white and red. (Photo: Fifty Shades of Grey Wines)

When presented with the two wines I couldn't help but give an uncomfortable giggle and painful groan as I expected a pretty pedestrian wine that was only capitalizing on the enormous popularity of the book and the highly anticipated upcoming movie release. I was actually pleasantly surprised by what was in the bottle.

With a little research I found that author E.L. James is not only a wine aficionado but also participated in the blending of the wines herself with Tim Thornhill owner of the Mendocino Wine Company and winemaker Mark Beaman. There are many references to wine (some of them very famous wines) throughout the book series and when asked if she had researched wines for the books she stated that she drinks them and chose to name some of her favorites in the books. One might ask if she considers wine her guilty pleasure much like many of her readers consider her books?

Right away I could smell Gewürztraminer in the white blend when it was poured into the glass. The intense Lychee, pear and floral aromas were somewhat surprising as I had guessed that this wouldn't be a sweet wine just from the name and graphics on the bottle as well as the reputation of the book trilogy. The sweetness of the Gewürztraminer is tempered by the fact that this grape can also show a little spiciness which you get after the first couple of sips. There is a decent amount of citrus and a soft acidity that comes from the Sauvignon Blanc in the blend.

I cannot place where I might have had another Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc blended white before so perhaps E.L. James and her winemakers are going for a little bit of the unusual. Considering the subject and tone of her books, it wouldn't shock me, at least not like the books did, The Fifty Shades of Grey White Silk is an easy drinking medium sweet white that would be great with Asian or spicy food but is just fine on its own.

The red partner in this line up is much bolder and bigger than the white. Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin is a blend of Syrah and Petit Syrah. It has some pretty intense black fruit flavors upfront but the very present tannins prevent it from being overly jammy. There is a subtle oakiness to this wine and tiny hints of mocha and chocolate. I would really like this wine with dark chocolate as its food pairing. I wouldn't quite call this wine bold, but it does have a lot going on and is probably my favorite of the two.

Needless to say, I don't know if these wines will be around for the long haul as it is a pretty cutthroat market, but I believe they were crafted with longevity in mind. I do know that if you haven't read the books you may want to have a few glasses of wine prior to cracking open those pages.

‘Fifty Shades’ author E.L. James worth $58 million, despite being spanked by critics

Author E.L. James, who is dominating bestseller lists with her new book “Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian,” is worth about $58 million.

E.L. James might not have as much money as Christian Grey, the kinky billionaire featured in her “Fifty Shades of Grey” books. But she’s getting close.

The Guardian reports that James is now worth at least $58 million, a total that doesn’t include money she earned from this year’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie adaptation, or from her recently published “Grey,” which retells the first “Fifty Shades” book from Christian’s perspective.

It’s likely that “Grey” will add a significant sum to James’ bottom line. Despite receiving a spanking from several critics, the novel sold more than a million copies in four days, and it remains the top-selling book at Amazon.

She’s also likely to earn a hefty amount from the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades Darker,” the second book in the series featuring Christian and Ana, set for release in 2017. The screenplay for the movie will be written by Niall Leonard, James’ husband.

James is one of the wealthiest authors in the world, though she still has a ways to go to catch up to writers like James Patterson, who was named by Forbes as the highest-paid author in the world, earning $89 million this year.

But James has beaten Patterson before when it comes to yearly earnings. In a 2013 Forbes list of the world’s top-earning authors, James took the top spot, with Patterson in second place. They were followed by “Hunger Games” creator Suzanne Collins, Bill O’Reilly and Danielle Steel.

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Fifty Shades Of Grey: Top 50 sex toys

Love Fifty Shades Of Grey? We've located 50 sex toys that Christian Grey would be proud to call his own.

Fifty Shades Of Grey has sent the world into a lust-fuelled, sex-crazed frenzy, so we've located 50 of the best sex toys for her AND him that Christian Grey would be proud to call his own. It's time to make like Ana Steele, create your very own Play Room and unleash your inner goddess things are about to get orgasmic!

These slip on handcuffs add an air of sexiness and naughtiness to any bedroom scene. Let him feel like he has full control while you embark on a night of naughtiness together, knowing you can slip these little lace numbers off at any time!

Maybe you could even try reversing the roles so that you can have your wicked way with him.

Frou Frou satin and organza handcuffs, £14.95, Strawberry Blushes

"I may have to keep these. They make me needy, needy for sex." Fifty Shades Of Grey fans will definitely want to get their hands on a pair of those legendary silver balls and we think we've found the answer with this luxe pair. Expect some serious G-spot stimulation, wannabe Anastasias!

Oriental Ben Wa jiggle balls, £8.99, Lovehoney

If gentle spanking is your thing, as it soon becomes Ana's, then this sweetheart paddle will really hit the spot! That soft leather can create anything from a gentle touch to some seriously kinky lovin'. Just remember, heart marks the spot&hellip

Make like Anastasia Steele and embrace the delicious bite of the nipple clamp &ndash but make sure you do it in some seriously decadent style. These tightly sprung Alex Monroe butterfly clips look just as good as they feel, increasing sensitivity to the max and adding some seriously erotic pleasure to your bedroom activities.

Use them with ice cubes for a little bitta extra naughtiness &ndash Fifty Shades Of Grey, eat your heart out!

Alex Monroe sterling silver filigree butterfly nipple clamps, £318, Coco De Mer

This sexy sheer pure silk bondage scarf is the ULTIMATE way to dip your toe into the bondage trend, minus the iron handcuffs and ropes! The erotic lovely includes a stunning leather collar and cuffs, perfect for wrapping yourself up and having your lover thrill you, chill you and fulfill you &ndash without you ever lifting a finger. Get ready to set your very own Christian Grey's lust levels to the max&hellip

Darkest Star silk bondage scarf, £155, Coco De Mer

Oh sure, Ana may not have been interested in vibes - but we know Christian Grey was! Anyone wanna bet that he Rampant Rabbit&trade Thrusting One, complete with 3 unique thrusting modes and intense clitoral stimulator, would have been hidden away in his secret drawer in the Play Room? It's the PERFECT bedtime reading companion to Fifty Shades Of Grey.

Rampant Rabbit Thrusting One, £39, Ann Summers

Fancy shrouding your bedroom bondage sessions in mystery? Then it's time to get racy with this lacy chiffon blindfold &ndash it allows you to see everything through a subtle lace shield, inviting your lover to look deeper into your eyes than ever before! It's an added twist to the blindfold you can see everything, but your lover is completely in the dark &ndash why don't you give Christian Grey a taste of his own medicine?

Black chiffon and lace blindfold, £46.50, Coco De Mer

"My body convulses at the sweet, stinging bite. My nipples harden and elongate from the assault, and I moan loudly&hellip"

Christian Grey gave Anastasia Steele the "ride" of her life when he pulled out his infamous riding crop, turning women everywhere fifty shades of lusty!Get in on the action by bagging this satin heart tipped riding crop and indulge in some horseplay in the bedroom, stat&hellip

Tease Me satin heart riding crop, £16.99, Lovehoney

If Ana and Christian's anal antics inspired you to get experimental in the bedroom then this beginner's butt plus is ideal for you. That slimline shape and smooth material will make for some wildly pleasurable fun that you'll be dying to try again and again!

Beginners basic slimline butt plug, £6.99, Lovehoney

We all remember the scenes when Christian and Ana have some seriously sexy fun with champagne and ice-cream, so these edible body paints are a tasty way to spice up your love life! Draw a sexy trail onto your body or write sexy words on your mans chest that you can have fun licking off. The ultimate item for foreplay fun!

Shunga edible body painting, £12.95, Strawberry Blushes

We don't know if it's the idea of being sexually teased by our man or the sexy bows on these cuffs that get us all excited but either way we have to have them! These sexy cuffs can be used either on your hands or your ankles so mix it up Christian Grey style! They have a soft yet firm feel so you and your man can really mix it up in the bedroom&hellip

Tantric binding love universal cuffs, £11.45, Strawberry Blushes

Ana LOVES the crop that Christian introduces to her so we want to find out just how sexy they can be! Use for some sexy spanking or use for clitoral stimulation Christian grey style. This clever crop comes with multiple tips too so switch to the heart for some lush love making or the hand for when you want some serious bedroom naughtiness.

Christian and Ana can't keep their hands off each other at the masquerade ball and while we're not sure whether it was these mysterious masks or the jiggle balls Ana was wearing we say you double up the pleasure and use both!

His and hers Venetian masks, £19.95, Maskparty

Despite Christian's dark side his a man that's big on protection, but who said condoms had to be a nuisance? Get this Pleasuremax set from Durex, containing a mixture of ribbed and dotted condoms to intensify and stimulate you both, after all there's no party without balloons!

Fancy trying out some of the moves from Fifty Shades of Grey? Then this collective set of love balls, blindfold, paddle and bondage tape is the perfect beginner set for you! At a great price, you and your man can get down and Christian Grey dirty!

If you, like Anastasia Steele, haven't tried nipple clamps before, then you need these beginner-friendly lovelies! Designed to suck and pleasure, all you need is a little lube (and maybe a helping hand from your very own Christian Grey!) for some seriously hot orgasmic fun.

Beginners basic nipple suckers, £7.99, Lovehoney

If there's one thing we know about Anastasia Steele, it's that she absolutely loves it when Christian Grey treats her to the pleasures of his magic tongue. She's only human, after all. Make sure that you have great oral sex on tap, whenever you want, need or crave it, with the world's best oral sex simulator ever.

10 lapping silicone tongues, 3 powerful speeds and an added flicker function &ndash cue incredible orgasms and a brand-new best friend!

This luxury sex toy adds an extra sexy twist to the jiggle ball trend, responding to your every single squeeze with delectable vibrations that'll shudder through your body. Promising to have you writhing in pleasure, as well as tone up your pelvic floor, the swan clutch is a must-have for jiggle ball beginners. Hey, if it's good enough for Ana Steele, it's good enough for us!

Swan Clutch luxury rechargeable vibrating kegel exerciser, £92, Coco De Mer

Put your man in full control with this tantric love hog-tie. Guide him around your body and trust his touch for a full mind and body experience. If Ana and Christian's sexy times is anything to go by then you're in for an orgasm that, in the words of Ana, "rips me apart, scorching through me like a wildfire, consuming everything." Sounds hot!

Tantric binding love hog-tie, £29.95, Strawberry Blushes

Transform your body into an intimate gift for your lover to unwrap with these sumptuously sexy silk tie bra. One slow tug of the bow will help him to reveal all&hellip It's the perfect way for Fifty Shades Of Grey fans to imitate the bondage fetish &ndash WITHOUT stepping out of their comfort zones. Ana would SO approve!

All Wrapped Up open cup bra, £60, Coco De Mer

If you've experimented with handcuffs before then these are a great step forward! Try restraining your man with these buckle cuffs while you put on a sexy side show for him. He will be so turned on and ready for action that when you release him, you're guaranteed an orgasmic time!

Faux furlined leather wrist cuffs, £28.54, Exclusively Eve

"'Open your legs,' he murmurs and for a moment, I hesitate. And he smacks me hard&mdashwith the ruler!"

Ana and Christian Grey know that rulers aren't just for drawing straight lines in your exercise books they're perfect for adding some serious raunch-a-rama to the bedroom too! Make your boudoir antics ultra devious with this naughty black and gold ruler &ndash complete with sexy tassel!

Maison Close spanking ruler, £15.50, La Belle Epoque

Ana just can't get enough once sexy Christian introduces these jiggle balls to her (not of the yuletide jingle variety). Wear them throughout the day for subtle sexual stimulation that will turn you and your man on. By the time the evening rolls round (if you can last that long!) you'll have an orgasm that is both intense and powerful!

There's no denying that Fifty Shades Of Grey's lusty billionaire Christian Grey has a bit of a soft spot for bondage in the bedroom. Why not recreate the most sizzling scenes of the book with this beginner's guide to bondage, created by our very own sexpert Tracey Cox? Soft velvety ties (and a few tips) will soon have you getting kinky with it in no time!

Tracey Cox Supersex beginner's soft bondage kit, £16.99, Lovehoney

Our very own sexpert Tracey Cox has got the perfect solution for those looking to amp up the sex factor as they read through their copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey! This slim and waterproof bullet vibrator is stylish, discreet and super powerful &ndash expect some seriously good vibrations&hellip

Tracey Cox Supersex bullet vibrator, £9.99, Lovehoney

Christian Grey's tipple of choice is, of course, champagne, so make sure you bag yourself one of these delicious champagne flavoured lubes. It tastes just as amazing as it feels, responding to touch and breath with a warming, glowing sensation to transport you to an entirely new realm of pleasure&hellip

Forplay succulent flavoured lube (champagne), £17.95, Loving Stuff

If the only whip you've encountered is of the whiplash variety then get a load of this luxe number. It's diamante handle gives it that glam edge that rich Christian Grey would be proud of. Use the tassels to tease and flirt with your partner while using the tickling and teasing sensation to instantly heighten your sex pleasure.

This gorgeously luxe erotic hamper has everything you could possibly need to sate your most lustful Fifty Shades Of Grey fantasies this summer! Think satin handcuffs, a luxury blindfold, an iconic vibrator, massage candles, nipple tassels, a feather tickler and a real pearl g-string&hellip yup, all the ingredients you need for a night of ultimate passion. It's Fifty Shades Of Grey, as you've never known it before!

The Monte Carlo hamper, £300, La Belle Epoque

After all that Fifty Shades Of Grey bonking, one or both of you is going to be in need of a massage. Make yours an ultra erotic one with this sensuous Ylang Ylang lube and massage gel combo &ndash there's nothing better than a multi-tasker, after all!

Durex 2 in 1 sensual massage gel, £5.99, Boots

This slinky necklace has a delicious Fifty Shades of Grey style secret &ndash at the end of each chain is a petite bullet vibrator mounted on leather nooses. And THAT, dear readers, means you can use this piece of seductive jewellery to stimulate your clitoris or &ndash if you want to make like Ana &ndash as vibrating nipple clamps.

Plus, for those looking to explore their inner dominatrix (or submissive!), the leather thong is perfect for gently whipping your partner into shape.

E.L. James Has Launched Her Own Line Of ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Wine

I guess when the subject of your bestselling book series for adults is erotic bondage and submission, originating as fan fiction posted on a Twilight message board, your options for product tie-ins and endorsements are pretty limited. However, chalk up another huge, profitable victory for Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James (real name SnowQueen IceDragon) who is launching her own line of Fifty Shades wine.

According to Deadline, you can now purchase bottles of 2009 Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin and 2012 Fifty Shades of Grey White Silk for just $17.99 per bottle or $215.88 for an entire case. While I’m no expert sommelier by any means, I do believe that $18 means this is some high-end sh*t right here. Even better, you no longer have to refer to James’ own wine list that she seriously has on her website as a means of recommending specific wines to go along with parts of her books.

Instead, you can just crack open a bottle of Satin or Silk, kick back and imagine that buzzing sound is coming from Charlie Hunnam.

‘Fifty Shades’ Fan Fiction Assumes a Life of Its Own

In a note to readers on the dedication page of her new novel, “Grey,” E. L. James sounds a bit like the exasperated mother of whiny, demanding children.

“This book is dedicated to those readers who asked . and asked . and asked . and asked for this,” she writes.

“Grey” is a 559-page retelling of Ms. James’s blockbuster erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey,” this time from the perspective of the moody billionaire Christian Grey. Readers who tore through “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the other books in the best-selling trilogy have been badgering Ms. James for this version since she published the books in 2011.

For many fans, the wait ended Thursday with the publication of “Grey,” which rehashes Christian’s seduction of the demure college student Anastasia Steele as he draws her into a dominant-submissive sadomasochistic relationship.

But others refused to wait for Ms. James to write more. Instead, they created versions of Christian Grey’s story and posted them online, where they are drawing huge audiences of their own.

Gillian Griffin, a married, 58-year-old mother of three who lives in Surrey, England, was so smitten with the enigmatic, controlling character that she rewrote all three “Fifty Shades” novels from his point of view, and posted them on her blog, Meet Fifty Shades, under the pen name Christian Grey. It was mostly for her own amusement, she said, but others noticed. The novels, which took her a year to complete, have been viewed 8.8 million times. Ms. Griffin said she was eager to see what Ms. James has done with the same material.

“I’m very curious to see how her story is different from mine,” Ms. Griffin, who has also written “Downton Abbey” fan fiction, said in a phone interview. “It’s a little bit weird, because it’s her story, her work, her characters. I was just borrowing them for a bit of fun.”

Fan fiction usually follows in the wake of a popular franchise, as readers take ownership of the characters and create their own stories. But in an unusual twist, Ms. James’s followers got out ahead of her, recasting “Fifty Shades” from the smoldering billionaire’s point of view well before she announced plans to do so herself.

“Every girl that read that book fell in love with him,” said a “Fifty Shades” fan in Glasgow who publishes fan fiction about Christian Grey under the pen name Scarlette Drake on the website Wattpad, a popular site for fan fiction and original stories. (She spoke on condition her real name not be used to avoid scandalizing her co-workers at a housing charity.)

That fans would run amok with the story was probably inevitable. Readers today often behave more like corporate shareholders than consumers, demanding a say in the direction a story takes and adding their own flourishes and twists. With thriving online fan communities, devotees of a franchise can easily find their niche. There are 2,400 fan-fiction stories based on “Fifty Shades” published on, and many more on Tumblr and “Fifty Shades”-centric sites.


Ms. James said she was flattered that readers have found her characters so engaging.

“I’m delighted that people are writing fan fiction based on ‘Fifty Shades,’ though I haven’t read any of it,” she said, responding to questions through her publisher. “It’s a huge compliment.”

And these writers are just following in the footsteps of Ms. James herself, who started writing “Fifty Shades” as free fan fiction, based on the characters Edward and Bella from Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.” She changed their names to Christian and Anastasia, deleted her original fan fiction, and published the books with a small press in Australia.

After Vintage acquired paperback rights to the trilogy and published it in 2012, the books went on to sell 125 million copies in 52 languages. A feature film released in February generated nearly $570 million in global ticket sales. The series even spawned an unlikely line of merchandise, from “Fifty Shades” branded wine and handcuffs to lube and massage oil, vibrators, bondage rope and something called After Spanking cream. Forbes named Ms. James the highest-earning author of 2013, with an estimated income of $95 million.

“Grey” is already the most preordered digital book of 2015 on Amazon. Vintage planned a 1.25 million copy first printing and ordered two more printings based on demand, lifting the total copies in print to 1.6 million.

Some fans are not impressed. On Thursday morning, just hours after the book’s release, a sprinkling of negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads took aim at “Grey” as a lazy and unimaginative follow up with little in the way of an original plot. “All I got out of this book was a repeat of the original,” a reviewer wrote in a two-star Amazon review. “This book is just an attempt for the author to squeeze every last drop of $ she can get from this franchise,” another wrote.

For many, though, more of the same is exactly what they want.

“We fell in love with the story of Christian and Anna,” said Penny Brueggemann, 56, who lives in Illinois and works for Purina. “We all wanted more.”

She found it online, in the writing of Emine Fougner, 42, who lives in Mesa, Ariz., and works as a freelance linguist and translator for the United States government. About four years ago, Ms. Fougner and a couple friends were dissecting the plot and characters in “Fifty Shades.” They agreed that Christian was the darker, more interesting character. Ms Fougner’s friends urged her to write her own version of the story from his point of view, so she started a blog. “They said, ‘We don’t really care about Ana we want to hear what he thinks,’ “ she said.

So did a lot of other people, apparently. Her blog, A Walk in the Clouds, has been viewed more than 14 million times. She counts readers in 187 countries. Volunteers have translated her writing into six languages.

At this point, Ms. Fougner, who has published the equivalent of five novels totaling some 3,500 pages, has written far more about Christian and Anastasia than their creator has.

“I prefer her writing to E. L. James’s writing,” Ms. Brueggemann said. “I don’t think anything can compare.”

Another one of Ms. Fougner’s devoted readers, Krystal Shores Bailey, a 32-year-old stay-home mother who lives outside of Birmingham, Ala., said that she read “Grey” when it came out on Thursday and found it lacking compared with Ms. Fougner’s version.

“I know ‘Grey’s’ going to be a letdown for me,” she said. “I’ve already read it through Emine’s eyes, and I honestly don’t think E. L. James can touch her version of Christian.”

'Fifty Shades of Grey' Author Releasing Own Line of Wine - Recipes

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

The Beginner's Guide to BDSM

If the release of Fifty Shades Darker has you feeling inspired, here's everything you need to know about adding a little spice (and spank) to your sex life.

With Valentine&aposs Day right around the corner and the latest installment in the Fifty Shades movies series, Fifty Shades Darker, hitting theaters today, chances are you could have some sexy thoughts on the brain-so maybe you&aposre looking to kink things up a bit. Fantasies and experimentation are what keep sex exciting, so if you want to tear a page out of Anastasia&aposs steamy sex logs but aren&apost sure where to start, we got you. (And if you&aposre interested in spicing up your solo sex life, we&aposve got you covered there too: 12 Steps to Better Masturbation.)

BDSM 101

BDSM is often referred to as power play or dominant/submissive play, and can involve bondage and discipline (B&D), and sado-masochism (S/M), in which partners explore sensations, including pain, while testing the power dynamics of their relationship, explains certified sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D. "Because it&aposs considered a &apospower exchange,&apos this means that play should be consensual, safe, and sane," she says.

No type of power play is considered "abnormal" so long as those involved in the action are willing participants and it doesn&apost interfere with other aspects of life. You can make the experience whatever you want-some people may dabble in a specific behavior or two, while others prefer to act out entire scenes. (BTW, apparently kinky sex can make you more mindful, so that&aposs another bonus.)

"A little power playing can be just what the doctor ordered for a stagnating sexual relationship because it can shift the dynamic, create a healthy sense of sexual drama, and improve emotional intimacy," says Van Kirk.

Ready to get down to business? Here&aposs everything you need to know about adding a little spice (and spank) to your sex life:

1. Ditch the shame-and do your homework.

"BDSM is about intense sensations, role play, and physical challenges endured for the sake of pleasure," says sexologist Gloria Brame, Ph.D., author of Different Loving Too. "Whatever BDSM games may look like on the outside to frightened prudes, the inside reality is that it&aposs insanely exciting, unbelievably intimate, and so fun that you lose all track of time." However, rushing into BDSM before you&aposve accepted and embraced your needs and given yourself permission to ask for what you really want is, in short, a bad idea. "The number-one mistake women make is expecting their partner to give them permission to enjoy their own fantasies," she says. So, read a lot, surf a lot, and make sure you feel empowered to go after what you want, instead of just dumping fantasies in your partner&aposs lap and expecting someone to act on them.

2. Make a list of what you want to experience in the boudoir.

"Before you deep dive into your fantasies and go naughty before nice, it&aposs actually useful to make a list of what you want and check it twice-once by yourself, and once with your partner," says Los Angeles�sed sexologist Christine Milrod, Ph.D. Planning in advance helps you gauge what each other&aposs boundaries are-breath play might be kosher, but blood play not so much-while building anticipation for the big event. (And if you&aposre not sure what your fantasies even are, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedoms provides a thorough list of practices that fall under the BDSM category.)

3. Approach your partner with a BDSM-positive attitude.

Approaching this particular sex talk in an upbeat, frisky way will make your partner more curious and willing to explore your fantasies. "We&aposre all wired to be curious about sexual variety," says Brame. "We all instinctively want to try things that could make us more turned on too." Need a super-easy way to broach the subject? Read him your favorite passage from a sexy book-you know, the one you read when it&aposs just you and your vibrator. "If nothing else, it&aposs a great place to start the conversation and let him know what turns you on," says Brame.

4. Try each activity one at a time.

"Many people are vastly unprepared and end up going overboard, with less than optimal results," says Milrod. If you want to explore spanking, for example, focus on that activity specifically, thinking about the location of your session (think: bed, or kitchen), laying out the props (hair brush, paddle, riding crop) and then engaging with each other in a way that feels comfortable for both of you, she says. Savor each move, and the effect, whether you&aposre the giver or the receiver.

5. Respect each other's boundaries.

"Creating and adhering to the safe word is paramount," says Milrod. "Activities can always be up for negotiation, but not usually while you&aposre engaged in play. This is why it&aposs so important to write the prescription beforehand-nasty surprises aren&apost always what you bargained for." Always remember that the second it stops being pleasurable to you, it means your relationship has gone to an unhealthy place. "Use safe words, negotiate boundaries, keep it safe, and expect pleasure," says Brame.

6. Don't be afraid to switch things up.

If you&aposre just starting your journey, don&apost limit yourself with labels or assume you&aposll always play only one role. You may find that you enjoy switching roles or that your own definition of yourself needs to be stretched in new ways. "Let your turn-ons guide you to explore new fantasies and roles, and don&apost feel like you must pick one and stick with it," says Brame. (Next up: How to Have a One-Night Stand with Your Partner.)


21-year-old Anastasia "Ana" Steele is an English literature major at Washington State University's satellite campus near Vancouver, Washington. When her roommate, Kate Kavanagh, becomes ill and is unable to interview Christian Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire entrepreneur, for the college newspaper, Ana agrees to go in and takes her place. At Christian's Portland headquarters Ana stumbles her way through the meeting. Christian, who is that year's WSU commencement speaker, takes an interest in her soon after, he visits the hardware store where Ana works, and offers to do a photo shoot to accompany the article for which Ana had interviewed him.

Christian invites Ana for coffee, but leaves abruptly after Ana confesses to being a romantic, saying he is not the man for her. Christian later sends Ana first edition copies of two Thomas Hardy novels, including Tess of the d'Urbervilles, as a gift, with a quote from the latter book about the dangers of relationships, on an accompanying card.

Ana and her friends celebrate graduation at a local bar. After drinking too much, Ana spontaneously calls Christian, saying she is returning the books, and berating his behavior towards her. Christian goes to the bar to find Ana, who then passes out. She wakes up the next morning in Christian's hotel room, but is relieved to find that they were not intimate.

Ana and Christian begin seeing each other, though he insists that she sign a non-disclosure agreement preventing her from revealing details about their dalliance. Christian explains that he has bondage relationships, but only as clearly defined in a contract between the participants. Ana reveals that she is a virgin. While considering the agreement and negotiating her own terms, and after visiting his "playroom", a room stocked with a variety of BDSM toys, furniture and gear, she and Christian have sex. Ana also meets Christian's mother. Ana asks Christian how many girls had lived in his house while he takes her home.

Christian bestows a series of gifts and favors upon Ana, including a new car and a laptop computer. After Ana and Kate move to Seattle, Ana continues seeing Christian. During dinner at Christian's parents, Ana suddenly mentions she is leaving the next day to visit her mother in Georgia. Later, Christian becomes frustrated when Ana says that she wants more than the one-sided relationship he proposes. She is shocked when Christian unexpectedly arrives in Georgia he takes her flying but leaves soon afterward, to tend to an emergency in Seattle.

After returning home, Ana continues seeing Christian, who wants further sexual experimentation. Ana initially consents, but Christian keeps emotionally distant, upsetting her. While still considering the contract, and in an effort to understand Christian psychologically, Ana asks him to demonstrate how he would "punish" her for rule-breaking. Christian whips Ana's buttocks with a belt. Upset and disgusted, Ana breaks up with Christian after concluding that he is wrong for her and his practices border on deviant and excessive.

    as Anastasia "Ana" Steele, a 21-year-old English Literature student attending Washington State University. as Christian Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire, entrepreneur, and CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. as Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh, [6] Anastasia's best friend/roommate who begins a relationship with Christian's older brother, Elliot Grey. as Carla Wilks, [7] Anastasia's mother. as Dr. Grace Trevelyan-Grey, [8] Christian Grey's adoptive mother. as Jose Rodriguez, [9] one of Anastasia's close friends. as Elliot Grey, [10] Christian's adopted older brother. as Mia Grey, [11] Christian's adopted younger sister. as Jason Taylor, [12] Christian's bodyguard and head of his security. as Ray Steele, Anastasia's father. [13] as Carrick Grey, Christian's adoptive father. as Bob Adams, [14] Anastasia's stepfather.
  • Anthony Konechny as Paul Clayton, the brother of the owner of Clayton's Hardware Store.
  • Emily Fonda as Martina as Andrea, [15] Christian's assistant

Development Edit

By early 2012, several Hollywood studios were keen to obtain film rights to The New York Times bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy of novels. [16] Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, Universal, and Mark Wahlberg's production company submitted bids for the film rights. [17] [18] Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the rights to the trilogy in March 2012. [5] Author James sought to retain some control during the movie's creative process. [19] James chose The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti to produce the film. [4] [20]

Although American Psycho writer Bret Easton Ellis publicly expressed his desire to write the screenplay for Fifty Shades of Grey, [21] Kelly Marcel, screenwriter of Saving Mr. Banks, was hired for the job. [22] Patrick Marber was brought in by Taylor-Wood to polish the screenplay, specifically to do some "character work". [23] Universal hired Mark Bomback for script doctoring. [24] Mark Bridges served as the costume designer. [25] Entertainment Weekly estimated the film's budget as "$40 million-or-so". [26]

Direction Edit

By May 9, 2013, the studio was considering Joe Wright to direct, [27] but this proved unworkable due to Wright's schedule. [28] Other directors who had been under consideration included Patty Jenkins, Bill Condon, Bennett Miller, and Steven Soderbergh. [29] In June 2013, E. L. James announced Sam Taylor-Johnson would direct the film adaptation. [30] Johnson was paid over US$2 million for directing the film. [31]

9½ Weeks, Last Tango in Paris, and Blue Is the Warmest Colour were all cited by Taylor-Johnson as inspirations for the film. [32]

In an interview in June 2017, Taylor-Johnson cited difficulties working with author E. L. James, causing her to leave the series. She said: "I can never say I regret it because that would just finish me off. With the benefit of hindsight would I go through it again? Of course I wouldn't. I'd be mad." [33]

Casting Edit

Bret Easton Ellis stated that Robert Pattinson had been James' first choice for the role of Christian Grey, [34] but James felt that casting Pattinson and his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in the film would be "weird". [35] Ian Somerhalder and Chace Crawford both expressed interest in the role of Christian. [36] [37] Somerhalder later admitted if he had been considered, the filming process would ultimately have conflicted with his shooting schedule for The CW's series The Vampire Diaries. [38] On September 2, 2013, James revealed that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson had been cast as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, respectively. [39] The short list of other actresses considered for the role of Anastasia included Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots, Elizabeth Olsen, Shailene Woodley, and Felicity Jones. [40] Keeley Hazell auditioned for an unspecified role. [41] Lucy Hale also auditioned for the film. [42] Emilia Clarke was also offered the role of Anastasia but turned down the part because of the nudity required. [43] Taylor-Johnson would give every actress who auditioned for the role of Anastasia four pages to read of a monologue from Ingmar Bergman's Persona. [32]

The studio originally wanted Ryan Gosling for Christian, but he was not interested in the role. [40] Garrett Hedlund was also considered, but he could not connect with the character. [40] Stephen Amell said he would not have wanted to play the role of Grey because "I actually didn't find him to be that interesting . nothing about Christian Grey really spoke to me." [44] Hunnam initially turned down the role of Christian but later reconsidered it, following a meeting with studio heads. [45] Hunnam said of the audition process: "I felt really intrigued and excited about it so I went and read the first book to get a clearer idea of who this character was, and I felt even more excited at the prospect of bringing him to life. We [Taylor-Johnson and I] kind of both suggested I do a reading with Dakota, who was her favorite, and as soon as we got in the room and I started reading with Dakota I knew that I definitely wanted to do it. There's just like a tangible chemistry between us. It felt exciting and fun and weird and compelling." [46] In response to the negative reaction that the casting drew from fans, producer Dana Brunetti said: "There is a lot that goes into casting that isn't just looks. Talent, availability, their desire to do it, chemistry with other actor, etc. So if your favorite wasn't cast, then it is most likely due to something on that list. Keep that in mind while hating and keep perspective." [47]

During October 2013, actress Jennifer Ehle was in talks for the role of Anastasia's mother Carla. [7] On October 12, 2013, Universal Pictures announced that Hunnam had exited the film due to conflicts with the schedule of his FX series Sons of Anarchy. [48] Alexander Skarsgård, Jamie Dornan, Theo James, François Arnaud, Scott Eastwood, Luke Bracey, and Billy Magnussen were at the top of the list to replace Hunnam as Christian Grey. [49] [50] Finally, on October 23, 2013, Dornan was cast as Christian Grey. [51] On October 31, 2013, Victor Rasuk was cast as José Rodriguez, Jr. [9] On November 22, 2013, Eloise Mumford was cast as Kate Kavanagh. [6] On December 2, 2013, singer Rita Ora was cast as Christian's younger sister Mia. [52] Ora originally wanted to work on the soundtrack. [53] On December 3, 2013, Marcia Gay Harden was cast as Christian's mother, Grace. [8]

Filming Edit

In September, filming was scheduled to start on November 5, 2013, in Vancouver, British Columbia. [54] The following month, producer Michael De Luca announced filming would begin on November 13, 2013. [55] Principal photography was again delayed and eventually started on December 1, 2013. [56] Scenes were filmed in the Gastown district of Vancouver. [57] Bentall 5 was used as the Grey Enterprises building. [58] [59]

The University of British Columbia serves as Washington State University Vancouver, from which Ana graduates. [60] The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was used as the Heathman Hotel. [61] [62] The film was also shot at the North Shore Studios. [63] The production officially ended on February 21, 2014. [64] Reshoots involving scenes between Dornan and Johnson took place in Vancouver during the week of October 13, 2014. [65] The film was shot under the working title "The Adventures of Max and Banks." [66] Uncredited screenwriter Mark Bomback said he "had never been on a project with that much secrecy around it. The set was on lockdown". [67]

The film was the last project worked on by prolific Academy Award-winning editor Anne V. Coates before her death in 2018. [68]

In an alternative ending, both Ana and Christian experience flashbacks. Christian jogs in the rain, while Ana sobs in her apartment. Christian encounters a gift Ana gave him with the note: "This reminded me of a happy time. —Ana". [69]

James said that the film's soundtrack would be released on February 10, 2015. [70] [71] The first single, "Earned It", by The Weeknd, was released on December 24, 2014. [72] On January 7, 2015, the second single, "Love Me like You Do" by Ellie Goulding was released, later reaching the top three on the Billboard Hot 100, and becoming a hit for the soundtrack. [73] A promotional single, "Salted Wound" by Australian recording artist Sia, was released on January 27, 2015. [74] To date, the soundtrack has sold 516,000 copies in the United States. [75]

In February 2013, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson said the film "could be ready to release . as early as next summer." [76] The studio initially announced an August 1, 2014, release. [77] However, in November 2013, it was pushed back to February 13, 2015, in time for Valentine's Day. [78] Fifty Shades of Grey was first screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2015. [79] The film was released in 75 IMAX screens across the US on February 13, 2015. [80] [81]

Marketing Edit

On January 25, 2014, more than a year prior to release, Universal displayed posters with the phrase, "Mr. Grey will see you now", in five locations across the United States. [82]

On July 9, 2014, the book's author, E. L. James, said on Twitter that the film's trailer would be released on July 24, 2014. [83] Beyoncé debuted a teaser for the trailer on her Instagram account five days before the trailer's release. [84] On July 24, Dornan and Johnson were on The Today Show to present part of the trailer appropriate for morning television the full trailer, which contained more racy scenes, was released later the same day on the internet (200 days before its initial theatrical release). The trailer featured a new version of "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé, which was scored and arranged by her frequent collaborator Boots. [85] [86] [87] [88] The trailer was viewed 36.4 million times in the week after its July 24 release. This made it the most viewed trailer on YouTube in 2014, until it was surpassed in October by the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. [89] However, in mid-December the trailer reached 93 million views and was again the most viewed of 2014. [90] The trailer accumulated over 100 million views in its first week of release through different channels and websites, becoming the biggest trailer ever released in history. [91] By February 2015, the trailer had been viewed more than 193 million times on YouTube alone. [92] And by late February, Fifty Shades of Grey related material garnered over 329 million views including 113 million views for its official trailer. [88] A second trailer was released on November 13, 2014. [93] A third trailer aired during Super Bowl XLIX, on February 1, 2015. [94]

The film was promoted through an ad campaign that asked people whether they were "curious". [95] Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution, said: "Our campaign gave people permission to see the film." [96] "Valentines is a big deal for couples and a great relationship event, and the date with the long Presidents Day weekend created a perfect storm for us. This date positioned us to take full advantage of the romance angle, which is how we sold the film in our marketing campaign," he said. [97]

Rating and censorship Edit

There was initial speculation that the film could receive an NC-17 rating in the United States. Studios typically steer away from the adults-only rating due to the impact the classification has on a film's commercial viability, with some theater chains refusing to exhibit NC-17-rated films. While screenwriter Marcel said she expected the film to be NC-17-rated, [98] producer De Luca anticipated the less restrictive R rating. [99] On January 5, 2015, the MPAA did give the film an R rating, basing its decision on "strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and language." [100]

On January 30, in Australia, the film was rated MA15+ by the ACB for "strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity". [101] On February 2, 2015, the British BBFC classified the film an 18 certificate, mentioning "strong sex". [2] In Canada, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, the film was rated at 18A by the OFRB, MFCB, AFR, and BCFCO, respectively, due to its "occasional upsetting or disturbing scenes, and partial or full nudity in a brief sexual situation." [102] [103] In Quebec, the Régie du cinéma rated the movie under the 16+ category for its eroticism. [104] In France, the film earned a 12 rating. [105] In Lebanon, the film earned an NC-21 rating. [106] In Argentina, the Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (the rating arm of the INCAA) rated the film SAM16/R. [107]

Anti-pornography watchdog group Morality in Media argued that the film's R rating "severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film's content", and that the MPAA was encouraging sexual violence by letting the film by without an NC-17 rating. [108]

The film was scheduled for a February 12, 2015, release in Malaysia, but it was denied a certificate by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) for its "unnatural" and "sadistic" content. The LPF chairman, Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, said Fifty Shades was "more pornography than a movie." [109] [110] The film was also banned in Indonesia, [111] Kenya, [111] Russia's North Caucasus, [112] the United Arab Emirates (UAE), [113] Papua New Guinea, [114] Cambodia, [115] and India. [116] The film was released in Nigeria for a week, before being removed from cinemas by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). [117] Studios will not pursue a theatrical release in China. [111]

The sex scenes were censored after protests from various religious groups in the Philippines, and as a result it is in limited release in that country with an R-18 rating from the MTRCB. [110] A similarly cut version was released in Zimbabwe. [118]

Roughly 20 minutes were cut from the film for screening in Vietnam, leaving no sex scenes. The scene in which Ana is beaten with a belt is skipped entirely. [119]

Opposition campaign Edit

On February 2, in Michigan, a man petitioned to halt the film's release at a local Celebration! Cinema. Despite the man's efforts, the president of the cinemas declined to cancel the release of the film. He said, "We've been in business for 70 years and people often times object to content, and it's not our job to censor the content of a widespread movie. It's not in our best interest. It's not in the community's best interest." The film sold 3,000 tickets before the release and was expected to sell a total of 10,000 tickets. [120] [121]

Thomas Williams of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture commented on the release of the film in the United States on Valentine's Day, stating "The irony of Universal Pictures' decision to release its bondage-erotica film Fifty Shades of Grey on the day dedicated to honoring a Christian martyr has not gone unnoticed to many observers, who seem to find the choice unclassy at best." [ citation needed ]

Home media Edit

Fifty Shades of Grey was released via DVD and Blu-ray on May 8, 2015. The Blu-ray edition features an unrated cut of the film [122] the version includes an additional three minutes of footage, the bulk of which are in the form of an alternative ending.

Upon its release on home media in the U.S., the film topped both the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined Blu-ray Disc and DVD sales, as well as the Blu-ray Disc sales chart for two consecutive weeks up to the week ending May 17, 2015. [123]

Box office Edit

Fifty Shades of Grey grossed US$166.2 million in the US and Canada and US$403.5 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of US$569.7 million against a budget of US$40 million. [3] It is currently the fourth-highest-grossing film directed by a woman (behind Mamma Mia!, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Wonder Woman), [124] and at the time of the end of its theatrical run, it was the fourth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time (behind The Hangover Part II, The Passion of the Christ, and The Matrix Reloaded). [125] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be US$256.55 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film. [126]

Tickets went on sale in the United States from January 11, 2015. [92] According to ticket-selling site Fandango, Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest-selling R-rated title in the site's 15-year history, surpassing Sex and the City 2. [127] It also had the biggest first week of ticket sales on Fandango for a non-sequel film, surpassing 2012's The Hunger Games. [127] [128] It is fourth overall on Fandango's list of top advance ticket sales behind The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and The Hunger Games. [129] The demand prompted US theater owners to add new showtimes. [127] [130] Weeks before the film's release, several box office analysts suggested as much as a US$60 million domestic four-day opening [92] [131] [132] [133] [134] while Box Office Mojo reported that a US$100 million opening could be possible. [135]

Outside the United States, Fifty Shades of Grey pre-sold 4.5 million tickets in 39 markets. [136] In the UK, it sold £1.3 million (US$1.9 million) worth of tickets a week before release. [137] On release, it set several records at the box office, including:

Box office record Record details Previous record holder Previous record holder details Ref.
February opening weekend US$85,171,450 The Passion of the Christ (2004, US$83.8 million) [138]
President's Day 4-Day opening weekend for any film US$93,010,350 Valentine's Day (2010, US$63.1 million) [139]
President's Day 4-Day weekend for any film US$93,010,350 Valentine's Day (2010, US$63.1 million) [139]
Widest R-rated opening 3,646 theaters The Hangover Part II (2011, 3,615 theaters) [140]
Valentine's Day gross US$36,752,460 Valentine's Day (2010, US$23,392,046) [141] [142]
Opening weekend for a female directed film US$85,171,450 Twilight (2008, U$69,637,740) [143]
Overseas opening weekend for an R-rated film US$156 million The Matrix Revolutions (2003, US$117 million) [144]
Highest-grossing Universal's R-rated film overseas US$385.1 million Ted (2012, US$330 million) [145]

United States and Canada Edit

In the US and Canada, it is the highest-grossing sex film, [146] the seventeenth highest-grossing film of 2015, [147] and the fourth-highest-grossing romantic film of all time. [148] It opened in the US and Canada simultaneously with Kingsman: The Secret Service on Thursday, February 12, 2015, across 2,830 theaters [149] [150] and was widened to 3,646 theaters the next day making it the widest R-rated opening (surpassed by Mad Max: Fury Road), [151] and the fourth-widest R-rated release of all time. [152] It earned US$8.6 million from Thursday night previews which is the second-highest late-night gross for a film released in February (behind Deadpool) and the third-highest for an R-rated film (behind Deadpool and The Hangover Part II). [149] [153] The film topped the box office on its opening day grossing US$30.2 million (including Thursday previews) from 3,646 theaters setting a record for highest February opening day (previously held by The Passion of the Christ) and fourth-highest overall among R-rated films. [154] [155] During its traditional three-day opening the film opened at No. 1 at the box office earning US$85.1 million, setting records for the biggest opening weekend for a film released in February (a record previously held by The Passion of the Christ). [142] Women comprised 82% of the total audiences during its opening day, [156] and 68% on Valentine's Day. [157]

Revenue from the second weekend dropped massively by 73.9% to US$22.25 million, which is the second-biggest drop for a 3,000-plus-screen release (only behind Friday the 13th ' s 80.4% drop) and the biggest for a 3,500-plus-screen release. [158] [159] [160] It is just the eighth film to open on more than 3,000 screens to drop by 70% or more. [161] The film topped the box office for two consecutive weekends before falling to No. 4 in its third weekend while Focus took the top spot. [162] [163]

Other countries Edit

Outside the US and Canada, box office analysts were predicting as much as US$158 million opening. [164] [165] [166] It opened Wednesday, February 11, 2015, in 4 countries, earning US$3.7 million. [167] It opened in 34 more countries on February 12, earning US$28.6 million in two days. [168] The film set opening-day records for Universal Pictures in 25 markets and opening day records for an R-rated film in 34 territories. [165] [166] Through Sunday, February 15, it earned an opening-weekend total of US$156 million from 58 countries from 10,979 screens (US$173.6 million through Monday) where it opened at No. 1 in 54 of the 58 countries, marking the biggest overseas opening for an R-rated film, the fourth-biggest of 2015, and Universal's third-biggest overseas opening weekend ever. [144] The film set an all-time opening record in 13 markets, Universal's biggest opening weekend ever in 30 markets and biggest opening for any R-rated film in 31 markets. [144]

The biggest opener outside of the United States was witnessed in the UK, Ireland and Malta, where it earned £13.55 million (US$20.8 million) in its opening weekend, which is the biggest debut ever for an 18-rated film and the second-biggest for a non-sequel film (behind I Am Legend). [169] [170] In just 10 days of release it became the highest-grossing 18-rated film of all time. [171] It topped the UK box office for two consecutive weekends. [172] Other high openings include Germany (US$14.1 million), France (US$12.3 million), Russia (US$11 million), Italy (US$10.1 million), Spain (US$8.7 million), Brazil (US$8.3 million), Mexico (US$8.1 million), Australia (US$8 million). [144] In Japan, the film was unsuccessful opening at No. 5 with $682,000 but falling out of the top 10 the following week. [173] [174] The Hollywood Reporter cited out possible reasons for the film's failure, attributing it to the "delayed release of the new Japanese-language editions of the books, poor timing for the film release and an R-15, re-edit blurring out parts of the sex scenes." [175]

It topped the box office outside of the US for three consecutive weekends [176] until it was overtaken by Warner Bros.' Jupiter Ascending in its fourth weekend. [177] It became Universal Pictures' highest-grossing R-rated film of all time overseas (breaking Ted ' s record), [145] Universal Pictures' highest-grossing film in 14 countries, [nb 1] and Universal Pictures' eighth-highest-grossing film overseas. [178] In total earnings, its largest markets overseas are the UK, Ireland and Malta (US$52.5 million), Germany (US$43.7 million), Brazil (US$31.3 million), France (US$29.5 million), and Spain (US$22.6 million). [179] [180] [181]

Critical response Edit

Fifty Shades of Grey received generally negative reviews, with criticism of its screenplay, pacing and Dornan's and Johnson's acting however, some critics noted it as an improvement over the book, and others praised the cinematography and set design. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 24% based on 282 reviews, with an average rating of 4.20/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen." [182] Metacritic gave the film a score of 46 out of 100, based on reviews from 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [183] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale. [184]

Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that "the dialogue is laughable, the pacing is sluggish and the performances are one-note." [185] Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times wrote: "Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, for the record, is not quite as bad as Fifty Shades of Grey the book. But that's not saying much". [186] We Got This Covered critic Isaac Feldberg gave the film one and a half stars out of five and wrote that it "feels like two, distinct films grappling for dominance over the screen: one a sensual and stylish romance, and the other a numbingly explicit Harlequin bodice-ripper brought to life. Regrettably, the latter and lesser of the two ends up on top". [187] The Guardian lead film critic Peter Bradshaw gave the film one star out of five, calling it "the most purely tasteful and softcore depiction of sadomasochism in cinema history" with "strictly daytime soap" performances. [188] A. O. Scott of The New York Times called the movie "terrible", but wrote that "it might nonetheless be a movie that feels good to see, whether you squirm or giggle or roll your eyes or just sit still and take your punishment." [189]

In a positive review for The Daily Telegraph, Robbie Collin called the film "sexy, funny and self-aware in every way the original book isn't." [190] Elizabeth Weitzman of New York's Daily News praised the directing, screenplay, and Johnson's performance, but called Dornan's performance, the leads' chemistry, and the supporting cast "underused". She praised the film for honoring the essence of its source and the director's way of balancing "atmosphere with action". [191] In The Guardian, Jordan Hoffmann awarded the film three out of five stars, writing, "this big screen adaptation still manages to be about people, and even a little bit sweet", and that the sex scenes "are there to advance the plot, and only the most buttoned-up prude will be scandalised." [192] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B−, writing: "This perfectly normal way of consuming erotica suggests that the movie Fifty Shades of Grey will work better as home entertainment, when each viewer can race past the blah-blah about how well Christian plays the piano and pause on the fleeting image of the man minus his pants." [193] In The Sydney Morning Herald, Timothy Laurie and Jessica Kean argue that "the film provides a language for decision-making around violence more developed than most Hollywood fodder", and that "film fleshes out an otherwise legalistic concept like 'consent' into a living, breathing, and at times, uncomfortable interpersonal experience. It dramatises the dangers of unequal negotiation and the practical complexity of identifying one's limits and having them respected." [194]

Various critics noted similarities between Fifty Shades of Grey and Adrian Lyne's 9½ Weeks (1986). [195] [196] [197] Both films are literary adaptations, centering on a sadomasochistic affair. [198] [199]

In June 2012, the film company Smash Pictures announced its intent to film a pornographic version of the Fifty Shades trilogy, entitled Fifty Shades of Grey: An XXX Adaptation. [200] A release date of January 10, 2013 was announced. [201] In November 2012, Universal, which had secured the Fifty Shades film rights, filed a lawsuit against Smash Pictures, stating that the film violated its copyright in that it was not filmed as a parody adaptation but "copies without reservation from the unique expressive elements of the Fifty Shades trilogy, progressing through the events of Fifty Shades of Grey and into the second book, Fifty Shades Darker". [202]

The lawsuit asked for an injunction, for the profits from all sales of the film, as well as damages, [203] saying that "a quickly and cheaply produced pornographic work [. ] is likely to cause Plaintiffs irreparable harm by poisoning public perception of the Fifty Shades Trilogy and the forthcoming Universal films." [204] Smash Pictures responded to the lawsuit by issuing a counterclaim and requesting a continuance, stating that "much or all" of the Fifty Shades material was part of the public domain because it was originally published in various venues as a fan fiction based on the Twilight series. A lawyer for Smash Pictures further commented that the federal copyright registrations for the books were "invalid and unenforceable" and that the film "did not violate copyright or trademark laws". [205] The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and Smash Pictures agreed to stop any further production or promotion of the film. [206]

In April 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported that E. L. James' husband, Niall Leonard, was enlisted to write the script for the film's sequel. [207] In the same month, at the 2015 Universal CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Universal announced the release dates of the sequels, with Fifty Shades Darker being released on February 10, 2017, and Fifty Shades Freed was released on February 9, 2018. [208] However, the sequels did not see Sam Taylor-Johnson returning as director. [209] On August 20, 2015, the U.S. House of Cards director James Foley was a frontrunner to direct the sequel. [210] In November 2015, Universal Studios announced that both films will be shot back-to-back. [211]

A spoof version of the film, Fifty Shades of Black, was released on January 29, 2016, in North America. Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez wrote the script, in which Wayans stars as Christian Black. The film was distributed by SquareOne Entertainment in Germany and Open Road Films in the United States [212] IM Global produce and finance it, as well as handling international releases. Kali Hawk parodied the role of Anastasia Steele, with supporting cast including Affion Crockett, Mike Epps, Jane Seymour, and Fred Willard. [213] It was released theatrically on January 29, 2016 and described as less funny "than the unintentionally-funny film it's trying to lampoon." [214]

Watch the video: 50 Shades of Grey Wine (January 2022).