Fifty Shades of Grey (film)

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Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty-Gray-poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Produced by
Screenplay by Kelly Marcel
Based on Fifty Shades of Grey
by E. L. James
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release date
  • February 9, 2015 (2015-02-09) (Los Angeles)
  • February 13, 2015 (2015-02-13) (United States)
Running time
128 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[2]
Box office $571 million[2]

Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 American erotic romantic drama film directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, with a screenplay by Kelly Marcel. The film is based on the eponymous 2011 novel by British author E. L. James and stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, a college graduate who begins a sadomasochistic relationship with young business magnate Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan.

The film premiered at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2015, and had a wide theatrical release on February 13, 2015, by Universal Pictures and Focus Features.[3][4] Despite receiving generally unfavorable reviews, it was an immediate box office success, breaking numerous box office records and earning over $571 million worldwide.

The film was the most rewarded at the 36th Golden Raspberry Awards, winning five of six nominations, including Worst Picture (tied with Fantastic Four) and both leading roles. In contrast, Ellie Goulding's single "Love Me Like You Do" was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, while The Weeknd's single "Earned It" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

It is the first film in the Fifty Shades film series and was followed by two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker (2017) and Fifty Shades Freed (2018).

Plot[edit]

Twenty-one-year-old Anastasia "Ana" Steele (Dakota Johnson) is an English literature major at Washington State University ("WSU")'s satellite campus near Vancouver, Washington. Her roommate, Kate Kavanagh (Eloise Mumford), becomes ill and is unable to interview Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a 27-year-old billionaire entrepreneur, for the college newspaper. Ana agrees to go in her place and meets Christian at his Seattle headquarters, literally stumbling her way through the meeting. Christian, who is that year's WSU commencement speaker, takes an interest in her; soon afterward, he visits the hardware store where Ana works. He agrees to Ana's request for a photo shoot to accompany the article.

After the photo shoot, Christian invites Ana for coffee, but he leaves abruptly, 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.

Ana and her friends go to a bar to celebrate graduation, and Ana spontaneously calls Christian, saying she is returning the books and berating his behavior towards her. He goes to the bar to find Ana, even though she doesn't tell him where she is. While they are talking at the bar, Ana passes out. She wakes up the next morning in Christian's hotel room and is relieved when he says 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 alliance. Christian explains that he only has interrelations involving bondage that is clearly defined in a signed contract. 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.

Christian bestows Ana with gifts and favors, such as a new car and laptop computer. After Ana and Kate move to Seattle, Ana grows closer to Christian. One night, she accompanies him to his parents' house. During dinner, Ana suddenly mentions she is leaving the next day to visit her mother in Georgia. Later, Christian becomes frustrated when Ana expresses she wants romance rather than the one-sided relationship he proposes. She is shocked when Christian unexpectedly arrives in Georgia and meets her in the hotel where she is dining with her mother. He takes Ana on a glider flight, and she feels thrilled. He 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 and participates willingly. Christian, however, keeps Ana 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 six times with a belt, making her count out each strike. When he attempts to help her up, she angrily shoves him away, upset and disgusted. That treatment is far from Ana's romantic expectations, and she leaves after concluding that Christian is wrong for her, and that his practices border on being deviant and excessive.

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".[5]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

By early 2013, 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 2013.[4] 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.[3][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 $2 million for directing the film.[31]

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

Casting[edit]

Bret Easton Ellis stated that Robert Pattinson had been James' first choice for the role of Christian Grey,[33] but James felt that casting Pattinson and his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in the film would be "weird".[34] Ian Somerhalder and Chace Crawford both expressed interest in the role of Christian.[35][36] 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.[37] On September 2, 2013, James revealed that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson had Even cast as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, respectively.[38] The short list of other actresses considered for the role of Anastasia included Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots, Elizabeth Olsen, Shailene Woodley, and Felicity Jones.[39] Keeley Hazell auditioned for an unspecified role.[40] Lucy Hale also auditioned for the film.[41] Emilia Clarke was also offered the role of Anastasia but turned down the part because of the nudity required.[42] 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.[39] Garrett Hedlund was also considered, but he could not connect with the character.[39] 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."[43] Hunnam initially turned down the role of Christian but later reconsidered it, following a meeting with studio heads.[44] 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."[45] In response to the negative fan reaction the casting drew, 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."[46]

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.[47] 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.[48][49] Finally, on October 23, 2013, Dornan was cast as Christian Grey.[50] 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.[51] Ora originally wanted to work on the soundtrack.[52] 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.[53] The following month, producer Michael De Luca announced filming would begin on November 13, 2013.[54]

Principal photography was again delayed and eventually started on December 1, 2013.[55] Scenes were filmed in the Gastown district of Vancouver.[56] Bentall 5 was used as the Grey Enterprises building.[57][58]

The University of British Columbia serves as Washington State University Vancouver, from which Ana graduates.[59] The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was used as the Heathman Hotel.[60][61]

The film was also shot at the North Shore Studios.[62] The production officially ended on February 21, 2014.[63] Reshoots involving scenes between Dornan and Johnson took place in Vancouver during the week of October 13, 2014.[64] The film was shot under the working title "The Adventures of Max and Banks."[65]

Music[edit]

James said that the film's soundtrack would be released on February 10, 2015.[66][67] The first single, "Earned It", by The Weeknd, was released on December 24, 2014.[68] 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.[69] A promotional single, "Salted Wound" by Australian recording artist Sia, was released on January 27, 2015.[70] To date, the soundtrack has sold 516,000 copies in the United States.[71]

Release[edit]

Jamie Dornan at the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey, Berlinale 2015

In February 2013, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson said the film "could be ready to release ... as early as next summer."[72] The studio initially announced an August 1, 2014, release.[73] However, in November 2013, it was pushed back to February 13, 2015, in time for Valentine's Day.[74] Fifty Shades of Grey was first screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2015.[75] The film was released in 75 IMAX screens across the US on February 13, 2015.[76][77]

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.[78] On February 14, 2014, the first photograph of Johnson as Anastasia was released.[79] On June 18, 2014, the film's official Twitter account released the first still of Dornan as Christian in honor of Christian's birthday.[80]

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.[81] Beyoncé debuted a teaser for the trailer on her Instagram account five days before the trailer's release.[82] 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.[83][84][85][86] 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.[87] However, in mid-December the trailer reached 93 million views and was again the most viewed of 2014.[88] 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.[89] By February 2015, the trailer had been viewed more than 193 million times on YouTube alone.[90] And by late February, Fifty Shades of Grey related material garnered over 329 million views including 113 million views for its official trailer.[86] A second trailer was released on November 13, 2014.[91] A third trailer aired during Super Bowl XLIX, on February 1, 2015.[92]

The film was promoted through an ad campaign that asked people whether they were "curious".[93] Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution, said: "Our campaign gave people permission to see the film."[94] "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.[95]

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,[96] producer De Luca anticipated the less restrictive R rating.[97] 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."[98]

On January 30, in Australia, the film was rated MA15+ by the ACB for "strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity".[99] On February 2, 2015, the British BBFC classified the film an 18 certificate, mentioning "strong sex".[1] 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."[100][101] In Quebec, the Régie du cinéma rated the movie under the 16+ category for its eroticism.[102] In France, the film earned a 12 rating.[103] In Lebanon, the film earned an NC-21 rating.[104] In Argentina, the Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (the rating arm of the INCAA) rated the film SAM16/R.[105]

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.[106][107]

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."[108][109] The film was also banned in Indonesia,[110] Kenya,[110] Russia's North Caucasus,[111] the United Arab Emirates (UAE),[112] Papua New Guinea,[113] Cambodia,[114] and India.[115] The film was released in Nigeria for a week, before being removed from cinemas by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).[116] Studios will not pursue a theatrical release in China.[110]

The film's 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.[109] A similarly cut version was released in Zimbabwe.[117]

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.[118]

Opposition campaign[edit]

On January 28, 2015, a campaign in the United States by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation started two petitions to boycott the film's release. Their website makes more than 50 allegations that the film has a negative impact on the community. It said, "Hollywood is advertising the Fifty Shades story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women. The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable. Fifty Shades models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check."[119] By February 7, one of the petitions had garnered more than 53,000 signatures.[120]

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.[121][122]

The American Family Association called for theaters not to show the film: "The irony is not lost that the film's main character is named, 'Christian,' while this film presents anything but a 'Christian' view of intimacy... It is the epitome of elevating abuse, and we call on all theaters to reject promoting such abuse on their screens."[123]

Thomas Williams of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture commented in fringe publication Breitbart News on the release of the film in the United States on Saint 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."[124]

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;[125] the version includes an additional three minutes of footage, the bulk of which are in the form of an alternate 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.[126]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $166.2 million in North America and $404.8 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $571 million, against a budget of $40 million.[2] It is the third-highest-grossing film directed by a woman (behind Kung Fu Panda 2 and Mamma Mia!),[127] and the fourth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time.[128] Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $256.55 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.[129]

Tickets went on sale in the United States from January 11, 2015.[90] 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.[130] It also had the biggest first week of ticket sales on Fandango for a non-sequel film, surpassing 2012's The Hunger Games.[130][131] 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.[132] The demand prompted US theatre owners to add new showtimes.[130][133] Weeks before the film's release, several box office analysts suggested as much as a $60 million domestic four-day opening[90][134][135][136][137] while Box Office Mojo reported that a $100 million opening could be possible.[138]

Outside the United States, Fifty Shades of Grey pre-sold 4.5 million tickets in 39 markets.[139] In the UK, it sold £1.3 million ($1.9 million) worth of tickets a week before release.[140] On release, it set several records at the box office, including:

Box office record Record details Previous record holder Previous record holder details Ref(s)
February opening weekend $85,171,450 The Passion of the Christ (2004, $83.8 million) [141]
President's Day 4-Day opening weekend for any film $93,010,350 Valentine's Day (2010, $63.1 million) [142]
President's Day 4-Day weekend for any film $93,010,350 Valentine's Day (2010, $63.1 million) [142]
Widest R-rated opening 3,646 theaters The Hangover Part II (2011, 3,615 theaters) [143]
Valentine's Day gross $36,752,460 Valentine's Day (2010, $23,392,046) [144][145]
Opening weekend for a female directed film $85,171,450 Twilight (2008, $69,637,740) [146]
Overseas opening weekend for an R-rated film $156 million The Matrix Revolutions (2003, $117 million) [147]
Highest-grossing Universal's R-rated film overseas $385.1 million Ted (2012, $330 million) [148]

North America[edit]

In the U.S. and Canada, it is the highest-grossing sex film,[149] the seventeenth highest-grossing film of 2015,[150] and the fourth-highest-grossing romantic film of all time.[151] It opened in the U.S. and Canada simultaneously with Kingsman: The Secret Service on Thursday, February 12, 2015, across 2,830 theaters[152][153] and was widened to 3,646 theaters the next day making it the widest R-rated opening (surpassed by Mad Max: Fury Road),[154] and the fourth widest R-rated release of all time.[155] It earned $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).[152][156] The film topped the box office on its opening day grossing $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.[157][158] During its traditional three-day opening the film opened at No. 1 at the box office earning $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).[145] Women comprised 82% of the total audiences during its opening day,[159] and 68% on Valentine's Day.[160]

Revenue from the second weekend dropped massively by 73.9% to $22.25 million, which is the second-biggest drop for a 3,000+ screen release (only behind Friday the 13th's 80.4% drop) and the biggest for a 3,500+ screen release.[161][162][163] It is just the eighth film to open on more than 3,000 screens to drop by 70% or more.[164] 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.[165][166]

Outside North America[edit]

Outside the U.S. and Canada, box office analysts were predicting as much as $158 million opening.[167][168][169] It opened Wednesday, February 11, 2015, in 4 countries, earning $3.7 million.[170] It opened in 34 more countries on February 12, earning $28.6 million in two days.[171] The film set opening day records for Universal Pictures in 25 markets and opening day records for an R-rated film in 34 territories.[168][169] Through Sunday, February 15, it earned an opening-weekend total of $156 million from 58 countries from 10,979 screens ($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.[147] 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.[147]

The biggest opener outside of the United States was witnessed in the UK, Ireland and Malta, where it earned £13.55 million ($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).[172][173] In just 10 days of release it became the highest-grossing 18-rated film of all time.[174] It topped the UK box office for two consecutive weekends.[175] Other high openings include Germany ($14.1 million), France ($12.3 million), Russia ($11 million), Italy ($10.1 million), Spain ($8.7 million), Brazil ($8.3 million), Mexico ($8.1 million), Australia ($8 million).[147] In Japan, the film was unsuccessful opening at No. 5 with $682,000 but falling out of the top 10 the following week.[176][177] 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."[178]

It topped the box office outside of North America for three consecutive weekends[179] until it was overtaken by Warner Bros.' Jupiter Ascending in its fourth weekend.[180] It became Universal Pictures' highest-grossing R-rated film of all time overseas (breaking Ted's record),[148] Universal Pictures' highest-grossing film in 14 countries,[nb 1] and Universal Pictures' eight-highest-grossing film overseas.[181] In total earnings, its largest markets overseas are the UK, Ireland and Malta ($52.5 million), Germany ($43.7 million), Brazil, ($31.3 million), France ($29.5 million) and Spain ($22.6 million).[182][183][184]

Critical response[edit]

Fifty Shades of Grey was criticized for its acting, writing, and pacing; however, some critics noted it as an improvement over the book and praised the performance of Dakota Johnson. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 25% based on 243 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site'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."[185] The review aggregator website Metacritic gave the film a score of 46 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[186] In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[187]

Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that "the dialogue is laughable, the pacing is sluggish and the performances are one-note."[188] 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."[189] 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.".[190] 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.[191] 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."[192]

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."[193] 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".[194] 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."[195] 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."[196] 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."[197]

Various critics have noted the similarities between Fifty Shades of Grey and Adrian Lyne's 9½ Weeks (1986).[198][199][200] Both films are literary adaptations, centering on a sadomasochistic affair.[201][202]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Awards
Award Category Recipients and nominees Result Ref
Academy Awards Best Original Song Belly, Stephan Moccio, Jason Quenneville, and The Weeknd for "Earned It" Nominated [203]
Brit Awards British Single of the Year Ellie Goulding for "Love Me like You Do" Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Song "Love Me like You Do" Nominated [204]
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Tove Lo, Ali Payami and Ilya Salmanzadeh for "Love Me like You Do" Nominated [205]
Grammy Awards Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Fifty Shades of Grey: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Nominated [206]
Best Song Written for Visual Media Savan Kotecha, Max Martin, Tove Lo, Ali Payami and Ilya Salmanzadeh for "Love Me like You Do" Nominated
Ahmad Balshe, Stephan Moccio, Jason Queenneville and Abel Tesfaye for "Earned It" Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Performance Dakota Johnson Nominated [207]
Best Kiss Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite Dramatic Movie Fifty Shades of Grey Nominated [208]
Satellite Awards Best Original Song "Love Me like You Do" Nominated [209]

Pornographic-adaptation lawsuit[edit]

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.[210] A release date of January 10, 2013, was announced.[211] 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".[212]

The lawsuit asked for an injunction, for the profits from all sales of the film, as well as damages,[213] 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."[214] 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".[215] 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.[216]

Sequels[edit]

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.[217] 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 scheduled for February 9, 2018.[218] However, the sequels will not see Sam Taylor-Johnson returning as director.[219] On August 20, 2015, the U.S. House of Cards director James Foley was a frontrunner to direct the sequel.[220] In November 2015, Universal Studios announced that both films will be shot back-to-back.[221]

Parody[edit]

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;[222] IM Global produce and finance it, as well as handling international releases. Kali Hawk parodied the role of Anastesia Steele, with supporting cast including Affion Crockett, Mike Epps, Jane Seymour and Fred Willard.[223] Principal photography began on August 11, 2015, in Los Angeles, with a production budget of around $5 million.[223][224]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It is Universal Pictures' highest-grossing film of all time in Brazil, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Venezuela, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Paraguay, Romania, Serbia/Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.[181]

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