Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 American erotic romantic drama film directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson with a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (based on E.L. James' 2011 novel of the same name) starring Dakota Johnson and 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.
Despite receiving generally unfavorable reviews, it was an immediate box office success, breaking numerous box office records and earning over $571 million worldwide.
It was also 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 while its sequels "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" are scheduled to be released on February 10, 2017, and February 9, 2018, respectively.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
Twenty-one-year-old Anastasia "Ana" Steele (Dakota Johnson) is an English literature major at Washington State University'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 after, 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 her first edition copies of two Thomas Hardy novels (including "Tess of the d'Urbervilles") as a gift.
Ana and her friends celebrate graduation and after drinking too much, Ana spontaneously calls Christian saying she is returning the books and berating his behavior towards her. Concerned, he goes to the bar to find Ana, who 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, she and Christian engage in some of Christian's desired sexual practices.
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. He leaves soon after to tend to an emergency in Seattle.
After returning home, Ana continues seeing Christian, who still 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.
It 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 alternate 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 a note which read, "This reminded me of a happy time. —Ana".
- Dakota Johnson as Anastasia "Ana" Steele
- Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- Eloise Mumford as Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh, Anastasia's best friend and roommate
- Jennifer Ehle as Carla Wilks, Anastasia's mother
- Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian's adoptive mother
- Victor Rasuk as Jose Rodriguez, one of Anastasia's close friends
- Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey, Christian's adoptive brother
- Rita Ora as Mia Grey, Christian's adoptive sister
- Max Martini as Jason Taylor, Christian's bodyguard and head of his security
- Callum Keith Rennie as Ray Steele
- Andrew Airlie as Carrick Grey, Christian's adoptive father
- Dylan Neal as Bob Adams, Anastasia's step-father
- Anthony Konechny as Paul Clayton, the brother of the owner of Clayton's Hardware Store
- Emily Fonda as Martina
- Rachel Skarsten as Andrea, Christian's assistant
By early 2013, several Hollywood studios were keen to obtain film rights to the New York Times bestselling "Fifty Shades" trilogy of novels.
Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, Universal and Mark Wahlberg's production company put in bids for the film rights. Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the rights to the trilogy in March 2013. Author James sought to retain some control during the movie's creative process.
James chose "The Social Network" producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti to produce the film. Although "American Psycho" writer Bret Easton Ellis publicly expressed his desire to write the screenplay for the film, Kelly Marcel, screenwriter of Saving Mr. Banks, was hired for the job. Patrick Marber was brought in by Taylor-Wood to polish the screenplay, specifically to do some “character work”.
Universal hired Mark Bomback for script doctoring. Mark Bridges served as the costume designer. Entertainment Weekly estimated the film's budget as "$40 million-or-so".
By May 9, 2013, the studio was considering Joe Wright to direct, but this proved unworkable due to Wright's schedule. Other directors who had been under consideration included Patty Jenkins, Bill Condon, Bennett Miller, and Steven Soderbergh. In June 2013, E. L. James announced Sam Taylor-Johnson would direct the film adaptation.
Bret Easton Ellis stated that Robert Pattinson had been James' first choice for the role of Christian Grey, but James felt that casting Pattinson and his Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart in the film would be "weird".
Ian Somerhalder and Chace Crawford both expressed interest in the role of Christian. 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."
On September 2, 2013, James revealed that Charlie Hunnam and Dakota Johnson had been cast as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, respectively.
The short list of other actresses considered for the role of Anastasia included Alicia Vikander, Imogen Poots, Elizabeth Olsen, Shailene Woodley and Felicity Jones. Keeley Hazell auditioned for an unspecified role. Lucy Hale also auditioned for the film. Emilia Clarke was also offered the role of Anastasia but turned down the part because of the nudity required. 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.
The studio originally wanted Ryan Gosling for Christian, but he was not interested in the role. Garrett Hedlund was also considered, but he could not connect with the character. 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."
Hunnam initially turned down the role of Christian but later reconsidered it following a meeting with studio heads. 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."
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."
During October 2013, actress Jennifer Ehle was in talks for the role of Anastasia's mother Carla. 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."
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. Finally, on October 23, 2013, Dornan was cast as Christian Grey. On October 31, 2013, Victor Rasuk was cast as José Rodriguez, Jr.
On November 22, 2013, Eloise Mumford was cast as Kate Kavanagh.
On December 2, 2013, singer Rita Ora was cast as Christian's younger sister Mia. Ora originally wanted to work on the soundtrack.
On December 3, 2013, Marcia Gay Harden was cast as Christian's mother, Grace.
In September of 2013, filming was scheduled to start on November 5, 2013, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The following month, producer Michael De Luca announced filming would begin on November 13, 2013.
Principal photography was again delayed and eventually started on December 1, 2013. Scenes were filmed in the Gastown district of Vancouver. Bentall 5 was used as the Grey Enterprises building.
The University of British Columbia serves as Washington State University Vancouver, from which Ana graduates. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver was used as the Heathman Hotel.
The film was also shot at the North Shore Studios. The production officially ended on February 21, 2014. Reshoots involving scenes between Dornan and Johnson took place in Vancouver during the week of October 13, 2014. The film was shot under the working title "The Adventures of Max and Banks."
In February 2013, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson said the film "could be ready to release ... as early as next summer."
The studio initially announced an August 1, 2014, release. However, in November 2013, it was pushed back to February 13, 2015, in time for Valentine's Day.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" was first screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2015. The film was released in 75 IMAX screens across the US on February 13, 2015.
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.
On February 14, 2014, the first photograph of Johnson as Anastasia was released. On June 18, 2014, the film's official Twitter account released the first still of Dornan as Christian in honor of Christian's birthday.
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. Beyoncé debuted a teaser for the trailer on her Instagram account five days before the trailer's release.
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. 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. However, in mid-December the trailer reached 93 million views and was again the most viewed of 2014.
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.
By February 2015, the trailer had been viewed more than 193 million times on YouTube alone. And by late February, "Fifty Shades of Grey" related material garnered over 329 million views including 113 million views for its official trailer. A second trailer was released on November 13, 2014. A third trailer aired during Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.
The film was promoted through an ad campaign that asked people whether they were "curious".
Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution said: "Our campaign gave people permission to see the film."
He said, "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."
Rating and CensorshipEdit
There was initial speculation that "Fifty Shades of Grey" 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, producer De Luca anticipated the less restrictive R rating. 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."
On January 30, in Australia, the film was rated MA15+ by the ACB for "strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity". On February 2, 2015, the British BBFC classified the film an 18 certificate, mentioning "strong sex".
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."
In Quebec, the Régie du cinéma rated the movie under the 16+ category for its eroticism. In France, the film earned a 12 rating.
In Lebanon, the film earned an NC-21 rating. In Argentina, the Advisory Commission of Cinematographic Exhibition (the rating arm of the INCAA) rated the film SAM16/R.
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.
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."
The film was also banned in Indonesia, Kenya, Russia's North Caucasus, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and India. The film was released in Nigeria for a week, before being removed from cinemas by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). Studios will not pursue a theatrical release in China.
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. A similarly cut version was released in Zimbabwe.
Roughly twenty 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.
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."
By February 7, one of the petitions had garnered more than 53,000 signatures.
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.
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."
"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.
It is the third-highest-grossing film directed by a woman (behind Kung Fu Panda 2 and Mamma Mia!), and the fourth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $256.55 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film.
Tickets went on sale in the United States from January 11, 2015. 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.
It also had the biggest first week of ticket sales on Fandango for a non-sequel film, surpassing 2012's The Hunger Games.
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. The demand prompted US theatre owners to add new showtimes.
Weeks before the film's release, several box office analysts suggested as much as a $60 million domestic four-day opening while Box Office Mojo reported that a $100 million opening could be possible.
Outside the United States, "Fifty Shades of Grey" pre-sold 4.5 million tickets in 39 markets. In the UK, it sold £1.3 million ($1.9 million) worth of tickets a week before release.
In the U.S. and Canada, it is the highest-grossing sex film, the seventh highest-grossing film of 2015, and the fourth-highest-grossing romantic film of all time.
It opened in the U.S. and Canada simultaneously with Kingsman: The Secret Service on Thursday, February 12, 2015, across 2,830 theaters and was widened to 3,646 theaters the next day making it the widest R-rated opening (surpassed by Mad Max: Fury Road) and the fourth widest R-rated release of all time.
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).
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.
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).
Women comprised 82% of the total audiences during its opening day and 68% on Valentine's Day.
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. It is just the eighth film to open on more than 3,000 screens to drop by 70% or more.
"Fifty Shades" topped the box office for two consecutive weekends before falling to No. 4 in its third weekend while Focus took the top spot.
Outside North AmericaEdit
Outside the U.S. and Canada, box office analysts were predicting as much as $158 million opening. It opened Wednesday, February 11, 2015, in 4 countries, earning $3.7 million. It opened in 34 more countries on February 12, earning $28.6 million in two days.
The film set opening day records for Universal Pictures in 25 markets and opening day records for an R-rated film in 34 territories.
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.
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.
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).
In just 10 days of release it became the highest-grossing 18-rated film of all time. It topped the UK box office for two consecutive weekends. 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).
In Japan, the film was unsuccessful opening at No. 5 with $682,000 but falling out of the top 10 the following week.
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."
It topped the box office outside of North America for three consecutive weekends until it was overtaken by Warner Bros.' Jupiter Ascending in its fourth weekend. It became Universal Pictures' highest-grossing R-rated film of all time overseas (breaking Ted's record), Universal Pictures' highest-grossing film in 14 countries, and Universal Pictures' eight-highest-grossing film overseas.
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).
"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.
The review aggregator website Metacritic gave the film a score of 46 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On Rotten Tomatoes, another review aggregator, the film was reviewed positively by 25% of 228 critics, with a rating average of 4.2/10.
The site's consensus reads, "While creatively better endowed than its print counterpart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a less than satisfying experience on the screen."
In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
Claudia Puig of USA Today wrote that "the dialogue is laughable, the pacing is sluggish and the performances are one-note."
Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times wrote that "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."
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.".
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.
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."
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."
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".
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."
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."
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."
Various critics have noted the similarities between "Fifty Shades of Grey" and Adrian Lyne's 1986 film "9½ Weeks". Both films are literary adaptations, centering on a sadomasochistic affair.