Fifty Shades Darker (film)

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Fifty Shades Darker
A masked woman in a white dress, being held as if dancing by a man in a tuxedo.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Foley
Produced by
Screenplay by Niall Leonard
Based on Fifty Shades Darker
by E. L. James
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Edited by Richard Francis-Bruce
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • February 7, 2017 (2017-02-07) (Hamburg)
  • February 10, 2017 (2017-02-10) (United States)
Running time
131 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million[2][3]
Box office $378.8 million[3]

Fifty Shades Darker is a 2017 American erotic romantic drama film directed by James Foley and written by Niall Leonard, based on E. L. James' novel of the same name. The second film in the Fifty Shades film series, it is the sequel to the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey. The film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, respectively, with Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Bella Heathcote, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Kim Basinger and Marcia Gay Harden in supporting roles.

Principal photography on Fifty Shades Darker and its sequel Fifty Shades Freed began on February 9, 2016, in Paris and Vancouver. It was released in the United States on February 10, 2017. The film received negative reviews, with criticism aimed at its screenplay, acting and narrative. It grossed $378 million worldwide against its $55 million budget, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of 2017.

Plot[edit]

After breaking up with his girlfriend, Christian Grey begins having nightmares about the abuse he suffered during his childhood. Anastasia "Ana" Steele has begun her new job as an assistant to Jack Hyde, an editor at Seattle Independent Publishing, who appears to show more than a casual interest in Ana. That evening, she attends Jose Rodriguez's art gallery show and is shocked to find Christian there. With some reluctance she agrees to have dinner with him. Christian tells her that he wants her back, but Ana is reluctant as he enjoys inflicting pain. He insists that he has changed and would agree to Ana's terms of no rules and no punishments if they would resume their relationship. She agrees.

A few days later, Ana is interrupted by a woman who bears a striking resemblance to her. She later goes out with Jack at a local bar. Christian sees Ana's boss flirting with her in the bar. He quickly departs with Ana and he warns Ana of Jack's undisguised intentions. Christian also tells Ana that his own company has been looking to take-over control and ownership of SIP, where Ana works.

While out for breakfast with Christian, Ana notices the same woman watching them from a distance. When she asks him who it is, he does not immediately answer. At home, he reveals to her that the woman she saw was Leila Williams, one of his former submissives. He tells her that after their contract had ended, she wanted more to their relationship but he didn't want to. She later found herself a husband, who then died. This caused her to suffer a mental breakdown and she has been stalking Ana and Christian for some time.

Later, Christian invites Ana to a masquerade ball at Christian's adoptive parents' house. Christian takes Ana to Esclava, a beauty salon, to get her prepared for the ball. There, she sees Elena Lincoln, Christian's former dominant who introduced him to the BDSM lifestyle. Ana is furious that he would take her there and is shocked to find out that he co-owns the salon with Elena. At the ball, Ana learns that Christian had been expelled from four different schools for brawling. She also learns that Christian's mother was a prostitute addicted to crack. He reveals that his birth mother had committed suicide and he was taken to a hospital, where Grace Trevelyan Grey took care of him and later adopted him. Later, Ana is accosted by Elena, who demands she break up with Christian. Ana refuses Elena's warnings and tells her to stop meddling in their relationship. When they arrive home, they discover Ana's car had been vandalized by Leila.

A few days later, when the offices close at SIP, Jack tries to seduce Ana while she is in the office. Ana manages to escape from the office leaving Jack behind. When Christian finds out about this he arranges to have Jack dismissed from SIP by talking to the CEO. He also asks Ana to move in with him and she agrees after giving a thought. The next day, Ana gets Jack's now vacant position on a temporary basis as an acting editor for SIP.

Ana and Christian go to her apartment to retrieve her belongings. There, Leila appears and threatens her with a gun, revealing she vandalized Ana's car out of jealousy. When she shoots a wall behind Ana, Christian and Jason Taylor appear and Christian subdues Leila. Ana, seeing that Christian needs to be satisfied by his controlling and dominant personality, walks out and does not return home until later at night. Christian is furious at her and she tries to calm him, saying that she needs time. Christian, who does not want to lose Ana, drops down to his knees and turns to a submissive. When she manages to bring him back, they kiss and have sex. During that night, Ana hears Christian having a nightmare and wakes him. He asks her to marry him and she says she needs time to consider this.

In the ensuing days, Christian has an out of town business trip. While piloting in his own helicopter, the helicopter suffers an engine breakdown, which causes Christian to ditch in a forest. Ana and Christian's family wait for more news regarding Christian. When Christian unexpectedly arrives, Ana is overwhelmed to see him safe. Ana then realizes the extent of her affections for Christian and she accepts his marriage proposal.

At Christian's birthday party, Ana is surprised to see Elena there. When they announce their engagement, Elena becomes furious and calls Ana a gold digger. Ana angrily throws her drink at Elena and tells her to stop interfering in their relationship. Christian overhears the conversation and dismissively tells Elena that she taught him how to fuck and not how to love. Grace overhears that conversation, slaps Elena and orders her to leave her house. Christian then cuts all ties with Elena. Later, he proposes to Ana with a ring at the boathouse and she accepts. As the fireworks erupt in the sky, Jack watches the festivities from afar.

Cast[edit]

  • Dakota Johnson as Anastasia "Ana" Steele
  • Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
  • Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde, Ana’s boss at SIP and Christian’s romantic rival.
  • Eloise Mumford as Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh, Anastasia’s best friend and roommate, who begins a relationship with Christian’s older brother, Elliot Grey.
  • Bella Heathcote as Leila Williams, one of Grey’s former submissives.
  • Rita Ora as Mia Grey, Christian’s adoptive younger sister.
  • Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey, Christian’s adoptive older brother.
  • Victor Rasuk as José Rodriguez, one of Anastasia’s friends.
  • Kim Basinger as Elena Lincoln, Grey’s business partner and former lover.
  • Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Trevelyan-Grey, Christian’s adoptive mother.
  • Max Martini as Jason Taylor, Christian’s bodyguard and head of security.
  • Bruce Altman as Jerry Roach, president of SIP.
  • Robinne Lee as Ros Bailey
  • Fay Masterson as Gail Jones
  • Andrew Airlie as Carrick Grey, Christian’s adoptive father.
  • Amy Price-Francis as Elizabeth Morgan, head of personnel at SIP.
  • Jennifer Ehle as Carla Wilks, Anastasia's mother (Unrated Edition).
  • Dylan Neal as Bob, Anastasia's stepfather (Unrated Edition).

Production[edit]

Universal Pictures and Focus Features secured the rights to the trilogy in March 2012,[4] and Universal is the film's distributor. The first book of the series was adapted into a film by the same name, and released on February 13, 2015. The adaptation was produced by Focus,[5] Michael De Luca Productions, and Trigger Street Productions.[6] In March 2014, a producer of the first film, Dana Brunetti, had said there were, as of then, no solid plans to make a sequel.[7] Before the first film opened, there was high anticipation from fans for the sequel. After the first film premiered at a special fan screening in New York City on February 6, director Sam Taylor-Johnson announced that the book sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed would also be adapted, with the first to be released in 2016.[8] Right after the announcement, the director told Digital Spy that "it's not my decision, and I haven't been privy to any of the discussions."[9]

On March 25, 2015, Taylor-Johnson officially left the franchise.[10] On April 2, 2015, Deadline confirmed that De Luca had left Sony Pictures to return to Universal to produce the Fifty Shades sequels.[11][12] On April 22, 2015, it was announced that E.L. James' husband, Niall Leonard, would write the script for the sequel.[13] In April 2015, Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley told The Hollywood Reporter that the second installment would be "more of a thriller."[14] In July 2015, it was confirmed that singer Rita Ora would reprise her role, Mia Grey, in the sequel.[15] On August 20, 2015, it was revealed by Deadline that James Foley was the front-runner to direct the sequel and third film Fifty Shades Freed, while the studio was also eyeing other directors, including Rebecca Thomas, Mark Pellington, and Tanya Wexler, and talks with Foley had not yet begun.[16] On November 12, 2015, TheWrap confirmed that Foley would direct both sequels, which would be shot back-to-back in 2016, with Michael De Luca and Brunetti returning to produce, along with E.L. James.[17] Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were confirmed to return for the sequels.

Casting[edit]

On January 28, 2016, Kim Basinger joined the film, to play Elena Lincoln, Grey's business partner and former lover, while Luke Grimes, Eloise Mumford and Max Martini were set to reprise their characters from the first film.[18] On February 5, Bella Heathcote was cast as Leila, one of Grey's former submissives.[19] In the same month, Eric Johnson was cast to play Jack Hyde.[20][21] On February 18, Robinne Lee and Fay Masterson joined the film's cast.[22] On February 26, Tyler Hoechlin was cast to play Boyce Fox,[23] and on April 7, it was reported that Hugh Dancy had joined to play Dr. John Flynn, Grey's psychiatrist; neither actor appeared in the finished film.[24]

Filming[edit]

Filming took place in Vancouver, among other locations where much of the first film was shot.

Principal photography was initially set to begin in Vancouver in June 2015.[25] However, it was later postponed due to delays in the script.[13] It was later reported that filming would begin in February 2016 in Vancouver, while the studio North Shore Studios was booked for the film.[26][27] In November 2015, Universal Studios announced that the film and Freed would be shot back-to-back, with principal photography scheduled to commence in early 2016.[28] Filming took place in Paris and Vancouver from February 9, 2016 to July 12, 2016, under the working title, "Further Adventures of Max and Banks 2 & 3."[29][30][31] Principal photography concluded on April 11, 2016.[32]

Release[edit]

Fifty Shades Darker was released on February 10, 2017, by Universal Pictures.[33] The Digital HD was released on Amazon and iTunes on April 25, 2017 while the DVD/BluRay debuted on May 9, 2017 and took the number one spot in sales.[34]

Marketing[edit]

On September 15, 2016, Universal released the film's first official trailer, which amassed an unprecedented 114 million views in its first 24 hours, from various digital platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. It received more than 2.5 million views on the film's official Facebook page. Over 39.4 million views came from North America, while 74.6 million views came from over 32 international markets, including the U.K., Mexico and France. This broke the previous record, held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when it received 112 million views in the same amount of time in October 2015.[35] The record was later surpassed by the second trailer for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, with 127.6 million views in November 2016.[36]

Rating[edit]

On November 10, 2016, like the first film, the sequel was given an R rating by the MPAA for "strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity and language."[37]

In Canada, the film was classified under 18A for mainly its sexual content in all provinces except Quebec.[38][39][40][41][42][43] In Quebec, which has a different rating system, it was classified under 16+ for its "eroticism".[44] In the United Kingdom, the film was given an 18 certificate for "strong sex".[1]

In the Philippines, the film received an R-18 rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), which means that only moviegoers aged 18 years and above can watch the film, due to its strong sexual content.[45][46]

Music[edit]

The film's soundtrack was released in two separate versions; one for the 19 popular artists' songs used in the film, and another separate release for the original score composed for the film by Danny Elfman. Two of Elfman's themes were also included on the popular artists' version of the soundtrack release. The film's theme song, "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" by Zayn and Taylor Swift was released on December 9, 2016.[47] The following month, on January 13, 2017, Halsey released the soundtrack's next single, "Not Afraid Anymore".

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Fifty Shades Darker grossed $115.4 million in the United States and Canada and $265.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $378.8 million, against a production budget of $55 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, Fifty Shades Darker opened alongside two other sequels, The Lego Batman Movie and John Wick: Chapter 2, and was projected to gross $32–40 million in its opening weekend.[48][49] It earned $5.72 million from Thursday night previews at 3,120 theaters, down from the $8.6 million grossed by its predecessor two years prior, but still the sixth-best Thursday preview gross for an R-rated film. The film made $21.5 million on Friday, down 30% from the first film's $30 million opening day, but topped the box office that day. It went on to debut to $46.8 million, down 45% from the first film's $85.1 million, and finished second at the box office behind The Lego Batman Movie ($55.6 million).[50] The film grossed $11 million on Valentine's Day, marking the second-highest amount for when the holiday fell on a weekday, behind The Vow ($11.6 million in 2012), and bringing its five-day gross to $61.5 million.[51] In its second weekend, the film grossed $22 million, again finishing second at the box office behind The Lego Batman Movie. This marked a 55% drop from its first weekend gross, and was almost exactly the amount the first film grossed in its second weekend ($22.3 million), only that marked a drop of 73.9% from its respective debut.[52] In its third weekend, it grossed $7.7 million, dropping to 5th at the box office.[53]

Outside North America, the film was simultaneously released in 57 countries, and was expected to gross $115–155 million over its first three days.[2] It ended up grossing $97.8 million in its opening weekend, the fourth largest R-rated international opening of all-time. Its top grossing locations included Germany ($11 million), the United Kingdom ($9.7 million), France ($8.7 million), Brazil ($7.5 million), Italy ($6.8 million), and Russia ($6.7 million).[54]

Critical response[edit]

Much like its predecessor, Fifty Shades Darker received criticism for its screenplay, narrative and Dornan's performance.[55] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 160 reviews, with an average rating of 3.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lacking enough chemistry heat or narrative friction to satisfy, the limp Fifty Shades Darker wants to be kinky but only serves as its own form of punishment."[56] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a score of 33 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[57] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, an improvement over the "C+" earned by its predecessor.[58]

Richard Roeper gave the film two out of four stars, saying: "This is one good-looking, occasionally titillating, mostly soapy and dull snooze-fest."[59] Vince Mancini of Uproxx acknowledged the film's flaws, but said watching the film was enjoyable, noting, "Narrative sloppiness aside, as an outsider, sitting through Fifty Shades Darker was a reasonably diverting experience, odd, dumb fun made even more fun by an audience that whooped and shouted at the screen during sex scenes. I didn’t really get it, but I enjoyed the feeling of them having fun, though at two hours plus, it’s a bit of a slog."[60]

Manohla Dargis writing for The New York Times expressed similar ambiguous opinions regarding the content of the film, stating:

I was still rooting for Ms. Johnson in Fifty Shades Darker, even if it proved tough going. Once again, the story involves the on-and-off, tie-her-up, tie-her-down romance between Anastasia Steele (Ms. Johnson) and her billionaire boyfriend, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), a guy with sculptured muscles, expensive playthings and dreary issues. Stuff and kink happens: A gun is fired, a would-be rapist is punished and Anastasia is bound hand and foot. Mostly, she advances and retreats (repeat), mewls and moans, and registers surprise each time Christian tries to dominate her outside the bedroom, evincing the kind of stalkerlike behavior that usually leads to restraining orders.[61]

Richard Brody of The New Yorker described the film as inferior to the first, and found fault in the change in directors, stating:

Some of the greatest Hollywood melodramas (such as Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession) featured plotlines of an even more extravagant absurdity than that of Fifty Shades Darker. Their extreme artifice became a framework for extreme ideas and extreme emotions, even in an era of extreme public reticence about what goes on in the bedroom. The freedom of the current age of sexual explicitness invites realms of characterization—and of intimate imagination—that the first film in the Fifty Shades series hints at and the second one utterly ignores. Fifty Shades Darker's indifference to its characters’ identities, conflicts, and desires is matched by its indifference to its own cinematic substance. The film’s bland impersonality is grotesque; its element of pornography isn’t in its depiction of sex but in its depiction of people, of relationships, of situations that, for all their unusualness, bear a strong psychological and societal resonance. There’s nothing wrong with Fifty Shades Darker that a good director couldn’t fix.[62]

Sequel[edit]

The final installment of the trilogy was filmed back-to-back with Fifty Shades Darker and is set for release on February 9, 2018.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]