One of the more interesting things coming up this week is the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, the first in a planned trilogy adapted from the novel series of the same name. Already projected to break at least $45 million opening weekend, with some speculating that $60 million is possible, Fifty Shades of Grey is the next film to explicitly go for two things: A hard R rating and a strictly female audience.
The first was Sex and the City, to properly emulate its beginnings as an HBO original franchise turned film, and Fifty Shades of Grey is looking to bring in the same audience. One imagines a book trilogy that finds its origin in S&M that found its core audience among women would have to go for it, of course, as the film’s big to do surrounded casting its male star for the approval of its female audience. After Jax from SoAtook the role, and then walked away shortly thereafter, the casting of Christian Grey hah been one of intense speculation and eventual breakdown when Jamie Dornan was eventually cast.
So far you can probably green light both sequels into production right now without a problem based on its domestic box office alone. But the more interesting storyline around the film, at least to me, is the raging dumpster fire it appears to be based on its initial press tour to promote the film. A press tour can give you a great insight into a film’s quality, as well as the feelings of the cast about it, based on what they’re saying to press and fans before its release.
And so far … Fifty Shades of Grey is looking like its going to be a franchise that makes its bones the same way that Twilight did: by culling in its core audience from the novel series in a sort of camp masterpiece. It won’t be from the film’s quality, or lack thereof, and certainly won’t for any nudity or graphic sex scenes either. Both of the leads have said that they had significant no-nudity clauses, thus expect mainly PG-13 level nudity mixed with enough S&M to earn an R. There hasn’t been any stories of the film needing to be cut down from an NC-17, thus one can expect enough S&M to make it risque by soccer mom standards in the same way Twilight was just vampire enough for teen girls (but maintain a PG-13 rating).
Twilight is arguably the best comparison, admittedly for an older audience, and commercially it could do similar numbers. Twilight hit similar numbers in 2008, with a roughly $70 milion opening en route to a sizable haul, as Fifty Shades of Grey is projected to. Both have sizable audiences, too, as Grey sold 100 million plus copies of the novel. This won’t be the cultural zeitgeist that Twilight was, because we are living in a world where Brian Williams’ daughter got her salad tossed on HBO recently, but it will bring in that rare audience of soccer moms en masse.
But will it be good? I don’t think it matters, much like the Twilight franchise.
And now on MMC … we listen to Chael Sonnen keeping it real on “Louder with Crowder.”
If you want to pimp anything email it to me with a good reason why. It helps to bribe me with stuff, just saying ….
A Movie A Week – The Challenge
This week’s DVD – Whitey: United States of America vs. James J Bulger
Want to hear the truth about the messed up story that partially inspired The Departed? Then check out the true story behind James “Whitey” Bulger, Boston criminal mastermind and the inspiration of Jack Nicholson’s character in the Martin Scorsese crime epic.
The documentary covers the trial of Bulger, caught after being one of the FBI’s most wanted for decades, trying to get an even perspective on everything. The problem is that film feels rushed; it’s a good two hours but it would work much better as a mini series to cover as much ground of the past, and of the trial, as it wants to.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 tall boys of Red Fox and community college co-eds with low standards at the Fox and Hound
Fifty Shades of Grey – S&M for soccer moms.
Skip it – So far it’s a book that’s apparently awful … with a trailer that looks awful. Yeah, this is probably going to stink.
Kingsman: The Secret Service – Colin Firth becomes James Bond.
See it – So far the trailer looks terrible … but Firth is normally a good indicator that a film is good.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .