The film adaptation of E.L. James' "Fifty Shades Darker" has been whipped mercilessly by critics, but fans of the author's bondage-themed erotica series don't seem to care.
The novel, a sequel to the publishing phenomenon "Fifty Shades of Grey," has been hovering in the top 200-300 bestselling books on Amazon this week, a respectable rating for a 5-year-old novel that one caps-lock-loving, grammar-hating customer called "THE MOST HORRENDOUS WASTE OF PAPER AND INK ... AS HAS EVER BEEN FOISTED ON PUBLIC."
The popularity of the book almost certainly isn't due to the film's critical reviews, which have been brutal. The movie is rated at 9% on the website Rotten Tomatoes, putting it in a league with, for example, the 2001 stinker "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles."
It has been a boon for headline writers, however. "Sexier Auditing Reports Exist Than This Absurd Film," opined the Irish Independent. "Glutton for Punishment? Then See '50 Shades Darker,' " declared the Salt Lake Tribune.
James' books have continued to dominate at bookstores, however, despite the spanking they've received at the hands of critics. The series has sold more than 150 million copies, and the English author doesn't seem concerned about its reception among the cognoscenti.
She told "Entertainment Tonight" that she might expand her erotica trilogy sometime in the future.
"There's a chance," she said, when asked about the possibility of another "Fifty Shades" book. "But I've got other things I'd like to do. I've written another novel as well."
And while book and film critics have looked down their noses at "Fifty Shades," James has plenty of loyal fans who are enthralled by the saga of billionaire Christian Grey and girlfriend Anastasia Steele.
"I can name a hundred heart-soaring, heart-rending and breathtaking moments in this book," gushed one Amazon customer about "Fifty Shades Darker." Another wrote, "I didn't care for the sex in the first book, but in this book WOW! So much better. Still Kinky, but not degrading or humiliating, Very hot!!!!"
And moviegoers didn't seem to care about the negative reviews for the new film, either. The movie earned $146 million worldwide over the weekend. It was a respectable opening, but not enough to beat "The Lego Batman Movie."
(Headline writers had fun with that too. " 'Lego Batman' Dominates 'Fifty Shades Darker,' " wrote USA Today.)