With Sam Taylor-Johnson's "Fifty Shades of Grey" poised to become a hit this weekend, it's looking more likely we'll see another 50 or a hundred shades on the big screen--and possibly from the same filmmaker.
E.L. James wrote two sequels to her massive bestseller--"Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed"--and they each could well be turned into films.
Taylor-Johnson's return would be a question mark -- directors taking a big career step up, as she is with this film, often leave for other pastures once their movie breaks out.
But while making "Grey" wasn't always smooth sailing — Taylor-Johnson has acknowledged butting heads with James on set, Taylor-Johnson told the "Today" show she'd be willing to return for another installment.
"Yes," she said when asked for a one-word reply from host Erica Hill whether she's "on board" for a second go-round.
Continuing the series generally would seem to be a no-brainer for studio Universal, particularly since the source material is already in place — along with a rabid fan base. The books have sold more than 100 million copies, despite being dismissed by some as "mommy porn" (or because of it).
And "Fifty Shades of Grey's" box office prospects look strong. The movie -- which chronicles the torrid relationship between a mousy college student (Dakota Johnson) and a kinky billionaire (Jamie Dornan) -- cost about $40 million to make and could open to up to $60 million, according to some early tracking estimates.
A Universal spokeswoman underscored to The Times that there has been no official announcement on a sequel. Taylor-Johnson also said in an interview that, "Everyone's just waiting with bated breath to see how this fares before setting two and three."
But such caution hasn't stopped fans from sending out ecstatic, emoji-filled tweets when the news was hinted at during a fan screening with the filmmaker and stars in New York. "There will be a fifty shades darker and freed!! I cantt!," wrote one user.
Times staff writer Rebecca Keegan contributed to this report.
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