'Fifty Shades of Grey' to hit the big screen Aug. 1, 2014

Looks like summertime is the right time for a little "Fifty Shades of Grey."

Focus Features announced today that it will release the sure-to-be R-rated romance next summer against Marvel's new superhero movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" with Benicio del Toro and Chris Pratt.

The film based on a steamy novel will bow Aug. 1, 2014, in North America. Universal Pictures International will distribute the film internationally. That studio has not yet set the film's global release dates.

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While the bestselling novel that tracks the virginal Anastasia Steele and the controlling billionaire Christian Grey's lurid romance has yet to land its lead cast, the high-profile project nabbed a director -- Sam Taylor-Johnson ("Nowhere Boy") -- last week.

Kelly Marcel ("Saving Mr. Banks") wrote the screenplay from the first book in the trilogy written by British author E.L. James.

To date the "Fifty Shades" trilogy has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide.

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