Some major news on the future of the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise was revealed at CinemaCon on Thursday. The film released earlier this year is based on the first novel in a trilogy. With the film grossing $568.8 million at the worldwide box office, it was fair to assume the studio would be adapting the next two novels into films as well. That ended up being the case as Universal used their panel at CinemaCon to announce the release dates of the next two sequels to Fifty Shades of Grey. The second film, Fifty Shades Darker, will be released on February 10, 2017. The third film, Fifty Shades Freed, will be released on February 9, 2018.
The announcement comes on the heels of the news that Niall Leonard, the husband of Fifty Shades author E.L. James, will be writing the screenplay for the second film, which was reported by THR. Leonard is an author and screenwriter himself. He has written for several British television series, along with doing some uncredited work on the script for Fifty Shades of Grey.
It’s surprising to see Universal did not choose to follow the latest trend by splitting the final book into two films. This has become a trend among film franchises based on novels such as Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and recently Divergent. Although 2018 is pretty far away, the studio could always end up changing their minds from now until then.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson will not be returning to direct the sequel. James still has a large amount of creative control when it comes to the film adaptations of her novels. This caused several clashes between the director and the author. As a result, Sam Taylor-Johnson will not be apart of the franchise any longer. It remains to be seen who ends up directing the sequel. Meanwhile, stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are negotiating to reprise their roles in the sequel. Since the studio has announced dates for the future films, the actors are probably close to signing on to star in the sequels.
Fifty Shades Darker is set to be released in North America on February 10, 2017. Fifty Shades Freed is set to be released in North America on February 9, 2018.