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‘Fifty Shades of Grey:’ Big Audiences, Bad Reviews


A film poster for "Fifty Shades of Grey" is pictured at Regal Theater in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12, 2015.

A film poster for "Fifty Shades of Grey" is pictured at Regal Theater in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12, 2015.

The movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” opened last week and sold more than $300 million worth of tickets worldwide. That is more than seven times the amount it cost to make the film.

A sequel seems probable. However, the writer of the book it is based on reportedly wants more creative power in the making of a sequel.

The industry newspaper Variety says E. L. James plans to write her own script for “50 Shades Darker.” But Universal Pictures is “resistant” to the idea. The studio has not even officially announced that it is making a sequel. It is holding discussions.

The movie has not done nearly as well with the critics. Several movie critics called the film “boring” and “tedious.” A USA Today newspaper review said watching it “may feel like its own form of torture.”

The little praise the movie did receive is directed mainly toward actor Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, a sexually innocent college student. Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey, a young, rich and powerful businessman who becomes Anastasia’s lover. The movie is an exploration of their sexual relationship that includes control and bondage.

Both the book and movie versions of “Fifty Shades of Grey” found larger audiences among women than men. Of course, some men are seeing the movie, although not without risk. A Danish reporter caught one man on camera walking out of the room where “Fifty Shades” had just ended. As soon as he saw the camera he smiled sheepishly and turned around, walking back into the theater. That video has gone viral on the Internet.

American football player Russell Wilson also got some unwanted attention after seeing the movie. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback tweeted “great movie,” after the show. Many of his Twitter followers responded with displeasure. Some said that the movie is immoral and that Wilson was not demonstrating Christian values.

American Olympian Lolo Jones also tweeted about “Fifty Shades,” but not because she saw it. She criticized the movie for religious reasons and suggested people go see something else. She tweeted “God didn’t create sex for that purpose.”

The movie has caused debate and protests at theaters in the U.S. and Europe. Some say it is sexist and could promote violence against women. Others argue that it is empowering, saying Anastasia makes her choices freely.

Some teenagers in Florida also became very angry when they were barred from a theater showing “Fifty Shades of Grey,” because they were too young. About 100 of the young people forced their way in. There were no injuries, but the police were called to restore law and order.

On the other hand, many people who did not necessarily want to see “Fifty Shades of Grey” could not avoid it. The film was shown at an outdoor theater on a huge screen that could be seen from a road nearby.

And some children in Colorado came close to seeing the very adult movie. They had gathered at a theater to watch the new animated children’s movie, “Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water.” But, “Fifty Shades” lit up the screen instead.

The theater caught the mistake very early in the film and quickly made the replacement.

I’m Anne Ball.

Caty Weaver wrote this story for Learning English. ­­­­­­­­­­­Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sequel – n. a book, movie, etc., that continues a story begun in another book, movie, etc.

bondagen. sexual activity that involves tying a person up for pleasure.

viraln. (slang) to become very popular very quickly on the Internet

screen n. a large, flat, white surface on which images or movies are shown

animated adj. produced by the creation of a series of drawings, pictures, etc., that are shown quickly one after another: produced through the process of animation

Would you see a movie like "50 Shades of Grey," or do you find the subject offensive? Let us know. Post your thoughts in the comments section.

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