Fifty Shades of Grey guaranteed box office success whatever the critics say

Film critics might declare it "flaccid" and decry the lack of S&M, but Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film won't frustrate the box office

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The Independent Culture

With one cinema chain boasting over £1 million in ticket sales a week before the film opens, Fifty Shades of Grey is going to be a box office hit whatever the reviews say.

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

From the first critical responses it appears that Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film isn’t getting critics hot under the collar, but with EL James’ raunchy books having sold more than 100 million copies worldwide there is no way that a flaccid (sorry) response will keep fans from checking the film out.

The film, which has its world premiere at the Berlin film festival tonight, ahead of its UK premiere tomorrow, stars Jamie Dornan as S&M-loving billionaire Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson as his lover Anastasia Steele.

Cinemas are preparing for audiences to flock in in droves. While a leaked memo from DIY store B&Q said staff have been asked to prepare for an increase in demand for rope, cable ties and tape.

Nonetheless, the first reviews are a mixed bag with one disappointed critic pointing out that sex only makes up 15 minutes of the film, while another praised the film for showing “artful restraint”.


Writing in USA Today, Claudia Puig said: "Those looking for hot, kinky sex will be disappointed. Fewer than 15 of the movie's 125 minutes feature sex scenes.

"Discussion of contracts and objections over line items outweigh erotica. Even the graphic nudity grows numbing."

The Hollywood Reporter described Johnson as "captivating" as the English literature graduate who falls under Grey's spell. It praises the film's "artful restraint" explaining that "the sex scenes suggest more than those of the standard Hollywood drama without quite going there".

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) made director Sam Taylor-Johnson's take on the so-called "mummy porn" story an 18 certificate, but said the work "passed uncut".

Taylor-Johnson admitted she had creative differences with the best-selling author, whose books have won legions of fans around the world.

She told Porter magazine: "It was difficult, I'm not going to lie.

"We definitely fought - but they were creative fights and we would resolve them."

She added: "We would have proper on-set barneys, and I'm not confrontational, but it was about finding a way between the two of us, satisfying her vision of what she'd written as well as my need to visualise this person on screen. But, you know, we got there."

The three books written by James have reportedly been translated into more than 50 languages