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'Fifty Shades of Grey' Film Rights Secured by Universal

Erotic novel was subject of bidding war

March 26, 2012 12:45 PM ET
'Fifty Shades of Grey'
'Fifty Shades of Grey'
Vintage Books & Anchor Books

Unversal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired the screen rights to E.L. James' hit erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey for an undisclosed amount following an intense bidding war, reports Deadline Hollywood. The book, which evolved into a trilogy with its own unique characters and storyline from Twilight fan fiction, tells the story of a young woman who is seduced by a fabulously wealthy older man.

The Fifty Shades trilogy, which includes Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Free, has become an e-book phenomenon largely by word of mouth. According to Deadline, all of the major studies were scrambling to score rights to James' story, which is hoped to repeat the book-series-to-film-franchise of Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games. Still, the overt, non-vanilla sexuality of the story will likely lead to an R rating and relatively modest box office, much like David Fincher's film adaptation of the smash hit novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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