This Valentine’s Day, women of all legal ages will be flocking to the cinema to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, Fifty Shades of Grey. The film is based off the monumentally popular novel of the same name by writer E.L. James. In case you have been living under a rock lately, Fifty Shades of Grey is this year’s hotly hyped novel to film adaptation. The novel, which originated as a piece of Twilight fan fiction, has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Since its release, the book has undergone quite a bit of controversy, particularly among members of the BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominant and Submissive, Sadism and Masochism) community for inaccurately depicting sexual acts common in their community, and for confusing abuse and rape with hot, dangerous sex. Regardless of the novel’s impact, the film adaptation has solidified Fifty Shades of Grey as part of pop culture and will no doubt lead to many discussions as people leave the theatre.
The film is tracking for a $60 million opening weekend according to movie website Deadline. Ticket sales have been through the roof with almost every advanced screening completely sold out. Word of mouth so far has not been favourable. Critics are panning the film, particularly for its slow build and lack of a proper story. Those who have read the book are also pointing out that the steamier sex scenes have been either heavily toned down or eliminated completely. This will definitely cause fan outrage if true. Jamie Dornan is also not receiving much praise for his portrayal as billionaire Christian Grey, the love interest for young college student Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson). Regardless of the reception, the film will easily turn a profit this weekend.
For the action junkies, X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn has adapted the comic book CIA spoof Kingsman: The Secret Service. The ultra violent action comedy starring Colin Firth will most likely end up in a distant second place, and it’s unsure whether it will have the advantage of word of mouth in the coming weekends. The film was due for a Fall 2014 release but was delayed to a Winter 2015 for unconfirmed reasons. The film should prove to be a nice alternative for the non-Fifty Shades crowd. So far, the film is tracking quite well. Some critics have dismissed it as senseless violence, while others have praised it for its self aware humour, parodies of secret agent films like the James Bond series, and for a church scene where Colin Firth’s character kills 79 people. It’s most likely that fans of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz will definitely get enjoyment out of this movie.
The other movies being released this weekend have nowhere near the buzz of the above two. The Last Five Years, a romantic musical starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, opens in limited release. The film is based off Tony Award winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s play of the same name. TIFF Midnight Madness winner What We Do in the Shadows is also opening in very limited release. This vampire comedy follows a family trying to integrate into society in a mockumentary style not unlike The Office, and is sure to develop an even larger cult following. The Voices, a Ryan Reynolds crime comedy about a disturbed man who talks to his pets while pursuing his crush, will see a small theatrical release, as will Best Foreign Language Film nominee Timbuktu.