UK teenagers under 18 who were hoping to see Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele hop from the page to the big screen later this month have just had their desires dashed. The British Board of Film Classification has given Universal and Focus Features’ Fifty Shades Of Grey an 18 rating — meaning no one under that age will be admitted to the feature adaptation of EL James’ erotic novel. That’s contrary to the North American R rating which will see under 17s allowed entry, provided they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian. When the MPAA made its call, it did so for “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.” The BBFC today cited “strong sex and nudity, along with the portrayal of erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices. There are also strong verbal references to such practices and the instruments used.” The censor passed the film with no cuts.
Sam Taylor-Johnson’s take on the mega-selling story of the relationship between a kinky billionaire (Jamie Dornan) and a college student (Dakota Johnson), will be released day-and-date over Valentine’s weekend. The first rollouts begin February 11 in Belgium and France. It also premieres as a Berlinale Special Gala at the Berlin Film Festival on the 11th.
Stateside, Fifty Shades Of Grey has been the fastest selling advance ticket R-rated title in Fandango’s 15-year history. It’s also broken records elsewhere and has spurred a phenomenon in France where advance purchasing is somewhat unusual. According to Le Parisien, it’s expected that about 100,000 seats will be reserved by the 11th — many of them for opening night, and also for ladies-only screenings on the 13th. The film is not yet rated in France, but is expected to come with a warning.