Considering Fifty Shades of Grey's casting delays and fiascos galore (Hunnamgate!), it wasn't exactly surprising to find out earlier this month that the movie's release has been bumped from August 1, 2014 to February 13, 2015. But now we're learning that the Valentine's Day-adjacent premiere may mean a MAJOR romantic makeover for the movie ...
See, Universal's new filmed entertainment chairman Jeff Shell has knowingly set up a face-off between Christian and Ana's steamy story and another "chick flick": Nicholas Sparks' The Longest Ride, which opens the same day. As a result, he and the whole Fifty Shades team, it seems, are shooting to make the risque flick a more appealing pick for "date night" than girls' night ...
Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, explains to The Hollywood Reporter:
They want to turn it into a date movie. I don't know if guys really want to see Fifty Shades, but if they can pull it off, the box office will explode.
This does raise some interesting Qs. The foremost being: Will straight men see the film adaptation of a book that's been perpetually referred to as "mummy porn"? I dunno ... It's all gonna boil down to how the film is executed and, of course, how it's marketed. If they do both R-rated and NC-17-rated versions, as producer Dana Brunetti floated recently, I could see some guys being interested in the dirtier cut! But I'm not so sure they'll be all about E.L. James story otherwise ...
More from The Stir: Top 5 Steamiest Things We Know About the '50 Shades' Movie ... So Far (VIDEO)
I'm also shocked that Universal would add another gamble to the pile of risks they're already taking with the movie. Dakota Johnson can say Fifty Shades is an incredible love story 'til the cows come home, but how many people believe that? How many couples are going to want to see it together ... in the theater? I could even see some women being squeamish about seeing it with their girlfriends, especially if faced with buying a ticket to the controversial flick OR a much more mainstream, mushy romance, like Nicholas Sparks' The Longest Ride.
Either way, Universal seems confident that February 13 is going to be much more profitable than August 1 would've been, what with women being too busy in late summer with "family vacations and back-to-school prep." Sigh.
Who are you planning on seeing Fifty Shades with? Between Fifty and Longest Ride, which flick has more potential on Valentine's Day?
Image via EW