Just one day after reporting that Niall Leonard, the husband of Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James, has been set to write the sequel Fifty Shades Darker, Universal Pictures has handed out release dates for both Fifty Shades Darker and the third installment Fifty Shades Freed. As of now, it seems that Universal won't split the last book, Fifty Shades Freed, into two movies, a tactic that has become more and more popular with the major studios these days. Of course, that could change if the movies become more and more popular, but we'll have to wait and see.
Like the original Fifty Shades of Grey, both sequels will be released in early February, to take advantage of Valentine's Day moviegoers. Fifty Shades Darker will be released on February 10, 2017, putting it up against 20th Century Fox's The Mountain Between Us and Warner Bros.' The LEGO Batman Movie. Fifty Shades Freed will hit theaters almost exactly one year later on February 9, 2018, where it will go up against an untitled Warner Bros.' animated project.
Now that Universal has a screenwriter in place for Fifty Shades Darker, the studio will have to find a director, since Fifty Shades of Grey filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson is not returning to the helm the sequel. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan will be back as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, but no other cast members have been confirmed. Fifty Shades of Grey has earned over $165 million worldwide and $568 million worldwide since being released in February. Do you think these sequels can surpass their predecessor at the box office?