Based on the hugely popular novel by E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey has become a phenomenon unlike any other, raking up $550 million at the worldwide box office. So it should come as no surprise that it's two main leads are seeking a pay raise. Both Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan want more money moving into Fifty Shades Darker, which was announced just before the first installment hit theaters. It is expected to shoot in early 2016, for a proposed 2017 release date.

Sources close to the production report that both actors were paid $250,000 each, plus tiered box office bonuses. The novel series is a trilogy, and both actors did sign a three-picture deal. Though it is not uncommon for franchise stars to renegotiate their contract once the first film proves to be a hit. Both are looking for a 7-figure raise before moving onto Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. It is also reported that neither actor received any backend compensation for the first film. It is believed that renegotiations are still six months away, but the pair will follow the lead of stars involved with both Twilight and The Hunger Games, who received raises after their first movies proved to be hits at the box office.

While Fifty Shades of Grey exceeded Universal Pictures' expectations for the movie, there was a steep 70% drop-off between its Valentine's Day opening weekend and its second weekend in release. Some suggest that the novel series isn't quite ready for a franchise. Even so, Universal doesn't want to have either of its stars asking to be let out of their contract, which has already been rumored to have happened. Universal already has to seek out a new director, as Sam Taylor-Johnson is not expected to return after frequent clashes with author E.L. James. And original screenwriter Kelly Marcel has backed away for similar reasons. An earlier report claimed E.L. James was looking to write the script herself.

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While the first sequel was expected to arrive in 2016, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have been told that the film will most likely get started in early 2016 with a possible 2017 Valentine's release planned. This slight delay is solely because Fifty Shades Darker does not yet have a writer nor director. Producer Dana Brunetti doesn't sound too optimistic about pay raises though, aiming to keep the original film's budget of $40 million in place. He states:

"That was the great thing about this film - we knew we were going to be able to make stars. Now it's their opportunity to get paid on other projects. It's been a breakout role for both of them. I'm sure they are getting tons of offers on other things."

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have been quite candid about their on-set relationship, which was quite continuous. Both stars agree that they found it hard to get along. Did you see the movie? Do these two deserve raises? Let us know what you think!

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange