“Fifty Shades of Grey” premiered in theaters only Friday, but fans of the E.L. James erotica series are already clamoring to see the next installment, “Fifty Shades Darker.” After taking in $158 million at the worldwide box office in its opening weekend, it’s safe to assume the buzz surrounding “Fifty Shades” won’t be quieting down anytime soon. So when will audiences get to see “Darker” on the big screen? Here is everything we know so far about the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel:
1. It’s definitely happening — Ahead of the U.S. release of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film, director Sam Taylor-Johnson confirmed that the other two installments, “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” would also be adapted for the big screen.
“Clearly this sets up for parts two and three?” NBC’s Natalie Morales asked Taylor-Johnson following a “Today” show fan screening in New York Feb. 6. “That’s next!” Taylor-Johnson responded as the audience cheered.
2. Director will return — Being that Taylor-Johnson was the one to confirm the “Fifty Shades of Grey” franchise, it’s only fitting that she returns to direct the second film. The filmmaker announced during a recent interview with NBC that she will be directing the second “Fifty Shades” installment.
3. And so will Jamie and Dakota — While Universal has yet to make an official announcement that “Fifty Shades” stars Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) and Dakota Johnson (Anastasia “Ana” Steele) will reprise their leading roles in "Darker," the actors recently confirmed their interest in the sequels. “Yeah,” Johnson said when asked about filming two more “Fifty Shades” films during a “Today” show appearance earlier this month. “That’s definitely the idea,” Dornan added.
4. New screenwriter —Unfortunately for screenwriter Kelly Marcel, it is rumored that she was not invited back. A July 2014 report from the Tracking Board claimed that Universal Pictures was searching for a new screenwriter to adapt the second book. “It looks like Universal wants to start fresh with the sequel and they don’t have anyone specific in mind… every screenwriter’s dream,” states the report.
5. Release date — Fans of Christian and Ana's romance had to wait three years to see the first book come to life on the big screen, but luckily for the saga’s most devout readers, it appears they won’t have to wait as long to see their love story continue in theaters. Following the "Today" show fan screening, some attendees took to social media and claimed that it was announced the “Darker” installment will premiere in 2016. Others shared a more specific release date: March 2016.
6. Filming schedule — With a rumored 2016 release date looming, it looks like Universal is wasting no time starting production on “Fifty Shades Darker.” According to a report from OnLocationVacations.com, the sequel will begin shooting in Vancouver in June. The first film shot several scenes on location in Vancouver in 2013.