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Universal announces release dates for 'Fifty Shades' sequels

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For better or worse, Fifty Shades of Grey will be locking up your Valentine’s Day for the next few years. Universal Pictures announced Thursday at the annual CinemaCon Convention that the second two chapters of the erotica bestseller will debut over the holiday weekend with Fifty Shades Darker opening on February 10, 2017 while the final chapter Fifty Shades Freed will bow on February 9, 2018. 

 
The news follows a day after Universal announced that Niall Leonard, E.L. James spouse of 28 years, will pen the sequel’s screenplay for the studio. The two-year break between Fifty chapters will give Leonard, who has written a slew of British television, a bit of a breather turning around a script while the producers nail down a director for the project. The extra time will likely come in handy since any director coming into the fray after the contentious exit by previous helmer Sam Taylor-Johnson will have to be willing to take orders directly from the author, who has ultimate approval over the content of the films. 
 
That approval may all be worth it considering how well the original movie performed. Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $166 million domestically when it opened on February 13 this year, with its worldwide gross closing in on $570 million. 

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