When stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson signed on to star in Fifty Shades of Grey, they had to know that it was a virtual given that they’d be making the two follow-up novels from EL James into movies too. Then, Fifty Shades of Grey hit theaters and made $500 million.
Now it appears that the two stars, although they might or might not get along, do agree on something. They want raises. They want big raises.
Usually when a performer signs on to a series, their salary is set in stone. But, even they probably didn’t expect that the first film would land in that half a billion territory. In order to return and film Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed -- it's going to cost more dough.
We already know that EL James wants to pen the screenplay for the follow-ups and that director Sam Taylor Johnson has exited. The last thing Universal wants is its two stars to take a hike as well. So, look for the duo to get what they want, but negotiations might not be so placid.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dornan and Johnson are seeking salaries in the millions. And there is a precedent here too. After Jennifer Lawrence banked $500,000 for The Hunger Games and that film became a huge success, she renegotiated her contract and scored $10 million for the sequels.
But, Fifty Shades of Grey is no The Hunger Games. Will that even matter?
We think not. There is no way that these Fifty Shades of Grey green lit sequels will not go forward. This series, although slammed by critics and generally panned by audiences, will move forward. It prints money and it’s hard to argue with that.
Johnson and Dornan received $250,000 for the first film and their contracts, supposedly, guarantee that amount for the next two films. The stars won’t go back into Christian Grey’s play room for that amount... there’s no way.
There are a few points, however, that separate Fifty Shades of Grey from The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games was never a smaller budgeted movie. Fifty Shades of Grey, and its sequels for that matter, are budgeted at $40 million. One could see that producers could move on with different actors in order to keep the budgets lower for the two sequels.
Also, audiences liked Lawrence. We don’t get that same feeling about Johnson and Dornan.
We’ll keep you posted as negotiations heat up. The duo is supposedly set to report to the Fifty Shades Darker set in early 2016 for a release in 2017.