The studio insists that casting changes between Charlie Hunnam and Jamie Dornan have nothing to do with the delay.
Universal Pictures has decided to push back the release date of "Fifty Shades of Grey". Previously covering the August 1, 2014 slot, the book adaptation moves five and half months later to February 15, 2015 to coincide the Valentine's Day weekend.
The push back came on the heels of the studio's announcement that the start of production in Vancouver was also delayed by a month so that lead actor Jamie Dornan could be prepared. Dornan's casting was only announced late last month after Charlie Hunnam dropped his involvement. "The Wolverine" writer Mark Bomback was also recently asked to polish the script before the film goes into production in December.
However, EW reported that Dornan replacing Hunnam is not why the release date was pushed. "Together with the international marketing and distribution team, we've been looking really closely at the August date and becoming more and more convinced that the right thing to do for the movie was to push it," Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley told EW. "So even if Charlie had stayed, we still would have been making the date change."
The studio initially wanted the crowded summer premiere so that they were "able to take advantage of women who are invariably on vacation with their families during the month of August in Europe." With the new date, "Fifty Shades" is expected to rake in bigger income since it also coincides with President's Day holiday.
Meanwhile, Dornan and Dakota Johnson have posed together on the cover of EW's latest issue to give the first look of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Speaking of his decision to portray the filthy rich businessman with secret passion for BDSM, Dornan said, "I'm a fairly worldly guy. I grew up in a very liberal place. I'm not saying we had a playroom, but I'm not shocked by (the sex in the book). It's essential to tell the story. I can't believe films that don't invoke the sexual side of it. So it works for me."