Valentines dates set for '50 Shades' film sequels

Valentines dates set for '50 Shades' film sequels
Cinema still: Fifty Shades of Grey starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Copyright: UIP

LOS ANGELES - The two sequels to racy bondage flick "Fifty Shades of Grey" will be released just in time for Valentine's Day in 2017 and 2018, like this year's first movie, filmmakers announced Thursday.

"Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" will be released on February 10, 2017, and February 9, 2018, respectively, according to the announcement at the CinemaCon conference in Las Vegas.

The timing of the releases is designed to coincide with the year's most romantic holiday on February 14.

"We're making this a Valentine's Day event," said Universal Pictures boss Donna Langley, cited by industry journal Variety.

This year's erotic tale of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and his sadomasochistic relationship with college graduate Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) scored the biggest February box office opening ever.

This was despite reports of disharmony among the filmmakers, followed by the announcement that director Sam Taylor-Johnson would not be signing on to make the sequels.

Stars Dornan and Johnson are expected to reprise their roles in the next two movies, to be written by Niall Leonard, husband of "Fifty Shades" author E.L. James, Variety said.

Universal has yet to decide who will direct them. Production is due to begin in the first quarter of 2016, it reported.

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