Fifty Shades of Grey, penned by E.L. James, has captured the hearts and minds of millions. In this article, we explore the statistics and facts surrounding both the book series and the movie adaptations.
Key Facts and Statistics
- The Fifty Shades Of Grey Trilogy has sold more than 170 million print copies worldwide (almost 11 million trees).
- The release of the series resulted in a 25% boost in adult fiction sales, and 92% boost in BDSM sex toy sales.
- The first Fifty Shades Of Grey book sold more 70 million copies in the United States alone.
- E.L. James, the creator of the Trilogy, is worth over $150 million.
- Fifty Shades of Grey sold 4.7 million copies in the UK alone, (‘Darker’ sold 3.3 million, and ‘Freed’ sold 3.1 million)
- The first book was on the best-sellers list for 30 weeks.
- E.L. James was the highest-paid author of the year after the release of the first Fifty Shades of Grey book.
- Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fan fiction.
- Fifty Shades of Grey was a faster selling paperback than Harry Potter.
- The Fifty Shades film grossed $1.3 billion worldwide.
1. Fifty Shades of Grey originated as Twilight fan fiction
The series began as “Master of the Universe,” a Twilight fan fiction, later rewritten as an original story.
2. Fifty Shades series boasts over 170 million print copies sold worldwide
The phenomenal sales numbers have made it one of the best-selling book series of all time.
3. Fastest-selling paperback ever, surpassing Harry Potter
The first book broke records, becoming the fastest-selling paperback in history.
4. E.L. James’ net worth estimated at $150 million
The success of the series significantly contributed to the author’s wealth.
5. Books translated into 52 languages for global readership
The wide range of translations has made the series accessible to readers across the globe.
6. Fifty Shades film series grosses over $1.3 billion worldwide
Despite mixed reviews, the movie adaptations have been financially successful at the box office.
7. Majority female audience for both books and movies
About 82% of the moviegoers were women, reflecting the series’ primary demographic.
8. Casting of Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson sparked controversy
The selection of the lead actors generated mixed reactions among fans.
9. Reshoots needed to enhance on-screen chemistry
Initial scenes were reshot to strengthen the connection between the lead actors.
10. Successful soundtracks featuring top artists
Ellie Goulding, Beyoncé, and Sia were among the renowned artists who contributed to the movie soundtracks.
11. Numerous parodies and spin-offs inspired by Fifty Shades
The series has inspired a parody musical and a cookbook titled “Fifty Shades of Chicken.”
12. Vintage Books, a Random House division, publishes the series
This prestigious publisher has helped bring the series to a wide audience.
13. Fifty Shades credited with revitalizing the romance genre
The series’ success has popularized erotica and given new life to the romance genre.
14. Banned in some countries for explicit content
Countries like Malaysia have banned the books due to their explicit nature.
15. Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer broke viewing records in 2014
The trailer garnered over 100 million views, making it the most-watched that year.
16. Film series received multiple Golden Raspberry Awards
The movies earned several Razzie Awards, which “honor” the worst in film.
17. Christian Grey’s wealth estimated at $2.5 billion in the books
The lead character is portrayed as extremely wealthy, further adding to the series’ appeal.
18. Critics gave mixed to negative reviews of the series
The writing style and portrayal of relationships have been common points of criticism.
19. Retail impact: increased sales of adult toys and lingerie
The series has been credited with boosting sales in related industries and sparking interest in BDSM toys.
20. Fourth book, Grey, retells the first novel from Christian’s perspective
This new installment offers readers insight into the mind of the enigmatic lead character.
21. Fifth book, Darker, continues retelling from Christian’s viewpoint
E.L. James provided fans with an alternative perspective on the second novel, deepening their understanding of the characters.
22. Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired film rights
These major studios brought the Fifty Shades series to the big screen, expanding its reach even further.
23. Sam Taylor-Johnson directed the first film
Despite reported creative differences with the author, Taylor-Johnson successfully launched the film series.
24. James Foley directed the second and third films
Foley took the helm for the remainder of the series, following Taylor-Johnson’s departure.
25. First film’s opening weekend grossed over $85 million in the US
The highly anticipated movie adaptation attracted fans in droves, resulting in impressive initial earnings.
26. Book sales surged following the release of each movie
The film adaptations generated renewed interest in the book series, leading to increased sales.
27. Fifty Shades of Grey won a National Book Award
In 2012, the first novel received the UK’s Popular Fiction Book of the Year award.
28. E.L. James named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People
In 2012, the author was recognized for her impact on popular culture and the publishing industry.
29. Notable celebrity fans of the series
Stars such as Selena Gomez, Lucy Hale, and Eva Longoria have openly discussed their appreciation for the books.
30. Fifty Shades of Grey led to increased e-book sales
The series contributed to the rise of e-book sales, as readers sought discreet ways to enjoy the novels.
31. Over 100,000 fan fiction stories inspired by Fifty Shades
The series has spawned a vast array of fan fiction, much like its own origin as a Twilight fan fiction. As of 2021, there were over 18,000 Fifty Shades of Grey fan fiction stories published on FanFiction.net, showcasing the series’ impact on the fan fiction community.
32. Fifty Shades branded merchandise available for fans
33. Fifty Shades of Grey wine collection launched
E.L. James collaborated with a winemaker to develop a line of wines inspired by the series.
34. Virtual reality experience based on Fifty Shades Darker
A VR experience allowed fans to immerse themselves in the movie’s masquerade ball scene.
35. Fifty Shades inspired a surge in themed vacation packages
Travel agencies and hotels capitalized on the series’ popularity, offering romantic and risqué getaways for fans.
36. Parody book Fifty Shames of Earl Grey gained popularity
This humorous take on the original series poked fun at the characters and storyline.
37. Charlie Hunnam initially cast as Christian Grey
The actor was originally chosen for the lead role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
38. Highest-grossing film trilogy for Universal Pictures
The Fifty Shades movies became one of the most profitable trilogies for the major studio.
39. E.L. James’ husband, Niall Leonard, wrote the screenplays for the last two movies
Leonard, an experienced screenwriter, contributed to the adaptations of Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
40. Author maintained control over film adaptations
E.L. James was heavily involved in the movies’ production to ensure her vision was accurately represented.
41. Criticized for its portrayal of BDSM relationships
Some critics and members of the BDSM community have taken issue with the series’ depiction of BDSM dynamics.
42. Anastasia Steele’s job at a publishing house mirrors E.L. James’ early career
The author drew from her own experience working in television and publishing when creating her protagonist’s profession.
43. Valentine’s Day release for the last two movies
Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed were strategically released on Valentine’s Day weekend in 2017 and 2018.
44. Inspired a surge in sales of classical music
The series, which frequently references classical music, led to increased sales and streams of the featured pieces.
45. E.L. James released a writing guide
The author shared her writing expertise in a guide titled “Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal).”
46. Fifty Shades of Grey movie earned an R rating
The first film received an R rating for its explicit content, reflecting the nature of the book series.
47. British Library acquired the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy
The prestigious library added the series to its collection, acknowledging its cultural significance.
48. Numerous charity events and fundraisers inspired by the series
The Fifty Shades phenomenon has been harnessed for good, with events raising funds for various causes.
49. Celebrities read passages from the books for charity
Stars such as Matt Bomer, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gilbert Gottfried have participated in comedic readings of the series for charitable events.
50. A global phenomenon transcending cultural boundaries
The Fifty Shades series has captured the imagination of millions around the world, solidifying its status as a cultural phenomenon.
51. Increased interest in fan fiction communities
The success of Fifty Shades of Grey has led to a surge in fan fiction activity, encouraging more people to write and share their stories.
52. Official Fifty Shades of Grey party game released
A party game inspired by the series was developed, allowing fans to engage with the Fifty Shades universe in a lighthearted way.
53. Record sales of silk ties after the movie release
The series, which features silk ties as a recurring symbol, contributed to a notable increase in sales of this accessory.
54. London’s first Fifty Shades of Grey-themed restaurant
In 2015, a London eatery offered a Fifty Shades-themed dining experience, complete with an elaborate menu and immersive atmosphere.
55. Influence on contemporary romance novels
The series’ popularity has impacted the romance genre, with many new novels featuring similar themes and storylines.
56. Opening weekend success of Fifty Shades Freed
The final film in the trilogy earned over $38 million during its opening weekend in the US.
57. E.L. James ranked on Forbes’ list of highest-paid authors
The author’s massive earnings from the series have landed her a spot on the Forbes’ list multiple times.
58. Extensive marketing campaigns for the movies
The film adaptations benefited from significant marketing efforts, including billboards, trailers, and social media campaigns.
59. UK publisher Cornerstone acquired rights to Grey and Darker
The publishing company secured the rights to E.L. James’ companion novels, further expanding the series’ reach.
60. E.L. James released a new novel in 2019, The Mister
The author continued her career in the romance genre with a new standalone novel, showcasing her storytelling abilities beyond the Fifty Shades universe.
61. Audi R8 Spyder featured in Fifty Shades Darker
The luxury sports car became a symbol of Christian Grey’s wealth and lifestyle in the second film.
62. Fifty Shades of Grey Boosted Seattle Tourism
The series’ setting in Seattle, Washington, has contributed to increased tourism in the city.
63. High demand for official Fifty Shades of Grey merchandise
Fans’ enthusiasm has fueled sales of officially licensed Fifty Shades of Grey Sex Toys and other products, such as clothing, accessories, and even baby onesies.
64. Fifty Shades of Grey-themed workout routines
The series inspired workout routines and fitness classes that incorporate elements from the books and movies.
65. Local businesses benefited from movie filming locations
Shops and restaurants near filming locations experienced increased foot traffic and sales during the production of the movies.
66. Fifty Shades of Grey-themed hotel packages
Hotels around the world have offered exclusive Fifty Shades packages, including themed rooms, amenities, and experiences.
67. Controversial public readings and events
Some public readings and events surrounding the series have sparked controversy and debate due to the explicit nature of the content.
68. Fans create Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired art
The series’ popularity has inspired various forms of fan art, including illustrations, paintings, and digital creations.
69. Collectible editions of the books released
Special and limited editions of the Fifty Shades novels have been published, featuring unique covers, annotations, and extras for avid collectors.
70. Influence on future book-to-film adaptations
The commercial success of the Fifty Shades movies has encouraged studios to adapt more adult romance novels for the big screen.
71. Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired sex toy collections
The series has directly inspired official and unofficial sex toy collections, catering to fans who want to bring elements of the story into their own lives.
72. Increase in sex toy sales after the books’ release
The popularity of the Fifty Shades series has been linked to a significant rise in sex toy sales globally.
73. Mainstream acceptance of BDSM and sex toys
The series has contributed to a broader cultural acceptance and discussion of BDSM practices and the use of sex toys.
74. Collaboration between E.L. James and Lovehoney
The author partnered with sex toy retailer Lovehoney to develop an official Fifty Shades of Grey collection, featuring products inspired by the novels.
75. Education on safe BDSM practices
The series has prompted discussions about safe and consensual BDSM practices, encouraging people to learn more about the lifestyle and its guidelines.
76. DIY Fifty Shades of Grey-themed sex toy kits
The series has inspired fans to create their own sex toy kits, complete with items mentioned or featured in the books and movies.
77. 92% increase in bondage accessories sales
Fifty Shades of Grey has been credited with driving a significant increase in sales of bondage accessories, such as handcuffs, blindfolds, and restraints. Some merchants reporting up to 92 percent increase in bondage and S&M toy sales.
78. Sex toy retailers capitalize on the series’ popularity
Numerous sex toy retailers have marketed their products using Fifty Shades-inspired themes and slogans to attract fans.
79. “Fifty Shades effect” on sex toy industry innovation
The series’ influence on the sex toy market has led to increased innovation and development of new products.
80. Couples’ interest in exploring BDSM and kink
The Fifty Shades phenomenon has encouraged many couples to explore their own interests in BDSM and kink, often incorporating sex toys into their relationships.
81. Dakota Johnson (Ana) bit her lip 19 times in the first movie
Jamie Dornan, Christian Grey in the movie, hates it when Ana bites her lips. Counting the number of times she does so we arrive at a wopping 19 times.
82. “Inner Godess” is references 52 times in the book, but 0 times in the movies
As E.L. James own writing guide also reference “Inner Godess” it can seem wierd that it is not references a single time in the movie.
83. The movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, featured over 18 minutes of sex
The whole movie was 125 minutes long, of which over 18 minutes was se scenes. Meaning that almost 15% of the entire movie was scenes featuring sexual intercourse.
84. Dakota Johnson stole underwear from the set of Fifty Shades of Grey
Dakota Johnson revealed in a few Twitter posts that she in fact stole lots of BDSM lingerie sets from the set of the movie. Apparently, ‘they were comfortable’. She even went as far as stealing a flogger.
85. Over 2.4 million Twitter followers for E.L. James
E.L. James has amassed a large following on Twitter, with over 2.4 million followers.
86. Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack sold over 2.2 million copies
The soundtrack for the first film, which features artists like Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and Ellie Goulding, sold over 2.2 million copies worldwide.
10 fun facts
- Alternate Casting: Other actors were initially considered for the leading roles before Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were finalized.
- Original Title: The books originally had a different title before settling on “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
- Bible Replacement: A hotel once swapped out the Bible in their rooms for a copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
- Celebrity Fans: Some celebrities have openly expressed their love for the series.
- Charlie Hunnam’s Exit: “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Christian Grey but later dropped out.
- Whip Skills: Jamie Dornan had to learn specific skills with a whip for his role as Christian Grey.
- Erotic Romance Pioneer: “Fifty Shades of Grey” is considered one of the pioneering erotic romance novels of its time.
- Buzz Creator: The movie adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” created significant buzz for its steamy scenes, drawing comparisons to movies like “9 1/2 Weeks” and “Last Tango In Paris”.
- Trivia Surrounding the Series: There are many fun trivia facts surrounding the series that fans might not be aware of.
- New York Times Bestseller: The “Fifty Shades of Grey” series has been a #1 New York Times bestseller.
- The Guardian (2012) – Fifty Shades of Grey becomes the bestselling book of all time
- Forbes (2013) – E.L. James: The $95 Million Author
- Box Office Mojo – Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
- Box Office Mojo – Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
- The Hollywood Reporter (2014) – Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer: 5 Biggest YouTube Debuts
- FanFiction.net – Books: Fifty Shades Trilogy fanfiction archive
- Billboard – Fifty Shades of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
- The Telegraph (2012) – Fifty Shades of Grey outsells Harry Potter
- E.L. James [@E_L_James] – Twitter
- The Guardian (2012) – Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James now worth £75m
Relevant research articles:
- Barker, M., Duschinsky, R., & Cheshire, A. (2018). Fifty shades of the grey literature. Porn Studies, 5(1), 104-118.
- Cheshire, A., & Martin, A. (2015). Sex, power and consent in the age of Fifty Shades of Grey. Women’s Studies International Forum, 52, 71-79.
- Bonomi, A. E., Altenburger, L. E., & Walton, N. L. (2013). “Double crap!” Abuse and harmed identity in Fifty Shades of Grey. Journal of Women’s Health, 22(9), 733-744