It's been a few months since it was announced that Kelly Marcel will be adapting E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey for the big screen and fans have been anxiously awaiting word on who might end up directing the project. Today, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson, who says that the big screen version is moving along rapidly and that it could hit the big screen as early as 2014.
"I don't believe that [E.L. James] had any interest in going to a studio where rushing it into production was the vision," says Fogelson. "I don't believe that the second or third film would have benefited from that strategy. And I think that there are totally legitimate questions about what this book is as a movie. I will tell you that it is an absolute priority for us. It's conceivable that we could be ready to release it as early as next summer."
Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the rights to the three books in the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy in March of last year. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal. Fifty Shades of Grey has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in 45 languages worldwide since its release. In the U.S. alone, the trilogy has sold over 32 million copies in e-book and print making it one of the fastest selling book series ever.
Fogelson goes on to discuss a number of other key big screen properties, including the upcoming reboot of Van Helsing.
"I think the idea for the Van Helsing story was a great way of solving the question of, 'How do you make a blockbuster out of monsters?'" he continues. "I think of what we have done with 'Fast & Furious', of what we did with 'American Pie' this past year -- we had our best year box office-wise and our biggest movie ["Battleship"] was a whiff, so we did it without a single traditional franchise tentpole movie. Not one."
Also on the way is the studio's much-anticipated film version of the Broadway hit Wicked. Although no definitive plans have as of yet been revealed, Fogelson says that a big screen version will be arriving "sooner rather than later."
Universal is also said to be eyeing potential sequels to last year's The Bourne Legacy and this year's Identity Thief as well as a planned followup to Rupert Sander's Snow White and the Huntsman. Previously revealed to feature the return of Kristen Stewart in the lead, Fogelson says that Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman will again play a major role.