‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ screenwriter wants to make an NC-17 film, but would that actually make it to theaters?

By Daniel S Levine,

Kelly Marcel, the screenwriter tasked with adapting the hottest book of 2012 - EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey - into a movie, drew some attention for a recent interview she gave, in which she said that she is aiming to write a film that will get an NC-17 rating. However, the chances that Universal would want to limit the film’s success by letting a theatrical version receive that rating is pretty slim.

Marcel admitted to The Sunday Times that she hasn’t even completed the script, which is why there hasn’t been an actor attached to the project. “This thing is very, very closely guarded,” she said.

Still, she did reveal that she hopes to make it as raunchy as possible. “We are 100 percent going there,” she said, reports The Hollywood Reporter. “It will be rated NC-17. It will be raunchy.”

A rep for Universal told THR that it wouldn’t comment, only confirming that there’s no script, so there’s nothing for the MPAA to issue a rating for. “The script isn't even written yet, so how could we know how [the MPAA's Classification and] Ratings Board will rate it?” producer Dana Brunetti added.

Even if the film gets an NC-17, Universal would likely go back to make trims so that an R-rated version could hit theaters. The NC-17 material would likely be used for an ‘unrated’ Blu-ray/DVD release.

“I highly doubt that the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie will be released in theaters with an NC-17 rating,” BoxOffice.com editor Phil Contrino explained to MTV News. “Even though the idea that major theater chains won't play NC-17 films is largely a myth, there's still a feeling that distributors lose out financially by choosing NC-17 over R. There's a lot of money to be made here and an R rating is a safer bet from a financial standpoint.”

No matter what Fifty Shades is rated by the time it hits theaters, Box Office Guru editor Gitesh Pandya predicts that it will be a box office smash. After all, it was among the most-talked about books of 2012 thanks to the “mommy porn” label.

“Since so few films with [an NC-17] rating are ever released, and they are mostly small artsy pictures, Fifty Shades of Grey would be a blockbuster for that rating since most of the audience is of age anyway,” Pandya explained to MTV. “But buzz about its rating this early in the process makes for some nice publicity. It should do gangbusters no matter what the rating is. The only thing that could make it go limp at the box office is if they fail to make a good movie.”

Universal secured the rights to Fifty Shades in March and hired Marcel in October. The studio reportedly paid $5 million for the rights.

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