When my husband and I went this weekend we had to wait outside the theater for it to be cleaned (because apparently this movie audience has consistently made a large mess in every showing according to the young staff at the theater). While we sat for fifteen minutes outside and then another fifteen inside the theater we eavesdropped on conversations around us. There was a funny dialog going on in all directions that connected together.
I can guess on opening weekend the massive groups of females huddled together taking photos in the lobby near the posters read the books more than once. I would venture to guess that nearly seventy-five percent of the theater read the books (almost everyone raised their hands to answer trivia questions for a poster giveaway) and yet... when the screen went black... the gasp. As if no one knew how it ended.
The thing about Fifty Shades of Grey is that despite the poorly written dialog, flat farcical characters, and misguided messages readers threw common sense away and let themselves be sucked into the romance between two characters as unlikely as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The biggest draw was that cliffhanger. Even though it wasn't the first of it's type, it was enough to pull the audience into the second book with open arms. And I remember (fondly even) cringing through every lip bite and annoying inner Goddess moment to see the depth of Christian's journey... after all, I think it's more his than hers. To me Ana grows into the confident worldly woman she was always going to be, but without her, Christian would have never become the man he's to become.
That being said, the loudest gasps and even "What the Fucks?" came from the men in the audience. The men who were so proud of their lack of knowledge on the film they were about to "endure" were now where we were years ago. Those men sat there with their jaw dropped and said, "What the hell was that? That's not an ending." Women everywhere answered laughing, "No shit."
So now I wonder... How many men will be picking up Fifty Shades Darker to find out what happens next? Will men be able to wait a year or more for the studio to get around to making the next film and drag out the promotion of the build-up? Will they be able to stand the repeated viewings when the DVD lands in their home or when it hits cable and runs over and over? Will the machismo hold these men to deny curiosity? I'm betting husbands and boyfriends everywhere will be secretly purchasing the sequel on their phones or tablets to find out what happens after she leaves. I am more hopeful however, that more men like my husband will openly read the sequel and maybe even discuss it with their partners. There are a lot of things to bond over besides the sex, the mutual irritations could be a fun way to connect and pass the time with a laugh.