The bids are in for pic rights to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the erotic ebook sensation lusted after by nearly every big player in Hollywood. Though no winner had emerged as of Sunday evening, a “Da Vinci Code”-sized deal is said to be imminent.
When they arrived in town last week, author E.L. James, a British former TV exec who spawned the series as a piece of “Twilight” fan fiction, and agent Valerie Hoskins touched off a spirited round of bidding as studios jockeyed to nab what could be the next literary-based bigscreen gravy train.
Sony’s $5 million offer was believed at the high end of several offers, which began landing on Friday. In the days before, meetings with Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal, Lionsgate and several others took place where top brass pitched plans to make and sell a sexcapade that — if true to the steamy source material — will be stretching for an R rating.
Story centers on soon-to-be college grad Anastasia Steele, who strikes up an S&M romance with successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey, the physical and emotional dominant to her submissive. “Grey” has had a limited print run overseas and is currently dominating ereader sales, fueled by a fervent female fanbase.
By way of comparison, Dan Brown’s bestseller “The Da Vinci Code,” an easy PG-13 with instant wide commercial appeal, sold for $6 million in June 2003, two months after it was published in the U.S.
(Rachel Abrams, Justin Kroll and Jeff Sneider contributed to this report.)