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Universal Shifts ’50 Shades’ Release Date to February 2015

Film was set to bow on Aug. 1, 2015

Universal has shifted the release date for “50 Shades of Grey” to Feb. 13, 2015.

Highly anticipated Focus Features pic had been set for release on Aug. 1, 2014.

A delay had been expected after “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam unexpectedly dropped out of the project after being cast as Christian Grey. Two weeks later, Jamie Dornan was cast in his place.

A few days after Dornan’s casting, Univeral and Focus announced they were moving production back from mid-November to early December.

Sources say Uni execs were actually reevaluating releasing the film in August long before Hunnam’s exit and saw that while the brand would do well in that slot it still makes more sense to release the film over Valentines Day to give that more event like feel.

Valentines Day is always hot spot for romantic dramas or comedies and while this film will be much more steamier than the usual Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation that normally comes out here, it still falls in line with the type of film women would go to with or without a date.

That weekend would also be viewed as a four-day weekend with Presidents Day falling on a Monday in 2015 which is even more appealing than the normal three day weekend.

No word yet on whether Universal and Focus will move production which is set to start in December. One insider says they could move it one more month but as of now are more than prepared to start production next month. Mark Bomback was recently brought in to do a polish and it would seem smart that the studio allow him to take his time and not rush out what would be the final draft.

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