×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is a YouTube Phenomenon, Even if Viewers Won’t Admit It

Fifty Shades of Grey” isn’t just a box office smash, it’s also a social-media phenomenon.

The randy drama dominated YouTube in the lead-up to its release last weekend. Its official trailers and commercials attracted 113 million views, and the total views on all “Fifty Shades of Grey”-related material reached 329 million, according to research from Pixability, an ad buying and video marketing platform.

“It’s the most successful launch from a trailer view perspective in some time,” said Andreas Goeldi, chief technology officer at Pixability.

The firm crunched the numbers and found that the picture generated much more attention on the video site than other recent blockbusters such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Lego Movie.” “Fifty Shades'” official trailer received 58 million views, while the spots for “Guardians” and “The Lego Movie” attracted 17 million and 27 million views, respectively. To generate buzz around the film, Universal, the studio behind “Fifty Shades,” released a trailer online unusually early, more than 200 days before the movie opened.

It’s not that everyone watching “Fifty Shades” material was under the spell of brooding billionaire Christian Grey or fancied a trip to his red room. Much of the video content related to the film came from parodies, such as Ellen DeGeneres reading from the book of “Fifty Shades” and YouTube star PewDiePie sending up the novel’s fan fiction cottage industry. Many of these parodies were produced while the book was still a bestselling sensation and before the movie hit screens.

The film’s soundtrack, which features the likes of Sia and Beyonce, also helped drive interest, prompting audiences to check out music videos.

“This has a very broad cultural appeal, and there are a lot of different ways and perspectives that people were engaging with the book and the movie,” said Goeldi.

Because of its scenes of bondage and explicit sex, not everyone wanted to cop to the fact they were busy checking out trailers and commercials. There were 3.7 million shares of “Fifty Shades”-related content on Facebook and Twitter, a fairly low number given all the activity. Moreover, 0.98% of views of the commercials led to sharing on those platforms compared to 1.11% for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and 1.52% for “The Lego Movie.”

“A lot of people were looking at this material, but they didn’t necessarily want to admit it,” said Goeldi. “It deals with controversial topics that people might not be comfortable with, but that also drives interest.”

Controversy helps with ticket sales too. “Fifty Shades of Grey” earned $94.4 million, a record for Presidents’ Day Weekend.

More Film

  • Nordic Film Market: New Pálmason, Hákonarson,

    Nordic Film Market Selects Latest Palmason, Hakonarson, Hafstrom, Ganslandt

    The 20th Nordic Film Market in Göteborg, unspooling Jan. 31-Feb 3, will showcase 16 works in progress including Hlynur Pálmason’s “A White, White Day”, Grímur Hákonarson’s “The County”, Mikael Håfström’s “The Perfect Patient” and Jesper Ganslandt’s “438 Days.” Iceland is well represented this year with top directors and festival darlings Pálmason (“Winter Brothers”), Hákonarson (“Rams”) [...]

  • 'All These Small Moments' Review

    Film Review: 'All These Small Moments'

    The magic of writer-director Melissa B. Miller Costanzo’s “All These Small Moments” can be found within the intimacy of the scenarios, the authenticity of her earnest characterizations, and the accessibility of the actors’ honest performances. In her deftly polished directorial debut, Costanzo dovetails the primary story about a teen’s coming of age with a secondary [...]

  • Bruce Tufeld Dead: Hollywood Agent and

    Hollywood Agent and Manager Bruce Tufeld Dies at 66

    Bruce Tufeld, a Hollywood agent and manager who once repped stars like Rob Lowe, Laura Dern, and Kelsey Grammer, died Tuesday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from liver cancer. He was 66. The son of respected television announcer Richard “Dick” Tufeld and Adrienne Tufeld, Bruce began his career as an assistant at ICM [...]

  • Bruce Dern

    Film News Roundup: Bruce Dern's 'The Lears' Bought by Vertical for February Release

    In today’s film news roundup, Bruce Dern’s “The Lears” and “Angels Are Made of Light” are acquired, Cold War drama “Stanley Cage” is launched and a documentary about Madonna’s early music career gets a release. ACQUISITIONS Vertical Entertainment has acquired North American rights from NeoClassics Films to “The Lears,” starring Bruce Dern in a modern-day [...]

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content