No “Fifty Shades Of Grey” For Magazines… A Mr. Magazine™ MusingFebruary 13, 2015
When it comes to magazines there is no limit to the number of shades one can find. But when it comes to one specific Shade of Grey one can hardly find a magazine or two reflecting on the movie that opens tomorrow across the United States.
The premier installment of the bestselling novel by the same name is scheduled to be released Valentine’s weekend. The movie hasn’t even been shown, yet there are plans in the works for the next two films in the book’s trilogy: Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Lucky Dakota Johnson (who plays the female main character, Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (lead male character, Christian Grey); their bank accounts just increased by several zeroes, no doubt.
While the controversy of the book’s plot really comes to light when it’s adapted into a movie; ticket sales have been through the roof for the movie’s debut. And while the hoopla of a good controversy only feeds the desires of most of us to actually go and see what the big deal is all about, the magazine media industry has been a bit more hesitant to dive ink first into this pool of contention.
In the past magazines have always played a great role in reflecting and complementing every other medium, be it a book, a television program or a movie. Magazines are the mirrors of life; they reflect and depict each and every social, moral and news issue in a way nothing else does. The film industry is no exception. From the The Harry Potter series, to the Twilight series, to The Hunger Games and everything before, after and in between; magazines have showcased and related the film’s story, complete with pictures, to a satisfaction that the script sometimes doesn’t even generate with the audience.
However, many times the movies, such as the ones previously mentioned: Twilight and its brethren, are geared toward the younger generation; the much younger generation, as in teenagers. And while that in itself isn’t a bad thing, the premises of some movies are not exactly meant for the teen set. One in particular comes to mind: Fifty Shades of Grey.
How do you get your target audience away from the younger generation when for the most part it’s that generation that will purchase your special issue? In fact, other than Topix Media (which published one magazine when the books came out in 2012 and now published a second title under the Newsweek brand about the movie), Bauer, so far, is the only other publisher who published a title related to the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. The magazine, The Complete Story Of The Making Of Fifty Shades of Grey is published under the brands Life Story and Film Fantasy. Titles under those brands from Bauer were mainly aimed at the teen scene including bands like One Direction and movies like Harry Potter.
So why then are there not at least fifty Fifty Shades of Grey magazines on the nation’s newsstands? The answer is simple, very simple. Such magazines are reflectors of the movies. And magazines reflecting a movie, which is touted to have extreme erotica and bondage-type scenes, have been few and far between, if not non-existent. In a book without pictures one can get away with any topic no matter how obscene or insane the topic is. Create a magazine and you will need pictures. There lies the source of the problem. Add to that all the negative publicity the movie is already generating from domestic violence groups and many pastors who are encouraging people to boycott?In an article published in the largest paper in my home-state Mississippi, The Clarion-Ledger, the headline screams: Mississippi the most eager state to see ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, the irony of that title is brought to the forefront; not only the irony, but also the factual truth of the statement, when the piece reports that The American Family Association, which has its office in Tupelo, Miss. is urging everyone to not see the movie. Ironic in that, according to the article, the Washington Post’s website reported that the film accounted for 60 percent of all Fandango ticket sales this week, especially in the South and Midwest. That makes it the highest-grossing R-rated movie in pre-release sales on the movie ticket website, and the No. 1 state, Mississippi, nearly four times its average for pre-show ticket sales, with the first city in the state to sellout a theater, Tupelo, where the AFA’s office is.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Go figure.