The shakeups are happening despite the first film making over $500 million for Universal at the worldwide box office.
The steamy blockbuster features Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as BDSM enthusiasts Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, respectively, and has broken a number of records since its impressive Valentine’s Day weekend debut, when it opened at No. 1 in 54 territories.
Both Dornan and Johnson are contractually obligated to reprise their roles for the sequels, including a third film based on the E.L. James novel, “Fifty Shades Freed.” Universal is now searching for a new writer and director, and there is no release date set for “Fifty Shades Darker.”
A $55 million international gross on the film’s first Saturday alone made it the highest-grossing Valentine’s Day release ever, as well as Universal’s highest-grossing day ever.
Taylor-Johnson also made box office history with the film, which had the largest opening weekend for a female director, an $85.2 million three-day haul. It’s Universal’s top R-rated opening as well.