The New “Fifty Shades Darker” Trailer Wants You To Think It’s A Psychological Thriller

The S&M sequel’s soundtrack also features a new track from Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik.

The New “Fifty Shades Darker” Trailer Wants You To Think It’s A Psychological Thriller

WHAT: The new full-length trailer for Fifty Shades Darker.

WHO: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan return, along with musical accompaniment from Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik.

WHY WE CARE: Fifty Shades Of Grey didn’t exactly blow critics away with its 25% Rotten Tomatoes rating or its propensity to serve as parody fodder. But also: It was the highest-grossing February release of all time (until Deadpool stole its crown a year later) and outgrossed more established franchises like Jason Bourne, Star Trek Beyond, and X-Men: Apocalypse. Where those movies are all competing for a similar slice of the market–mostly dudes who want to see dudely heroes fight dudely battles–Fifty Shades gets a relatively clear lane, because there’s just not a ton of mainstream, softcore S&M romance from a female character’s perspective getting made each year. What that means for Fifty Shades Darker is anybody’s guess, but there are two things worth noting in the trailer: First, after the first film helped launch The Weeknd into the stratosphere and earn the Beyoncé seal of approval, the fact that they were able to score a sexy duet from Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik should be no surprise, as this franchise is a big one for pop stars. Second, the new trailer markets the film as more of a psychological thriller than a sexy romance, which suggests the way forward for the franchise: The first one made buckets of cash, but sustained success can be tough for this kind of series, as subsequent films have to appeal not just to fans of the source material, but also to people who liked the initial adaptation enough to stick with it. Pulling in a new audience who wants to see Jamie Dornan tie up Dakota Johnson might be tough, and to avoid diminishing returns, selling Fifty Shades Darker as a thriller with some bonus bondage might help keep it relevant. We’ll find out in February.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.



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