1. It's already a record breaker: A week before its February 13 release date Fifty Shades of Grey the movie had already sold 2.75 million cinema tickets excluding the US — making it one of the biggest advance-selling movies of all time and beating Sex and the City 2, The Hangover Part II and Gone Girl into submission (no pun intended).
2. No sneak peak? In a total reversal of the norm Fifty Shades the movie was kept a closely guarded secret until its general release. There were no previews or press screenings before the world premiere in Berlin on February 11. These tactics are usually employed by film studios to avoid ticket sales being affected by terrible reviews.
3. Not so X rated after all: The movie has been rated ‘R’ in the US, meaning 17-year-olds can see it. Here, the British Board of Film Classification has decided on an 18 certificate, saying the work “passed uncut”.
4. Going undercover: In the name of ‘research’ director Sam Taylor-Johnson visited BDSM clubs while Johnson and Dornan had an on-set dominant (male) and dominatrix (female) to show them the ropes (ahem).
5. Down boy! Co. Down actor Dornan was reportedly in his pajamas when he got the phone call to say he landed the part of kinky business tycoon Christian Grey.
6. No spank you: Actress Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffiths) who plays the starring role of innocent-led-astray Anastasia Steele says she doesn’t want her family to watch the film.
7. Not so Jolie: Award-winning artist Sam Taylor-Johnson wasn’t the only director up for the Fifty Shades job — some unknown called Angelina Jolie was also in the running.
8. Now that’s a threesome: The trilogy of Fifty Shades books have sold over 100million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages. The trilogy also spent 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
9. Bigger than Obama: So far the official Fifty Shades trailer has clocked up an unbelievable 47,319,336 views on YouTube. Pretty amazing (or depressing) when you think that only 20million watched the inauguration of first black president of the United States.
10. Show me the money: Fifty Shades author EL James’ $95million in earnings so far saw her shoot to the top of Forbes’ list of top-earning authors. She makes JK Rowling look like a pauper.
11. Baby making music: The sexy soundtrack includes a slowed down, sultry version of Beyonce’s Crazy in Love, as well as tracks from The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding, Sia and Annie Lennox.
12. For the uninitiated: The pure-minded amongst us may not know that the book’s central topic, BDSM, is defined by the Urban Dictionary as “an overlapping abbreviation of Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM).” Sounds exhausting.
13. Meet Mrs Grey: Dornan’s wife Amelia Warner (pictured above right) sings under the name Slow Moving Millie and is probably best known as the voice of a John Lewis ad of Christmas past. She covered The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. Before marrying Dornan, she had a brief love affair with another famous Irishman, Colin Farrell.
14. A bit of rough: Despite its enormous fan base, the movie adaptation was plagued with problems, including rumors that Johnson and Dornan had zero chemistry. Several scenes were reshot just months before the release date, but Dornan later dismissed the rumours in an interview as “b*llocks” and said the reshoots were no big deal.
15. Get a dictionary: Thanks to the Fifty Shades phenomenon, the terms ‘bonkbuster’ and ‘mummy porn’ are now in our modern vocabulary.
16. Who the EL? EL James describes herself as a “former TV executive, wife and mother-of-two based in the leafy suburbs of West London”. Sounds normal enough, for a woman who writes about spanking.
17. Ménage à trois: Although she has parked the Grey series for now, you can expect two follow up films based on James’ sequels Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed.
18. Sex sells: EL James (real name Erika Mitchell) makes an estimated £119,500 a day. To put it into context, top footballer Wayne Rooney makes a paltry £300,000 a week at Manchester United.
19. Oh behave! If you think Dornan got a kick out of filming risqué sex scenes think again. Last year he told The Guardian: “Anyone who thinks actors get turned on doing sex scenes in films is mistaken. There are dozens of hairy men standing around, moving cables and lighting equipment. That’s not sexy unless you’re into being watched, which I’m not.”
20. Embarrassing dad: On a shoot for Glamour magazine, father of one Jamie Dornan said: “When my daughter’s 18, I’m not going to be going, ‘You’ve gotta watch daddy in Fifty Shades of Grey’. But there will be greater things to protect her from than dad’s arse on the big screen.”
21. He looks good with his clothes on too: Dornan was ranked number three in GQ’s Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015 list.
22. Grape anyone? Dornan also revealed the technicalities of filming nude scenes while speaking to GQ, explaining: “As a guy you put all your essentials in a little bag and you tie it up like a little bag of grapes and it’s tucked away. Its quite a peculiar thing to do every day.”
23. Dirty laundry: As everyone races to cash in on the Fifty Shades phenomenon, laundry cleaning brand Surf have launched a ‘Flirty Shades of Surf’ liquid powder. What a pile of sheet.
24. A case for Mulder and Scully: After working together on two series of BBC thriller The Fall, Gillian Anderson got tired of fielding questions about her co-star. Speaking to Red Magazine, she said: “On the first series, people were like, ‘Who is this guy? Is he an ex-model or something?’ Now people don’t ever want to talk to me about The X-Files. They only want to ask about Jamie Dornan.”
25. S&M is okay, but not plane spotting: Speaking to a men’s mag, Dornan said he understood why people get into S&M, but was puzzled by the plane spotters standing outside Heathrow Terminal 5 waiting for a Ryanair flight to come in. Each to their own.
26. Fifty Shades Irish style: Of course Fifty Shades has produced an entire genre of internet memes, but only one took quotes from the books and gave them an Irish twist. For example when Mr Grey says: “You’re so beautiful in that dress,” an Irish Anastasia might reply: “Feck off, it was only a euro in Penneys!”
27. Death wish: If Dornan is flanked by heavy security at the premiere, it’s because he fears for his life. Speaking to Details magazine he said: “I almost don’t want to put this out there into the ether, but I fear I’ll get murdered, like John Lennon, by one of those mad fans at the premiere.” Imagine.
28. Dirty weekend: One hotel in Edinburgh is now offering Fifty Shades themed getaways complete with aphrodisiacs, massages and a box of tricks filled with a feather tickler and fluffy handcuffs. For the prudent traveler there is also an optional upgrade to a champagne bath, all for just £2,000.
29. Ouch, that hurts! The books have their detractors as well as fans. Journalist and Huffington Post blogger Jesse Kornbluth, who has worked as a contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times, described Fifty Shades as “a sad joke, puny of plot, padded with conversations that are repeated five or six times and email exchanges that are neither romantic nor witty”.
30. Women on top: In September 2012, Irish author Marian Keyes knocked Fifty Shades of Grey from its number one spot on the Irish book charts, a position it had held for 18 weeks. Keyes’ detective novel The Mystery of Mercy Close took over the top spot.
31. More sex please, we’re Irish: The success of Fifty Shades has fueled the Irish erotica market. Irish authors Eileen Gormley and Caroline McCall say the success of books like theirs (The Pleasures Of Winter) written under the pseudo name Evie Hunter has rocketed thanks to Fifty Shades.
32. Grey area: The books have been accused of all sorts, from just being badly written to glamorising domestic violence or being exploitative sadistic pornography. Sophie Morgan, author of The Diary of a Submissive, commented: “The book has done little to remove the misconception that submissives are doormats or throwbacks to a pre-feminist age.”
33. Boom boom: Fifty Shades has also done its part in boosting the sex toy industry, with reported spikes in sales of up to 400 per cent for some of toys used in the book.
34. Second Choice: Dornan wasn’t actually the first choice for the role of Christian Grey. Brit actor Charlie Hunnam (of Sons of Anarchy fame) was offered the part, but backed out due to scheduling conflicts.
35. Oh baby! Some sociologists are attributing 2013’s baby boom to Fifty Shades of Grey. The spike in babies due in February 2013 was linked directly to copies of the book flying off the shelves in May 2012.
36. A bit early for that: ITV’s This Morning received complaints when, embracing the Fifty Shades theme, they invited a guest onto the programme to discuss ‘Bondage for Beginners’. The segment included presenter Phillip Schofield experimenting with a nipple clamp, which is enough to put anyone off their breakfast.
37. How Tweet: Dornan is on Twitter, but while the model-turned-actor is a man of many talents, social media may not be one of them. On December 25 he tweeted ‘Christmas’, while on January 1, 2015 he came up with this highly original tweet: ‘Looking forward to 2015.’ Oh well, no one’s perfect.
38. Good taste in men: Did you know EL James’ hubby is Irish? Yes, she is wed to author and screenwriter Niall Leonard, raised in Newry, Co. Down. The pair live together in London.
39. Digital darkhorses: Technology, namely e-readers like the Kindle Fire, are said to have fanned the flames of Fifty’s success with readers who wanted a little discretion, especially while reading on public transport.
40. Dirty dozen: The movie is said to feature 12 sex scenes in total, taking up 20 minutes of its 100-minute running time.
41. Hot off the press: The International Business Times reports that at the peak of its popularity, one copy of Fifty Shades was sold every second somewhere in the world.
42. Mr Grey used to be Mr Knightley: Before he was a leading man, Jamie Dornan was actress Kiera Knightley's other half. the good looking pair dated back in 2003 for about two years.
43. What a tease: The Fifty Shades trailer notched up 100million YouTube hits in the first week of its release last summer, but some complained it left too much to the imagination. A more risque version swiftly followed.
44. He's a swinger: On the golf course that is. Yes, Dornan can hold his own over 18 holes and took part in the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland.
45. Over it already? If you’re tired of all this Fifty Shades talk, you can catch Dornan in his next film The Siege of Jadotville, which begins filming soon. Dornan plays Irish commander Pat Quinlan, a soldier who served in the Congo in 1960s.