(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - Coming soon to a theater near you: "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Movie."
Universal Pictures and Focus Features announced today that they have acquired the rights to E.L. James' bestselling erotic novel, "Fifty Shades of Grey."
In a joint announcement Monday, Universal and Focus called the word-of-mouth book sensation a "special story." There had been spirited bidding for the film rights, not only because of the book's explosive popularity, but also because it is the first in a trilogy, and could launch a movie franchise.
First released by an Australian publisher, James' novel is an explicit tale about billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Vintage Books, a paperback imprint of Random House Inc., recently became the U.S. distributor of "Fifty Shades" and its two follow-ups, "Fifty Shades Darker'' and "Fifty Shades Freed.''
James is a London based writer.