Advance ticket sales for “Fifty Shades of Grey” are booming in states where same-sex marriage remains illegal.
The Universal Pictures film adaptation of the erotic novel by E.L. James has already become the highest-grossing R-rated movie in prerelease sales on the Fandango website.
Ticket sales for the movie, which opens Thursday, are particularly strong in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi – with pre-show sales three or four times higher than average, reported the Washington Post.
Opening day shows are already sold out in Tupelo, Mississippi, Florence, Kentucky, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the newspaper reported.
Audiences are also eager to see the film — which depicts a master-and-servant sexual relationship between a college student and a businessman — in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
With the exception of Iowa and West Virginia, all of those states are among the remaining 13 where same-sex marriage is banned through constitutional amendment and state law.
Alabama’s chief justice on Sunday ordered state judges and employees to disobey a federal ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, but many probate judges issued such marriage licenses anyway.
Religious right media watchdogs are warning the film promotes violence and unhealthy attitudes toward women, complaining the movie deserves a more restrictive rating.
Watch the film trailer posted online by Universal Pictures UK: