Back when the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon was in full swing and the movie was in the works, Lionsgate produced a feature film adaptation of Addicted. The novel by popular erotica author Zane concerned a happily married woman who harbors a dark secret: sex addiction. It was the kind of movie that major American studios hadn’t made since the early 2000s when Adrian Lyne’s UNFAITHFUL (2002) was a surprise hit. Not an “erotic thriller,” exactly, but a drama that devoted a fair amount of screen time to sex. Around the same time ADDICTED hit theaters Sony/Screen Gems had a surprise hit with NO GOOD DEED, a home invasion thriller with an unusually respectable pedigree including Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson in the leads. Both of those films were marketed largely to black audiences, and while Lionsgate switched their focus back to Tyler Perry films to court that audience Sony has made it a point to release a sexy new PG-13 thriller in the Fall (THE PERFECT GUY in 2015, WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS last year).
While those films did a decent job of scratching a particular itch, it has been confounding that none of the major studios have really capitalized on the blockbuster success of the FIFTY SHADES films. Despite each of the first two films grossing well over $100 million, American production companies have apparently been unwilling (or unable) to cater to the audience that made that franchise a hit. Even “mockbuster” specialists The Asylum only did one knock-off (BOUND starring Charisma Carpenter) timed to capitalize on the release of the first FIFTY SHADES movie. So it’s not entirely surprising that it has taken three years for another R-rated film to come from a Hollywood studio marketed heavily on its sex appeal. UNFORGETTABLE is the directorial debut of veteran producer Denise Di Novi, and the first real test of whether the success of the FIFTY SHADES franchise can be replicated.