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Erotic novel acquired by film producers

NEW YORK (AP) — Universal Pictures and Focus Features have acquired the rights to E.L. James' bestselling erotic novel, "Fifty Shades of Gray."

In a joint announcement Monday, Universal and Focus called the word-of-mouth sensation a "special story."

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.