WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KTVU) - At Century 14 theaters in Walnut Creek, a group of women lined up outside, waiting to see "Fifty Shades of Grey."
They were part of a San Ramon book club that rented out an entire theater to see the movie.
"It's a movie, you know. It's entertainment. We're all here for fun," said Suzy Overholtzer, a mother of five.
"It's a fictional book and a fictional story and so I don't really take it to heart that she's being abused. I know that's how some people feel," said Merrill Grimmer of San Ramon. "It's just a fantasy and just like i said, (and) fun to look at it through someone else's eyes."
The movie and the storyline behind the popular erotic romance novel have elicited much debate and controversy. Those who saw the movie had mixed reaction and differing interpretations.
"The male character I actually saw as more of a sympathetic character than I thought I would," said Brett Moraga of Benecia.
"Towards the end he really comes across as somebody who has issues and is self-aware enough to know he has issues. (The movie) was a lot different than I thought it was going to be."
"I have a little bit of a fascination with his techniques that he uses -- just how he can be a dominant but assertive type of gentleman, but not too dominant to where he's (disrespectful) towards women," said Nick Jessup, of Martinez.
Tracy Clark-Flory, a sex writer for online magazine Salon.com, likes how 50 shades has inspired conversation about sexuality, but doesn't believe the storyline empowers women.
"Feminism is very concerned with consent, equal relationships and mutual satisfaction, and Fifty Shades is not, to my reading, not about that at all. It's really about her relenting to his desires," said Tracy Clark-Flory, Sex Writer, Salon.com.