Beautiful Creatures (2013 film)
Beautiful Creatures is a 2013 American romantic gothic fantasy film written for the screen and directed by Richard LaGravenese based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, and Emma Thompson.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard LaGravenese|
|Written by||Richard LaGravenese|
|Based on||Beautiful Creatures|
by Kami Garcia
|Edited by||David Moritz|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$60.1 million|
The film was released in the United States on February 14, 2013, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $60.1 million worldwide against its $60 million budget, making it a box office bomb.
In Gatlin, South Carolina, teenager Ethan Wate awakens from a recurring dream of a girl he does not know. He despairs his small-town existence and dreams of leaving Gatlin for college. His first day of junior year, Ethan notices newcomer Lena Duchannes, who resembles the girl he has been dreaming about. The other students spread gossip about Lena's reclusive uncle, Macon Ravenwood, and suggest that her family includes devil worshippers. On a drive home, Ethan nearly runs over Lena. He gives her a ride home, and the two bond over common interests.
During class, a couple of students insist they can not be in a class with Lena. They pray to be protected from her and her family. Lena is visibly shaken and the classroom windows shatter, amplifying the fears and suspicions of the townspeople that she is a witch. Ethan and Lena become friends and he gives her a locket he found at Greenbriar as a present. Both of them touching the locket triggers a shared flashback to the American Civil War. Macon disapproves of the couple's developing love and conspires with Ethan's family friend, Amma, to keep the two separated. Lena confesses to Ethan that she and her family are "casters" capable of performing magical spells. On her sixteenth birthday, her true nature will steer her toward either light or dark.
Matters are complicated by the arrival of two powerful dark casters who aim to push Lena to the dark: Ridley, Lena's cousin, and Lena's mother, Sarafine, who did not raise Lena and has possessed Mrs. Lincoln, the mother of Ethan's friend Link. Sarafine foresees that Lena will become a powerful caster. She intends for Lena to use her newfound power to purge the Earth of humans, leaving casters to rule in their wake. Lena and Ethan use the locket to experience another flashback of their past, which reveals that their ancestors, caster Genevieve Duchannes and mortal Confederate soldier Ethan Carter Wate, were in love. Ethan Carter was shot in battle, and Genevieve revived him using a forbidden spell that caused her to go dark and lay a curse on all the Duchanne women; they will go dark on their sixteenth birthday. This mortifies Lena. They consult with Amma, who is a seer and keeper of the caster library beneath the town library, extending all across the USA. The most ancient of these books reveals the secret to undoing the curse: someone Lena loves has to die. Unwilling to take Ethan's life, Lena erases his memories of their time together.
Ridley seduces Link and gives him a bullet to use in an upcoming Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Honey Hill which will take place on Lena's birthday. On her sixteenth birthday, Lena feels the shock of the curse being broken and runs to Ethan, clutching his dying body as Ridley and Sarafine encourage her to accept the dark. She lashes out in anger, sending a huge tornado through the crowd, until Ethan's body transforms into Macon, who had disguised himself as Ethan to become the sacrifice which lifts the curse. In dying, he reveals that he promised Ethan's mother to keep her son alive. These dying words encourage Lena to "claim [her]self"; she causes the moon to disappear so it cannot claim her for the dark. She allows Ridley to flee and pulls Sarafine from Mrs. Lincoln's body, using her power to seal Sarafine's spirit away.
Six months later, a still-amnesiac Ethan stops by the library to visit Amma before leaving for a college tour with Link. Lena gives him a book they had previously shared together as a present. Lena is revealed to be a half light/dark caster, like her mother and cousin. As Link and Ethan drive past the town line, Ethan glimpses the town's burned exit sign and has a moment of remembrance. He gets out of the car and yells Lena's name; she hears his call and is freed of her dark side as the film ends.
- Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan Wate
- Alice Englert as Lena Duchannes
- Jeremy Irons as Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood
- Viola Davis as Amarie Treadeau, "Amma"
- Emmy Rossum as Ridley Duchannes
- Thomas Mann as Wesley Jefferson Lincoln, "Link"
- Emma Thompson as Mavis Lincoln/Sarafine Duchannes
- Margo Martindale as Delphine Duchannes, "Aunt Del"
- Eileen Atkins as Emmaline Duchannes, "Gramma"
- Zoey Deutch as Emily Asher
- Tiffany Boone as Savannah Snow
- Kyle Gallner as Larkin Kent
- Rachel Brosnahan as Genevieve Katherine Duchannes
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Mr. Lee
- Robin Skye as Mrs. Hester
- Randy Redd as Reverend Stephens
- Lance E. Nichols as Mayor Snow
- Leslie Castay as Principal Herbert
- Sam Gilroy as Ethan Carter Wate
- Gwendolyn Mulamba as Mrs. Snow
- Cindy Hogan as Mrs. Asher
Alcon Entertainment purchased the rights to Beautiful Creatures in 2009, with director Richard LaGravenese signing on soon after to write and direct the movie. Casting for the film began in late 2011, and in February 2012, Viola Davis was cast as Amma. Soon after, Jack O'Connell and Alice Englert were announced to be playing the lead characters of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes. O'Connell later dropped out of the film due to a scheduling conflict, with Alden Ehrenreich assuming the role of Ethan. Further casting included Emma Thompson as Sarafine and Mrs. Lincoln and Jeremy Irons as Lena's uncle Macon Ravenwood. Of the character of Lena, Englert stated that "Lena is like most girls when you feel massively insecure".
Principal photography was originally scheduled to begin 23 April 2012, in New Orleans, and took place, said LaGravenese, beginning "I think, April 16th, and then we shot until June 26th, and then post[-production] was for me from July 5th to December 17th." LaGravenese chose to incorporate practical special effects along with computer-based ones for certain scenes, as Emmy Rossum described: "[W]hen we walked on to the stage and realized the chandelier does actually move, the chairs did actually spin, the table did actually spin... it was all very exciting." On 19 September 2012, the first trailer for Beautiful Creatures was released.
Camille Balsamo played Genevieve Katherine Duchannes in a sequence cut from the film; LaGravenese said:
There was one part that I shot on green screen where I had all these actresses playing all the different Duchannes women from different periods [from the Civil War on]. And my costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland, had gowns and things, one was from the turn of the century, one was from the ’20s, one was from the ’40s, one was from the '60s, and they were going to appear in the first flashback and at the end of the movie, and then I cut them. ... It was just an idea that didn't work.
Beautiful Creatures' release date was originally scheduled to be on 13 February 2013, but distributor Warner Bros. later pushed the date to Thursday, 24 February 2013. The film was still released in Sweden on the 13th, a day before the film's North American release date. The film held its official US premiere on 11 February 2013, in New York City.
Beautiful Creatures was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 21 May 2013. In its first month in release, the film sold around 428,792 copies in both DVD and Blu-ray formats combined, bringing in a consumer revenue of $7,377,859. As of 16 June 2013, the film has grossed an estimated $10,337,826 in DVD and Blu-ray sales.
While the film was considered to be a flop domestically, only grossing $19,452,138 by the end of its North American domestic theatrical run (against a $60 million production budget) it did better internationally, where it has grossed $40,600,000. As of 21 April 2013, the film has grossed a worldwide total of $60,052,138, making it a financial loss as it failed to recoup its production budget and other costs, as generally speaking, half of ticket sales go to theaters. Variety magazine listed Beautiful Creatures as one of "Hollywood's biggest box office bombs of 2013".
The film has received mixed reviews from critics. It has a 47% rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 169 reviews, with the site's consensus stating: "Charming romantic leads and esteemed supporting cast aside, Beautiful Creatures is a plodding YA novel adaptation that feels watered down for the Twilight set". On Metacritic, the film received a score of 52% based on 40 reviews, indicating mixed or average reviews.
Owen Gleiberman, in Entertainment Weekly, gave the film a "B-", writing, "Beautiful Creatures is arriving in a market-place full of Twilight junkies still eager for their supernatural teen-romantic fix, and the film's concept couldn't be clearer: It's Twilight with the sexes reversed. This time it's the boy who's the mortal: moody, bookish Ethan, the outsider in his sleepy small town." Gleiberman added that though the film "is lushly pictorial and not-too-badly acted...[but] the audience, like Ethan, spends way too much time waiting around for Lena to learn whether she's a good girl or a bad girl."
The film review website ScreenRant called the film "a choppy and melodramatic experience with very little payoff beyond the central love story. Worse yet, overlooking the usual on-the-nose dialogue about eternal love and sacrifice, this tale of star-crossed sweethearts is especially cheesy and unconvincing – even when compared to similarly heavy-handed young adult novel-turned-movies. Fans of the supernatural romance subgenre will get about what they expect..."
David Denby of The New Yorker wrote that the movie "is a classic example of the confusions and the outright blunders that can overtake talented people who commit themselves to a concept driven purely by the movie marketplace... Alas, the satirical energy and Ethan's bright talk dissipate after a while." He praises a scene from the Civil War flashback which "appears as Ethan and Lena are watching a movie in a local theatre, but only they can see it" as "an interesting idea that I wish LaGravenese had pursued as a parallel narrative. This kind of movie, however, demands not interesting ideas but whooshing spectacle and madly redundant climaxes and a soundtrack filled with thuds and a shouting female chorus."
Cinemascore audience polls gave the film a B grade.
|2013 Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Romance||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actor Romance||Alden Ehrenreich||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress Romance||Alice Englert||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Sci-Fi/Fantasy||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Breakout||Alice Englert||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Liplock||Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert||Nominated|
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Beautiful Creatures will likely have to settle for rather ugly $15 million four-day weekendCheck date values in:
- Ray Subers (February 14, 2013). "Forecast: Fifth 'Die Hard' Should Blow Up Presidents Weekend". Box Office Mojo.
... all had four-day starts north of $20 million, which is a reasonable expectation for Beautiful Creatures.
- Dorothy Pomerantz, Forbes Staff (2013-08-20). "'The Mortal Instruments' Is Not The Next 'Hunger Games.' So What Is?".
The film went on to earn just $60 million, about the same as it cost to make the movie. But considering only half the ticket money goes back to studio (in this case Warner Bros.), the film was a loss
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