Beautiful Creatures (2013 film)

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Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures One,4D low res.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard LaGravenese
Written byRichard LaGravenese
Based onBeautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia
Margaret Stohl
Produced by
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited byDavid Moritz
Music byThenewno2
Dhani Harrison
Paul Hicks
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 19, 2013 (2013-01-19) (Moscow)
  • February 14, 2013 (2013-02-14) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50–60 million[3][4]
Box office$60.1 million[4]

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.[5] It stars Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, and Emma Thompson.

It 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 has not met. He despairs of his small-town existence and dreams of leaving for college. His first day of junior year, a newcomer Lena Duchannes resembles the girl Ethan has been dreaming about. Other students gossip about Lena's reclusive uncle, Macon Ravenwood, suggesting her family are devil worshippers. On the way home, Ethan nearly runs her over. Giving her a ride, they bond over interests.

In class, a few students insist they can not be in class with Lena, and pray to be protected from her and her family. Visibly shaken, her class windows shatter, increasing fears and suspicions she is a witch. Ethan and Lena become friends and he gives her a locket he found at Greenbriar. Both touching the locket triggers a shared flashback to the Civil War.

Macon, disapproving of their relationship, conspires with Ethan's family friend, Amma, to separate them. Lena tells Ethan that she and her family are "casters" capable of performing spells. On her sixteenth birthday, her true nature will reveal itself toward either the light or dark.

Complications arise when two powerful dark casters 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 Lena will become a powerful caster, wanting Lena to use her power to purge the Earth of humans, leaving just casters. The couple have another flashback of their past with the locket, revealing that their ancestors, caster Genevieve Duchannes and mortal Confederate soldier Ethan Carter Wate, were in love. Ethan died in battle, and Genevieve revived him. Doing so laid a curse on all Duchannes women; they will go dark on their sixteenth birthday. A mortified Lena asks Amma to help, being a seer and keeper of the caster library beneath the town library, extending all across the USA. The most ancient of the 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 love.

Seducing Link, Ridley gives him a bullet to use in the upcoming Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Honey Hill, also Lena's 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 to be the sacrifice to lift the curse. As he is 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. Allowing Ridley to flee, she pulls Sarafine from Mrs. Lincoln's body, powerfully sealing away Sarafine's spirit.

Six months later, a still-amnesiac Ethan visits Amma in the library before a college tour with Link. Lena gives him a book they had once shared as a present. Lena is a half light/dark caster. As Link and Ethan reach the town line, the town's burned exit sign reminds him momentarily, he gets out of the car, shouting Lena. She hears his call.



Alcon Entertainment purchased the rights to Beautiful Creatures in 2009, with director Richard LaGravenese signing on soon after to write and direct the movie.[8] Casting began in late 2011,[9] and in February 2012, Viola Davis was cast as Amma.[10] Soon after, Jack O'Connell and Alice Englert were announced to play the lead characters of Ethan Wate and Lena Duchannes.[11] O'Connell later dropped out due to a scheduling conflict, with Alden Ehrenreich assuming the role of Ethan.[12] Further casting included Emma Thompson as Sarafine and Mrs. Lincoln and Jeremy Irons as Lena's uncle Macon Ravenwood.[13] Of the character of Lena, Englert stated that "Lena is like most girls when you feel massively insecure".[5]

Principal photography was originally scheduled to begin 23 April 2012 in New Orleans,[14] 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."[15] 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."[16] On 19 September 2012, the first trailer for Beautiful Creatures was released.[17]

Camille Balsamo played Genevieve Katherine Duchannes[18] 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.[15]

The original soundtrack was composed by thenewno2 and released by WaterTower Music. Its musical style was referred to as "swamptronic", a term coined by LaGravenese, and it was recorded at Abbey Road. Dhanni Harrison, son of George Harrison, used some of his father's guitars and equipment in recording the soundtrack.[19]



Beautiful Creatures' release date was originally scheduled to be on 13 February 2013,[5][16] 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.[20] The film held its official US premiere on 11 February 2013, in New York City.[21]

Home media[edit]

Beautiful Creatures was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 21 May 2013.[22][23] 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.[24]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $10,124,912 during its opening weekend, including its Thursday release date, under-performing based on media expectations.[25][26][27]

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[4][28]) it did better internationally, where it has grossed $40,600,000. As of 21 April 2013, the film grossed a worldwide total of $60,052,138,[4] making it a financial loss. It failed to recoup its production budget and other costs, as generally speaking, half of ticket sales proceeds go to theaters.[28] Variety magazine listed Beautiful Creatures as one of "Hollywood's biggest box office bombs of 2013".[29]

Critical response[edit]

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".[30] On Metacritic, the film received a score of 52% based on 40 reviews, indicating mixed or average reviews.[31]

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... 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."[32]

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..."[33]

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."[34]

Scott Mendelson of Forbes magazine called the film "shockingly good" and encouraged viewers who missed it to check it out on video.[35]

CinemaScore audience polls gave the film a B grade.[36]

Beautiful Creatures was featured on episode 187 of the comedy podcast How Did This Get Made?.[37]


Award Category Nominee Result
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

Canceled sequels[edit]

Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment initially purchased the film rights to all four novels in the Caster Chronicles series, with this film being based on the first book. Tentative plans for the next three books to be adapted into films were abandoned following this film's failure at the box office.[38]


  1. ^ Hazelton, John (15 February 2012). "Summit titles sell well at FFM". Screen International. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Beautiful Creatures (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  3. ^ FilmL.A. (March 2014). "2013 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study: 35. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Beautiful Creatures". Box Office Mojo.
  5. ^ a b c Wilkinson, Amy. "'Beautiful Creatures': Exclusive First Look at the Magical Set!". MTV. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Snider, Jeff (March 16, 2012). "'Beautiful Creatures' Attracts 3 Thesps". Variety. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  7. ^ "Beautiful Creatures Times, Movie Tickets, and Theaters - Zap2it". February 14, 2013. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Amy. "Will 'Beautiful Creatures' Movie Cast Similar Box-Office Spell As 'Harry Potter'?". MTV. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  9. ^ Lamoureux, Jen (23 November 2011). "Casting for 'Beautiful Creatures' by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl has begun". Hypable. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  10. ^ Anderton, Ethan. "Viola Davis Lands Roles in 'Ender's Game' and 'Beautiful Creatures'". First Showing. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (7 February 2012). "O'Connell, Englert are WB's 'Beautiful Creatures'". Variety. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  12. ^ Prinzivalli, Fallon. "Alden Ehrenreich To Replace Jack O'Connell In 'Beautiful Creatures'". MTV. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  13. ^ Kay, Jancie (10 February 2012). "Emma Thompson Joins Cast Of 'Beautiful Creatures'". Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Beautiful Creatures Casts Emma Thompson". Film New Orleans. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  15. ^ a b LaGravenese in Lovece, Frank (February 8, 2013). "Creature Feature: Richard LaGravenese enters the young-adult fantasy world with 'Beautiful Creatures'". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  16. ^ a b Wilkinson, Amy. "Emmy Rossum Takes Us Behind The Scenes Of Swirling 'Beautiful Creatures' Set". MTV. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  17. ^ Stecker, Joshua (September 20, 2012). "'Beautiful Creatures' Trailer Debuts, Smells Like Teenage Spirits (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  18. ^ Rojas Weiss, Sabrina (July 23, 2012). "Beautiful Creatures Co-Star Camille Balsamo Promises Cast "Fits Their Characters To A T"". VH1. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  19. ^ Wilkinson, Amy. "'Beautiful Creatures' Score To Include Alice Englert-Penned Song". MTV News. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  20. ^ "Beautiful Creatures (2013) (2013) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo".
  21. ^ Frank DiGiacomo (February 12, 2012). "'Beautiful Creatures' Premiere — New franchise For 'Twilight' Crowd?". Movieline. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  22. ^ "Beautiful Creatures DVD release". April 23, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-27.
  23. ^ "Beautiful Creatures Blu-ray release". April 23, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-09-30.
  24. ^ "Beautiful Creatures (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  25. ^ Ray Subers (February 19, 2013). "Around-the-World Roundup: Fifth 'Die Hard' Has 'Good Day' Overseas". Box Office Mojo. Domestic disappointment
  26. ^ Grady Smith (February 14, 2013). "Box office preview: 'Die Hard' gunning for No. 1 over holiday weekend". Inside Movies | Time Inc. Retrieved September 28, 2013. Beautiful Creatures will likely have to settle for rather ugly $15 million four-day weekend
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ a b 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
  29. ^ Variety Staff (December 26, 2013). "Hollywood's Biggest Box Office Bombs of 2013". Variety. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  30. ^ Beautiful Creatures at Rotten Tomatoes
  31. ^ "Beautiful Creatures". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  32. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (February 22, 2013). "Beautiful Creatures". Entertainment Weekly. New York: Time Inc. p. 59.
  33. ^ Kendrick, Ben (February 2013). "Beautiful Creatures Review". Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  34. ^ Denby, David (March 4, 2013). "Dangerous Liaisons". The New Yorker. Vol. 89, no. 3. pp. 80–81.
  35. ^ Scott Mendelson (2013-08-24). "'The Butler' Tops Again, 'The Mortal Instruments' Bombs". Forbes.
  36. ^ Smith, Grady (February 17, 2013). "Movies Box office report: 'Die Hard' holds off 'Safe Haven' with $25 million; 'Beautiful Creatures' has ugly debut". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  37. ^ "Beautiful Creatures". Earwolf. April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  38. ^ "Beautiful Creatures 2 Updates: Is a Sequel Still Happening?". Screen Rant. 11 March 2020.

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