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Beautiful Creatures: Why the Spell Fizzled at the Box Office

Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures Warner Bros. Pictures

Wasn't Beautiful Creatures supposed to be the next Twilight? What happened?
—Money Child, via Twitter

You speak of the best-selling novel about "casters," which is 2013 for "witches," featuring a supernatural girl torn between forces of "light" and "darkness" and the boy who, of course, must protect her from everything. Yes, the series was supposed to be the next big magical thing, but it got crushed this weekend by Safe Haven.

Looking for someone to blame? Start with—wait for it—the fans.

 

Bruce Willis is back. Yippie-ki-yay?

First, the numbers.

Beautiful Creatures grossed $7.5 million over this past weekend. Compare that with the first Twilight movie. When that debuted in 2009, it raked in $7 million from its initial midnight showing alone.

Meanwhile, the latest Nicholas Sparks romance, Safe Haven, starring Julianne Hough, earned $21.5 million this past weekend. And A Good Day to Die Hard, which got horrendous reviews, won the weekend with nearly $25 million.

According to experts, you can blame two parties for the ugly end to Beautiful Creatures.

The first party: Beautiful Creatures fans themselves. Before the film launched, it was no secret that the big-screen adaptation differed significantly from the book, with departures ranging from the female lead's coloring to the elimination of entire characters to the way in which characters meet.

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The differences are so great that some fans are begging—really—that the film series be killed. Now.

"They pretty much took what they wanted from different parts of all the books and threw it together," an early-viewing fan posted on Goodreads last week. "They left out too many details, and too much of the story line. I hope they don't make another one. This one is bad enough.

"Please DO NOT MAKE ANY MORE."

Ouch.

"When you don't satiate your core audience, you're in hot water when it comes to the box office," Exhibitor Relations box office analyst Jeff Bock tells me.

The other group you might want to blame? (Other than Nicholas Sparks fans?) How about Twi-hards? Warner Bros. relentlessly positioned Beautiful Creatures as the next Twilight—and the tactic backfired, Bock says.

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Beautiful Creatures Warner Bros.

"When you're pushing your film as a Twilight knockoff, which WB's press machine so blatantly did over the last couple weeks, it actually enraged the Twi-hards, who vehemently defend their cherished cinematic turf," Bock says. "I actually think Twi-hards believe they have the copyright on gothic love stories, and you know what, they just might be right.

"Truth is, that Twilight demographic didn't turn out, and even though the reviews of Beautiful Creatures are better than the top films at the box office, it was perceived as too different from the norm to make much of an impact."

Again, ouch. Maybe we just need more movies about kids killing each other in big outdoor arenas?

Still: What a pretty movie!

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