In January 2013, fans were growing tremendously excited over the fact that Warner Bros., after a bidding war with CBS Films, had optioned the film rights for Jamie McGuire’s bestselling novel, Beautiful Disaster. The book was originally self-published by McGuire, similarly to E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, and quickly garnered a devoted audience. Beautiful Disaster quickly climbed its way up the best-sellers list and obsessed readers were eager to see the story brought to the big screen. At the center of the dark romance are Abby Abernathy, a good girl with a dark past, and Travis Maddox, a charming bad boy with an even worse reputation. Producer Donald Deline and screenwriter Julia Hart recognized the potential for a great movie and jumped on board the project, causing fans everywhere to start making their predictions for casting. Yet here we are in 2014 at the end of March and talk about the upcoming film has turned into a barely audible whisper. So what’s the deal?
According to Jamie McGuire’s website, Hart has indeed finished the screenplay for the film and Deline has been focusing on finding a director. Despite having such great bait, so far no one has bitten. The Warner Bros. option on the film was set to run out in February. McGuire stated “it would take an act of God for production to begin before (February 2014) I have high hopes that Beautiful Disaster will be a movie some day, but it doesn’t look like it will be as soon as we hoped.” McGuire gently let fans down addressing the issue that many times books are optioned for film and never actually make it to the big screen.
But Beautiful Disaster lovers! Do not fall into despair just yet! Regardless that Warner Bros.’ option on the film has timed out, there is still hope that someday Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Hemsworth (or whoever everyone else pictures) will rightfully take their roles as Abby and Travis on the big screen. Just because Warner Bros. hasn’t been having the best of luck with the project doesn’t mean another production company won’t. When a book has been optioned for film, it does not mean that the rights to the book have been purchased, rather they’ve been temporarily loaned out. The right to purchase the rights in the future has been obtained, but that permanent purchase can only take place after a series of events have occurred that would ultimately lead to a movie being made.
An optioning time period lasts from about a year to a year and a half. In that time quite a few things must happen in a rather fast manner. One of the very first things to be done is to produce an actual screenplay. Here, Warner Bros. succeeded with Hart finishing the writing. Next, initial agreements must be made with potential directors, principal actors and a series of financiers. This was the last known step that Warner Bros. was in the process of trying to make happen. Once a team has been assembled, the product is taken to a studio or other potential financiers. The screenplay is then finalized to the point where all stakeholders are in agreement and then production on the film can begin. If this is not completed in the allotted optioning period, the rights to the book are up and either an extension can be purchased or another producer has the chance to option it. What this all means is that there is still so much hope! The option period could have been extended by purchase or there are now other producers eager to get their hands on it.
For now, Beautiful Disaster is waiting patiently with several other optioned books (Ann Brashare’s My Name is Memory, Scott Westerfeld’sThe Uglies, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium to name a few) to have its shining moment on the big screen. However with so many successful movie franchises based off beloved novels, I highly suspect it won’t have to wait too long. Fans of McGuire’s books can tie over their Maddox cravings for the time being when Jamie McGuire’s first book in the Maddox Brother series, Beautiful Oblivion, hits shelves in July.