Studios in Bidding War for 'Fifty Shades'-Lite Novel 'Beautiful Disaster'
The next Fifty Shades of Grey might be here.
In the months since the erotic novel hit Hollywood’s radar, the industry has been on the hunt for the next literary sensation that can tap into the female-driven market. That book just may be Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, an author from Oklahoma.
Sources say Warner Bros and CBS Films are engaged in a heated bidding way to acquire movie rights to the novel, which, like Fifty Shades, was initially self-published online, became a hit, then got picked up a publisher (in this case, Atria Books.)
Even the stories have parallels. While Fifty Shades features the virginal Anastasia Steele, who falls under the spell of Christian Grey, Disaster centers on college good-girl Abby Abernathy, who doesn’t drink or swear. Her romantic foil is Travis Maddox, “lean, cut and covered in tattoos,” according to the book description. He makes a bet with Abernathy: If Abernathy wins, he must abstain from sex for a month; if she loses, she must live with him for a month.
The book is seen as being in similar in tone to Fifty Shades but in a YA vein and without all the kinky sex. That makes it very attractive to Hollywood studios, which are concerned that audiences might shy away from a Fifty Shades movie due to the graphic scenes. Universal and Focus Features bought movie rights to the steamy novel and have tasked producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti (The Social Network) to adapt it.
Donald De Line is the producer attached to the Warners bid for Beautiful Disaster; it's not clear who would produce for CBS Films.
Atria says the sequel, expected in 2013 and titled Walking Disaster, will continue the story from Maddox's point of view.
McGuire sold more than 200,000 copies on her own, self-publishing first as an ebook and later as a trade paperback in October through Amazon's Createspace.
The novel topped Amazon's self-published sales chart and even made an appearance on The New York Times list. Atria immediately took over publishing the ebook when it signed McGuire. A paperback version arrives Aug 14.
She's repped by Rebecca Watson of Valerie Hoskins Associates, the same U.K.-based agency that handles Fifty Shades author E.L. James.