By my count, Hwood studios and prod cos acquired 88 spec scripts in 2008. During this week, I’ll be breaking down those numbers.
Note: I acquired information from the Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, DoneDealPro.com, Trackingboard.com, various other movie blogs, and some LA contacts. That said, these should not be considered ‘official’ stats, but best estimates given information sources.
First, let’s break down sales by genre. Some scripts were categorized as cross-genres, so those are noted where relevant.
2008 SPEC SCRIPT SALES BY GENRE
Comedy Adventure 1
Comedy Drama 1
Comedy Fantasy 1
Comedy Supernatural 1
Comedy Teen 1
Action Thriller 7
Action Adventure 2
Action Teen 1
Action Horror 1
Drama Comedy 2
Drama Crime 1
Drama Epic War 1
Drama Supernatural 1
Drama Teen 1
Drama Thriller 1
Thriller Adventure 1
Thriller Biopic 1
Thriller Drama 1
ROMANTIC COMEDY 6
Fantasy Adventure 1
SCIENCE FICTION 3
Sci Fi Action 2
Sci Fi 1
Sci Fi 1
Fam Action Com 1
Horror Comedy 1
Clearly Comedy was king as this genre accounted for 40% of all spec script sales. And if you add Romantic Comedies, the number goes up to 48%.
The Action category has the most cross-genre movies with only 2 designated as straight-ahead action movies. In fact, if you combine Action Thriller (7) with Thriller (10), that total of 17 spec scripts would rank second to Comedy.
What can we discern from these numbers?
* While it might look like Hwood’s obsession with Fantasy could be on the wane with only 3 spec script sales in this genre, most of the fantasy acquisitions are books and book series, and that continues to be an active market.
* Drama acquisitions derive most often from books, too, so it’s a bit surprising to see that genre so well represented on the spec script list.
* It’s tempting to think that the strength of the Comedy genre is tied to our country’s current gloomy mood re economy, two wars, health care, and so on — and that likely is a contributing factor, Hwood figuring that moviegoers want escapist entertainment. However, comedy is always a strong genre annually in Hwood for many reasons including high concept comedies being easier to market, cheaper to make — plus there are a lot of talented comic actors right now who have proven they can ‘open’ a movie (e.g., Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Seth Rogen, Tina Fey).
* Action Thriller / Thriller appears to be an area in which the studios continue to have interest. Movie fans do like to get caught up in action and suspense, and that can serve as great escapist fare as well.
* The top four genres — Comedy, Action, Drama, Thriller — combine for a total of 69 deals or almost 80% of total sales. Not surprising because the studios have historically mined those genres to fill out their annual movie slates.
Bottom line: If you’re funny and can write funny, it’s a good market for a comedy spec script. Action Thriller also appears to be particularly strong. Per usual, if you write a great script in any genre, you stand a good chance it will get set up.
What are your thoughts re these numbers?
Tomorrow we’ll break down 2008 sales by studio to determine which ones were the most and least active in the spec script acquisition market.