Indiewire: 2012 Box Office Wrap-Up

January 8th, 2013 by

Cynics among us may quibble over the various typifications of movies [for example, why This is 40 is considered a Hit while Paranorman is typified as a Recouper]. But there is a lot to learn from analyzing this list, supplied by IndieWire. Check out these numbers:

As a screenwriter, I’ll tell you what I lock in on: Low Budget Hits. I don’t own the rights to a property like Pokemon, or a board game like Monopoly, or even Slinky: The Movie. But I generate and develop high concepts, and in trying to take the line of least resistance with buyers, that is write a spec script that is a great story and has no negatives [e.g., period piece, tough genre, difficult shoot), I have come up with a story that is all that, plus it’s a low-budget project.

If you check out the Low Budget Hits list, then cherry pick Hits like Chronicle [$12M budget] and Smashes like Magic Mike [$7M], low-budget, high-concept is definitely one consideration screenwriters should have when assessing potential spec script concepts.

How about you? What do you see in this list? What jumps out at you? I’ll see you in comments for your analysis of the 2012 box office.

For the whole IndieWire article, go here.

6 thoughts on “Indiewire: 2012 Box Office Wrap-Up

  1. Shaula Evans says:

    > But I generate and develop high concepts, and in trying to take the line of least resistance with buyers, that is write a spec script that is a great story and has no negatives [e.g., period piece, tough genre, difficult shoot), I have come up with a story that is all that, plus it’s a low-budget project.

    Scott, would you be interested in writing on what some of the big negatives are for spec (e.g., what constitutes “difficult shoot”), and how to approach writing low budget? It’s a topic I’m really interested (I assume I’m not the only one) and I’m finding very little information on it.

    The big (happy) surprise for me in the analysis is that Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came in as a “smash” while Brave, MIB3 and Looper were only “hits”. I would LOVE to see more films like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Although I don’t expect math or business sense to make films like this easier to pitch… but I would love to be wrong about that, and see some savvy filmmakers start making quality films that appeal to boomers and seniors.

    1. Bryan Colley says:

      Every year has one or two indie films that become smashes like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I think if they made a thousand of them, still only one or two would find an big audience.

  2. Holly Bell says:

    Chernobyl Diaries had a budget of 1 million but grossed 37 million. Did the marketing eat up the gross; hence, the movie is classified recoupers? What is the typical marketing budget for an Indie movie, and is there a gross number threshold a production company expects to hit before going forward in production?

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