The Scoggins Report: September 2011 Spec Market Roundup

Spec Market Roundup for September 2011

We’re calling it: 2011 is officially the best year for spec sales since before the 2007-2008 WGA strike. As of the end of September, Studio Buyers had collectively bought 40 spec scripts in 2011, equaling 2009’s tally and crushing 2010’s (31). Add in this week’s purchases by Summit and Warner Bros. plus the 34 specs bought this year by Other Buyers and we’re above 2009’s high water mark (73) by every measure.

As you’ll see from the below breakdowns, the amount of material on the market last month was fairly low compared to years past, primarily thanks to Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah. Nevertheless, September’s five sales kept 2011’s monthly streak intact. Here are the highlights:

  • Warner Bros. picked up where it left off in July, buying its 10th spec of the year in September … and its 11th of the year this week. That puts the studio 2 ahead of its already impressive 2009 total. Summit and Relativity are now the only Studio Buyers that haven’t bought at least as many specs this year as last.
  • The agency rankings shuffled again last month: WME’s two sales put it back in the lead with a dozen spec sales in 2011, one ahead of CAA’s 11 and two ahead of UTA’s 10. The race is hardly over, though: UTA got another notch on its belt this week alone, and we expect to hear about a second before Halloween.

It sounds like DreamWorks won’t be looking for additional original material this year, but we’re hoping the recent senior executive promotions and deal renewals at Relativity and Universal, respectively, signals a splashy spec sale or two between now and Thanksgiving. At the very least, one assumes Dan Fogelman’s people at WME are gearing up for their annual year-end heist; it’ll be interesting to see whether Warner Bros. is the mark or the shill this year.

September’s numbers are below. Enjoy.

September 2011 September 2010 September 2009
New Specs 25 34 40
Number Sold1 5 5 7
Percent Sold2 12% 15% 10%
Genres Sold 2 Action/Adventure

1 Drama

2 Thriller

1 Action/Adventure

1 Comedy

1 Fantasy

1 Sci-Fi

1 Thriller

1 Action/Adventure

1 Drama

1 Sci-fi

4 Thrillers

1 This number is a tally of every script that sold in September

2 Only counts scripts that came out and sold in September.

Weekly Activity Breakdown

Week of September 5 (Labor Day):

  • 4 scripts hit the tracking boards, none of which sold
  • 1 additional sale was reported (“The Leonardo Job”)

Week of September 12:

Week of September 19:

  • 9 scripts hit the boards, none of which sold
  • 1 additional sale was reported (“Man With A Gun”)

Week of August Sept 26 (Rosh Hashanah):

Genre Breakdown*

Genre Total Sold % Sold
Action/

Adventure

4 1+1 25%
Comedy 9 0 0%
Drama 3 1 33%
Horror 2 0 0%
Thriller 4 2 50%

* September’s numbers only

Spec Sales (alphabetical by title)

Untitled Ashley Bradley Project

Writer: Ashley Bradley

Reps: WME (Sarah Self) and New Wave (Josh Adler, Mike Goldberg)

Buyer: Disney

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Attachments: Collider’s Marc Guggenheim and Alisa Tager are attached to produce.

Expiration

Writer: Brian Tucker

Reps: WME (Chris Donnelly, Greg Hodes)

Buyer: Emmett/Furla

Genre: Thriller

Attachments: Randall Emmett and George Furla will produce with Tucker.

Notes: Script originally went out in February

The Leonardo Job

Writers: David Twohy

Reps: ICM (Robert Lazar)

Buyer: Alcon

Genre: Action/adventure

Attachments: Twohy is attached to direct.

Notes: Script hit the market in April.

Man With A Gun

Writers: Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Reps: ICM (Aaron Hart) and Field Entertainment (Jeff Field)

Buyer: Crime Scene Pictures

Genre: Thriller

Attachments: Nick Wechsler will produce through his eponymous banner alongside Crime Scene’s Robert Paris and Adam Ripp. Philip Elway and Rizal Risjad will exec produce and Lizzy Bradford will co-produce.

Murders and Acquisitions

Writer: Jonathan Stokes

Reps: UTA and Energy (Brooklyn Weaver)

Buyer: Warner Bros.

Genre: Action

Attachments: Katzsmith’s David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are attached to produce.

Notes: The script originally went out from Instrumental Management in June 2010; UTA and Energy repackaged the version that sold. Sarah Schechter will oversee the project for Warner Bros.

About The Scoggins Report:

The Scoggins Report is a terribly unscientific analysis of the feature film development business based on information assembled from a variety of public and non-public sources. The numbers in the reports are by no means official statistics. Archive editions of The Scoggins Report can be found at The Business of Show Institute (http://bit.ly/2HRZ67) and in their beautiful new home on www.thewrap.com.

Details on every person, project and company covered by the Report can also be found at www.ItsontheGrid.com, the only place mere mortals can find listings of Hollywood’s active open writing and directing assignments, not to mention comprehensive spec market data and active film development information.

The IOTG Blog has a new home on the site: www.ItsontheGrid.com/news It includes daily highlights of recent database updates and individual posts on every spec that hits the market. You’ll find buttons to subscribe to the blog’s feed right where you’d expect them, and you can follow the site’s Twitter feed here: http://twitter.com/itsonthegrid.

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