We've Got Hollywood Covered

Spec Market Roundup – September 2011’s Sales

2011’s spec sale tally is the highest since before the 2007-2008 WGA Strike

The Scoggins Report is TheWrap's bi-weekly analysis of the feature film development business. To download the PDF and receive early editions going forward, sign up for Jason's mailing list via the form at the bottom of ItsontheGrid.com, a division of TheWrap. You can follow IOTG's Twitter feed here, and the Facebook page is here.


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 two 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.

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:
• 4 scripts hit the boards, none of which sold
• 1 additional sale was reported (“Murders and Acquisitions”)

Week of September 19:
• 9 scripts hit the tracking boards, none of which sold
• 1 additional sale was reported (“Man With A Gun”)

Week of August Sept 26 (Rosh Hashanah):
• 5 scripts hit the tracking boards, none of which sold
• 2 additional sales were reported (“Expiration” and “Untitled Ashley Bradley Project”) 



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.

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.


If the above is your cup of tea, you'll love the ItsontheGrid.com newsfeed. We post highlights of recent additions and changes to the database throughout the day, including individual posts on every spec that hits the market and roundups of new open writing assignments. Buttons to subscribe to the blog's feeds are right where you'd expect them.