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Spec Market Scorecard – Stats through Aug. 19, 2011

The Fall spec selling season starts in less than two weeks, so we predict what’s in store through the end of the year

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

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The expected summer slowdown has finally arrived in the spec market. July ended strong, as we reported in the last Scoggins Report, and August’s numbers already match 2010’s, but the crickets have been chirping since the beginning of the month. We expect this pace to continue through Labor Day.

Since the Fall selling season will kick off in less than two weeks, though, we took a look at the last two year’s Fall numbers for clues to what to expect through the end of the year. Here are the highlights:

Studio Buyers: Last year the studios bought 15 specs between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31. Since Warner Bros. grabbed 7 of those and they’ve already bought 9 scripts this year, it’s probably unlikely we’ll hit that mark this year. 2009’s numbers are achievable: The studios bought 11 specs during the period that year, led by Paramount with 3. Lionsgate has yet to get into the game this year, and Relativity is going to need material to feed its new Chinese production/distribution partnership.

Other Buyers: Non-studio buyers bought 10 specs in 2010 and 8 specs in 2009. There isn’t much of a pattern in those purchases, so it’s anyone’s guess where we’ll end up this year. There are still a significant number of buyers from 2009 who haven’t bought yet in 2011, though, so we think we’ll hit the over/under.

Agencies: The top four agencies sold 17 specs during the Fall of 2010 (led by CAA and WME, with 5 each) and 16 during the period in 2009 (led by ICM with 5 and WME with 3). Agencies’ sales are governed by buyers’ appetites, obviously, but chances are good that the top agency (whichever it is) will be in the range of 2010‘s winner (CAA, with 12 spec sales) and 2009’s (CAA again, with 14).

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and have a fantastic Labor Day weekend.

Each of the following production companies has been attached to at least one spec sale so far this year.  Companies in bold have been added since the last Scorecard.

(The grid showing Management Companies continues on the next page.)

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