The Scoggins Report: October 2013 Spec Market Roundup

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The Scoggins Report
by Jason Scoggins & Landon Rohwedder
November 4, 2013

October 2013

Spec Market Roundup

That odd sound you may have heard at the end of last week was a collective sigh of relief as the Spec Market finally posted some big, 2011/2012-style numbers. We tracked 37 new spec scripts, the highest number since October 2012, and 15 total sales, which is tied for the biggest month of 2013 (with February). That’s also the most in a single month since October 2011’s monster number (which you can see below).

And have we mentioned that total spec sales for 2013 broke into triple digits?

There’s a lot to like in the following pages, but here are our favorite highlights:

  • Four new buyers entered the market last month, including a couple of names we’ve been waiting to hear all year (Columbia and Legendary). Plus, one of the other more-or-less absent studio buyers, Paramount, picked up two.
  • UTA extended its first place lead over 2nd place WME to seven; its 4 spec sales in October is the agency’s best month since June 2012.
  • Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy continued its 2013 dominant hot streak, adding two additional specs sales for a total of 14 so far this year.

Things are bound to slow down a bit in November, but we should still end up with good numbers: Since Thanksgiving falls quite late in the month this year, we should see spec market activity through the 19th. And we’ve already tracked two sales so far in November.

October’s raw numbers are below, followed by the usual weekly breakdowns and the details of each sale.

Year-Over-Year Breakdown

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

 New Specs

37

55

53

42

46

 Specs Sold1

15

8

20

5

5

 Percent Sold2

41%

14%

38%

12%

11%

 Genres Sold

3 Action 3 Comedy 2 Drama 1 Horror 3 Sci-fi 3 Thriller

1 Comedy 2 Sci-fi 5 Thriller

2 Action/Adventure 5 Comedy 5 Drama 1 Horror 3 Sci-fi 4 Thriller

1 Action/Adventure 1 Comedy 2 Drama 1 Thriller

2 Action/Adventure 2 Comedy 1 Thriller

1 Total sales in October 2 Sales percentage of scripts that came out and sold in October

Genre Breakdown

 Genre

Total

Sold

% Sold

 Action/Adventure

5

3

60%

 Comedy

11

3

27%

 Drama

3

2

66%

 Horror

2

1

50%

 Sci-fi

6

3

50%

 Thriller

9

3

33%

The above percentages reflect just those that came out and sold in October.

Weekly Activity Breakdown

Week of September 30:

  • 10 new specs hit the tracking boards, one of which has sold so far Section 6 (10/14) 1 additional spec sale was announced: The Unsacred (10/3)

Week of October 7:

  • 5 new specs hit the tracking boards, none of which has yet sold
  • 1 additional spec sale was announced:
  • White Rush (10/9)

Week of October 14:

  • 4 new specs hit the boards, one of which has sold Patient Zero fka Patient Z (10/28) 3 additional spec sales were announced: Reminiscence (10/14) The Strategist (10/14) Untitled Cantwell/Rogers/Kosinski Project (10/14)

Week of October 21:

  • 3 new specs hit the tracking boards, none of which have yet sold
  • 2 additional spec sales were announced: Attach (10/22) The Drop (10/23)

Week of October 28 (Halloween):

  • 3 new specs hit the tracking boards, none of which have yet sold
  • 6 additional spec sales were announced: Bad Romance (10/31) Don’t Hang Up (10/30) Fetch (10/30) Little Black Dress (10/31) Sister-in-law (10/30) Unleash the Mules (10/31)

Spec Sales (alphabetical by title)

Project titles in the report are linked to the corresponding Spec Scout page, so you can click to see which of the below we’ve covered and scored there.

ATTACH

Writer: Chris Gorak (“The Darkest Hour”)

Reps: UTA (Jason Burns)

Buyer: Paramount

Genre: Sci-fi

Attachments: Gorak is attached to direct. Adam Schroeder (“Chronicle”) will produce.

Notes: The spec went out with a visual test by Gorak that sparked a bidding war.

Logline: TBA, but said to have a big visual concept in the vein of “Chronicle.”

BAD ROMANCE

Writer: Jonathan Levine (“50/50,” “Warm Bodies”)

Reps: CAA (Craig Gering)

Buyer: MGM

Genre: Comedy (we presume)

Attachments: Levine is also attached to direct. Channing Tatum is circling to star and will produce with his Iron Horse partner Reid Carolin.

Logline: On the DL.

DON’T HANG UP

Writer: Joe Johnson

Reps: Energy Entertainment (Brooklyn Weaver)

Buyer: Romaine Phillipe Equity

Genre: Thriller

Attachments: Alexis Wajsbrot & Damien Mace are set to direct. Romaine Phillipe will produce with Brooklyn Weaver and Altitudes Will Clarke. Altitude is handling foreign sales.

Logline: Contained thriller in the vein of “Hard Candy.”

FETCH

Writer: Kristen Vincent & Tim Moran

Reps: WME (Melissa Myers) and Mosaic

Buyer: Paramount Insurge

Genre: Comedy

Attachments: Space Floors Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec will produce with partners Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner.

Notes: Alison Small will oversee for the studio.

Logline: An offbeat buddy comedy involving a uniquely talented dog and his owner.

LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Writers: David Chase (“The Sopranos”)

Reps: UTA (Peter Benedek, Andrew Cannava)

Buyer: Paramount

Genre: Drama

Logline: A female war veteran returns from Afghanistan grappling with a disability. While working a potentially lethal investigation at a post-war job, she gets involved with a superstitious NYPD detective who helps bring her back from a personal precipice.

PATIENT ZERO

Writer: Mike Le (“Dark Summer”)

Reps: APA (David Saunders) and Hung Entertainment Group (Jonathan Hung)

Buyer: Screen Gems

Genre: Sci-fi action

Attachments: Vincent Newman (“We’re The Millers”) will produce.

Notes: Clint Culpepper and Scott Strauss will oversee for the studio. Project went out under the title “Patient Z.”

Logline: In a post-apocalyptic world, a man with the ability to speak the language of the undead interrogates zombies with the hopes of finding Patient Zero and a cure for his infected wife. In the vein of “Warm Bodies” and “The Walking Dead.”

REMINISCENCE

Writer: Lisa Joy

Reps: UTA (Larry Salz)

Buyers: Legendary

Genre: Sci-fi thriller

Notes: Price tag was a reported $1.75 million. Alex Hedlund and Jennifer Preston Bosari will oversee for Legendary.

Logline: Kept under wraps.

SECTION 6

Writer: Aaron Berg

Reps: Verve (Aaron Hart) and Caliber Media (Adam Simpson-Marshall)

Buyer: Universal

Genre: Historical action thriller

Attachments: Grey Matter ProductionsLawrence Grey will produce with Simpson-Marshall and Marc Platt ProductionsAdam Siegel and Marc Platt.

Notes: Price tag was reportedly seven figures. Jeffrey Kirschenbaum will oversee for Universal.

Logline: Revolves around the origin of MI6, the British intelligence agency that was founded during World War I..

SISTER-IN-LAW

Writer: Sarah Heyward (“Girls”)

Reps: UTA (Larry Salz)

Buyer: Good Universe

Genre: Comedy

Attachments: Hello GigglesZooey Deschanel, Rivka Rossi and Molly McAleer will produce.

Notes: Audrey Chon will oversee for Good Universe.

Logline: A woman meets her boyfriend’s family for the first time and must find a way to get along with her eccentric future sister-in-law.

THE DROP

Writer: Jeremy Drysdale

Reps: Independent Talent Group (U.K.) (Laura Rourke) and Sentient (Chris Tuffin)

Buyer: The Solution

Genre: Action thriller

Attachments: Skip Woods is attached to direct and will produce with The Solution’s Myles Nestel. Tuffin will also produce with Sentient colleague Renee Tab.

Logline: Kept under wraps.

THE STRATEGIST

Writer: Inon Shampanier

Reps: Original Artists (Chris Sablan, Jordan Bayer)

Buyer: Millennium

Genre: Thriller

Attachments: Shampanier will also direct. Millenium’s Mark Gill will produce with Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson and John Thompson.

Logline: A chess master CIA recruit is brought in to mastermind the takedown of a dangerous dictator. The adversary is himself a brilliant man with impenetrable security who must be outmaneuvered at every turn.

THE UNSACRED

Writer: Amanda Gusack

Reps: Paradigm (David Boxerbaum) and Zero Gravity (Eric Williams)

Buyer: Screen Gems

Genre: Horror thriller

Attachments: Father/son team Peter and Alan Riche will produce their Riche Productions.

Notes: Scott Strauss is overseeing for Screen Gems.

Logline: Kept under wraps.

UNLEASH THE MULES

Writer: Chris Parker (“Heaven is for Real”)

Reps: Gersh (Bayard Maybank, Devra Lieb) and Circle of Confusion (Noah Rosen)

Buyer: Columbia

Genre: Drama

Attachment: Joe Roth will produce through his eponymous production company with son Zack Roth and Dennis Stratton.

Notes: Devon Franklin will oversee for the studio.

Logline: A skeptical coach helps a blind high school student win the state wrestling championship.

UNTITLED CANTWELL/ROGERS/KOSINSKI PROJECT

Writer: Christopher Cantwell & Christopher Rogers (“The Knoll,” “Halt & Catch Fire”)

Reps: Verve (Aaron Hart, Bill Weinstein) and Management 360 (Darin Friedman, Chris Huvane)

Buyer: MRC

Genre: Action thriller

Attachments: Joe Kosinski (“Oblivion”) hatched the idea and is attached to direct. Dylan Clark will produce.

Logline: Kept under wraps.

WHITE RUSH

Writer: John Schramm

Reps: CAA (Matt Martin) and Energy Entertainment (Brooklyn Weaver)

Buyer: Thunder Road

Genre: Action thriller

Attachments: Thunder Road’s Basil Iwanyk will produce.

Logline: Contained action thriller in the vein of “Point Break.”

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. Caveat emptor.

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