We are nearly a third of the way through the year (how did that happen? Just yesterday it was New Years!). While we can’t make any definitive judgments about the 2014 box office (and how it affects us screenwriters) yet, that’s not going to stop me from doing so. I do these write-ups mainly because writers don’t realize how hard it is to a) get a spec purchased, and b) get a spec made into a movie. They think anything they write has a shot at being made into a movie.  And I hate to say it, but that’s not the case.

Hollywood is more narrow-minded in what it lets through, and it’s important for you to know which types of movies those are. Also pay attention to the worldwide grosses, as more and more projects are being determined by how they’ll do overseas.  And, of course, pay attention to the kinds of movies that audiences are going to in general. These are the movies the public wants to see, so these are the kinds of writers Hollywood is looking for. Now, of course, we haven’t hit the summer yet, when all the big boys come out. And we’re still a ways away from the “serious” movies that come out at the end of the year. But this is still a good representation of what studios are looking to make. Let’s take a look.

MV5BMTg4MDk1ODExN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIyNjg3MDE@._V1_SY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_

1) The LEGO Movie
Writers: Dan Hageman & Kevin Hageman and Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Genre: Adventure/Animation
Domestic Gross: $251 million
Worldwide Gross: $425 million
Origin: Legos are, of course, a toy, which means the number one movie of 2014, so far, is based on a product. Of note is that they made the movie to span a large demo – not just children – by writing a clever imaginative script.

captain_america_2_teaser_image

2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Writers: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely – concept and story by Ed Brubaker – based on the comic book by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Genre: Action
Domestic Gross: $167 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: $502 million (and counting)
Origin: Another comic book adaptation and sequel. Captain America is part of the new “universe” approach that studios have gotten jiggy for. This was another solid script that the writers clearly put a lot of time into. One of the reasons Marvel is on top right now is because they don’t phone it in with their scripts.

Ride_Along_poster

3) Ride Along (SPEC SCRIPT!)
Writers: Greg Coolidge and Jason Mantzoukas and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi (story by Greg Coolidge)
Genre: Comedy/Action
Domestic Gross: $134 million
Worldwide Gross: $149 million
Origin: Okay, here’s our top spec script showing of the year. Notice that it combines elements of comedy and action, very spec-friendly elements. While comedies aren’t as big as they used to be, due to their dismal worldwide prospects, this proves that if you want to write a spec, a comedy is a good way to go, and the old “buddy cop” formula is still working.

Divergent-poster

4) Divergent
Writers: Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor (based on the novel by Veronica Roth)
Genre: Action/Adventure
Domestic Gross: $126 million
Worldwide Gross: $176 million
Origin: Adaptation of a book, specifically a YA novel. Divergent has done well, but not as well as Lionsgate would’ve hoped. This may show that the YA novel craze is losing steam, or at least the female-driven side is (male-centric YA novel adaptations are coming. We’ll see how those do).

mr-peabody-sherman-poster10

5) Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Writers: Jay Ward and Craig Wright and Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon and Michael McCullers
Genre: Animation
Domestic Gross: 105 million
Worldwide Gross: 248 million
Origin: This was adapted from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle show, which makes it classic intellectual property based on a cartoon. Animation is a beast because it can bring in every single demo when done well.

300-rise-of-an-empire-poster1

6) 300: Rise of An Empire
Writers: Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller)
Genre: Period/Action
Domestic Gross: $105 million
Worldwide Gross: $328 million
Origin: Intellectual property strikes again. Here we have a sequel to a film based on a graphic novel. I think one of the reasons graphic novels have been so popular lately is that unlike traditional books, executives can actually see the visual style of the movie right there in front of them. So snatch up the rights to cool graphic novels if you can find them!

non-stop-poster

7) Non-Stop (SPEC SCRIPT!)
Writers: John W. Richardson & Chris Roach and Ryan Engle (story by Richardson and Roach)
Genre: Thriller
Domestic Gross: $90 million
Worldwide Gross: $186 million
Origin: We got another spec script here, this one a straight-forward thriller, which is a great genre to write in if you’re trying to sell a script. I have to admit I didn’t like this at all when I read it, but if you write something a studio can easily market, they’ll pay for the big actor and all of a sudden, you have a film to be reckoned with at the box office.

noah-poster

8) Noah
Writers: Darren Aronofsky & Ari Handel
Genre: Drama/Period/Adventure
Domestic Gross: $86 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: 248 million (and counting)
Origin: Here we have an adaptation of something in the public domain. So in that sense, it’s technically a spec script. However, it’s a spec by the director himself, and writer-director projects can’t be seen as specs in the traditional sense. Biblical stories are sort of hot right now, and as a writer told me the other day, the Bible is chock full of good story material.

monuments_men_xlg

9) The Monuments Men
Writers: George Clooney & Grant Heslov (based on the book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter)
Genre: Drama/Period/Action
Domestic Gross: $77 million
Worldwide Gross: $153 million
Origin: The Monuments Men was adapted from a book. Projects like these are hard to base future decisions on. If Joe Schmoe would’ve written this, I’m not sure it would’ve gone anywhere. This was Clooney’s love child to begin with, so he was promoting it from the get-go. His amazing cast didn’t hurt either. I’ll also say this about Clooney. Everyone loves him. He’s one of the few guys who seems unaffected by fame and understands how lucky he is. If you’re that kind of person in this business, good things tend to happen to you. Therefore, I’m not surprised that actors jumped at the chance to help him with his passion project.

the-nut-job-poster03

10) The Nut Job
Writers: Lorne Cameron & Peter Lepeniotis (story by Daniel Woo)
Genre: Animation
Domestic Gross: $63 million
Worldwide Gross: $69 million
Origin: Here we have another animated film, but I want you to note the difference between this one and the two other higher ranked animated films on this list. In those cases, the subject matter catered to both kids and adults (Every adult used to play with legos and Mr. Peabody was based on an old cartoon that adults were familiar with). The Nut Job clearly only caters to kids. And when you do that, no matter how much kids want to see the film, many parents will resist because they know it’s going to be dumbed-down nonsense.  So write your animation for kids AND adults, since the adults are the ones with the actual credit card.

–OTHER NOTABLE SPEC SCRIPTS–

hr_Devils_Due_5

28) Devil’s Due (SPEC SCRIPT!)
Writer: Lindsay Devlin
Genre: Found-Footage/Horror
Domestic Gross: $16 million
Worldwide Gross: $33 million
Origin: Found-footage is still the cheapest genre to produce, so this is a nice genre to write in. The tricky thing is that a TON of these are going straight-to-video, and I still haven’t figured out what determines which films go straight-to-videos and which ones get wide releases.  It all seems quite arbitrary.  I guess all you can do is come up with the coolest most original found-footage concept you can, write a killer script, and hope for the best.

draft-day-poster

32) Draft Day (SPEC SCRIPT!)
Writers: Scott Rothman & Rajiv Joseph
Genre: Drama/Sports
Domestic Gross: $12 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: no international release yet
Origin: This is the truest spec script project here. Draft Day is the script that finished tops on the Black List a couple of years ago. And unlike all these other spec scripts that made the list, it’s not based on a common “spec script” genre. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t do well. Personally, I thought the script was awesome and it was botched on the directing end. They tried to give this that Jerry Maguire sheen. It should’ve been a lot grittier.

bad-words-poster04

35) Bad Words (SPEC SCRIPT!)
Writer: Andrew Dodge
Genre: Comedy
Domestic Gross: $7 million
Worldwide Gross: no international release yet
Origin: This was a good script, but it’s hard for these edgy indie comedies (comedies not built around a mainstream idea) to break out and do well at the box office. However, these do really well on the script-reading circuit as they’re generally more fun to read that those bigger mainstream ideas. And for that reason, a few of them always get made.

SUMMARY
I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of adventure, action, comedy, and thrillers. This is not surprising. People go to the movies to FEEL SOMETHING other than their otherwise boring lives. They want to laugh, they want to be scared, they want a rush. Which is why these genres do so well. Even in the two period pieces that made the top ten (Noah and Monuments) there’s plenty of action. I’m a little disappointed to see only 5 spec scripts in the top 50 (not counting some of these low-grossing indie films). Then again, based on the low-quality of scripts I’ve been reading lately, I guess it makes sense.  The problem, I think, is that more and more prod-cos are snatching up intellectual property and hiring writers to write the material, so good writers would rather go for the guaranteed money than risk 8 months on a spec. Then again, that’s good news for all of you. With less people competiting in the spec market, there’s more of an opportunity to write something that stands out and gets noticed.

So, what about you guys? What conclusions did you draw from this list?

  • MaliboJackk

    Kinda disappointed NON-STOP only took in 90 mil domestic.
    Also disappointed how long it takes some spec scripts to make it to the theater.
    Have been waiting to see how DEEP BURIAL and THE VOICES turn out.

    • Midnight Luck

      MALA 370 should be a “Choose Your Own Adventure” game, it would do Mad Money. So many ideas out there to be constructed on what happened to it.
      I think it was a crazy Billionaires idea to steal a plane loaded with passengers, then force them to enact his own LOST type scenario on his private island. Acting out all his private fantasies, while he Found Footage records it all with multiple cameras.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        If you ran with that idea now it would be in bad taste. If you wait a few years you can speculate an alternative scenario to the actual events. In all honesty as a movie idea it isn’t off base.

        Personally I’m glad every single instance of your life can’t be electronically monitored and tracked. That’s what world governments want. And flight 370 is the excuse they’ll use to implement that reality. Wag the Dog.

  • Robin the Boy Wonder

    The only conclusion I drew was to disregard this list…

    • G.S.

      Isn’t that kind of like saying you want to sell mobile devices while ignoring how Apple does it?

  • Stephjones

    My conclusion? I’m fucked.

    • mulesandmud

      Don’t fret, Steph. We’re all fucked. But so is Hollywood. Too much content out there; it’s only a matter of time before the industry implodes and resets to something more workable, albeit probably less glamorous. Meanwhile, the game stays the same: Do good work. Find good people. Rinse repeat.

      • Stephjones

        Thanks, Mulesandmud.
        I am especially fucked because I have no interest in even seeing the movies on the list ( except Bad Words–saw it, liked it) I also have no desire to write anything remotely resembling those movies. They make me tired just looking at the posters.
        It’s not that I knee jerk hate everything out there, it’s more that I just don’t get it. I don’t understand the appeal of any of those movies so how in hell will I ever write something that can generate a buzz?
        But, I intend to keep writing. I do feel like I have something to say, regardless of whether anyone wants to hear it. Think of the filthy old bag lady with the overflowing shopping cart who mumbles incessantly as people dart around her careful not to touch. That’s me.
        :)

        • Ange Neale

          I don’t believe a word of it for a moment, Steph! I think Follywood’s problem is that the botox has gone to what used to be their brains and frozen them in place, too.

        • Bifferspice

          you’re not alone, steph :)

        • kent

          I agree with you. The answer is to write for cable tv.

        • fragglewriter

          Exactly. Other than Bad Words, Ride Along and Draft Day, I don’t see the excitement in the other movies nor wish to write anything similar.
          Hollywood stuck in the “same don’t be different” rut for way too long. I think NetFlix is the best chance for upcoming screenwriters. Maybe we should query letters to them and see what can happen.

        • Midnight Luck

          I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I feel the same way. Most all the big splash movies cause me to want to fall asleep / gag / or go comatose. They are so boring they make me want to go postal. I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want to see just about any of them.
          I saw Bad Words, and it was refreshing and fun, funny and interesting. Definitely one of the best of the last year.
          I feel that you are not alone. I believe we are both fucked.
          I have no interest in writing any of the kinds of movies we “should” be writing. Any movie to fit into the 4 quadrant, or even 3 quadrant marketplace.
          In the end, what do you do? Just keep writing what I want to write.
          I’ll see you down on Sunset Blvd, we can compare shopping carts. Mine will be the one up on blocks, waiting for some new wheels.

  • Montana Gillis

    Obvious answer… MUST. WORK. HARDER.

    • drifting in space

      Cheyah! This is the path I am taking.

  • G.S.

    Between this and earlier discussions about ip-based movies, it seems clear to me that I’m better off writing a book. That’s a little tongue-in-cheek, but still – as a guy with a heavy prose background, it’s probably in my own interests. I get to more fully flesh out the world and characters while setting up the background to a more desirable pitch for the screenplay.

    I suppose the main issue is, can I generate enough of a following for the novel so that the idea of the screenplay as an ip adaptation isn’t paper thin? Or, more to the point, is it easier to sell a spec script or successfully market a novel and THEN sell the script?

    • bidi cent

      that’s why i took a break from screenplays and am currently working on a novel

      • Ange Neale

        Turned from working obsessively on script to researching for doctoral dissertation. Out of the frying pan…

    • Mallet

      It is more expensive then writing a script or a novel, but writing and self-publishing a comic is a lot easier to market, sell and get a following then with a novel or a script.

      But it does take a rather substantial initial investment, even if are able to do the artwork yourself. If you need to bring on an artist then the costs goes way up (or you will have to give up some of the profits and creative ownership).

      But with a comic it is quick to read, unlike a novel. it is easier to get people interested because they can flip through it and see the story before reading. And it acts as a visual storyboard for any directors and producers who might be interested in adapting it.

  • Logline_Villain

    Old conventional wisdom: Your script had better be great…

    New conventional wisdom: Your script had better be beyond great, a Chinatown-level masterpiece, and then… maybe then… you just might have a small chance to break in.

    • Mallet

      That is because there is now something like an estimated 30,000+ scripts a year that writers are submitting to try and sell. Back in the 70’s-80’s there was probably 1/6 that number, or even less. A lot easier to get noticed and rise to the top when you are one of 5,000 then one of 30,000.

      • Mallet

        Thinking about it even more, technology is really the cause of this problem. Computers and screenwriting software make it way to easy for everyone to jump on the bandwagon, and email makes it so easy to get the scripts out to the world.

        Back in the day when you had to TYPE the script on real PAPER and go back and RETYPE the whole page (or even the WHOLE SCRIPT) if you made an error or added scenes or when you did your rewrite. Then you had to photocopy 100+ pages and bundle them and box it up and pay to mail/ship them to studios one at a time, meant you cut out 99% of the people who weren’t serious about breaking in to the business.

        The sheer amount of work and effort to write and rewrite scripts on a typewriter meant most of the people who were not 100% committed to the task would never finish a script, let alone submit it.

        Now people talk about writing a script in a month, “rewrite” it in a week and then email it out to the world, so there is no where near the amount of self-editing, pre-planning and caution put into script writing as there was back in the day when you would have to literally retype out the entire script if you didn’t plan things out carefully before hand and were not 100% sure of what you wanted to write and say.

        That is why there are so many scripts out there today and the general consensus that the quality of work has gone down.

    • astranger2

      Great writing will always open doors. I’ve spoken with a few producers and they say despite the pile of scripts they dread sifting through — they still have hope one of them will sparkle and the words lift magically off the page. After all, who doesn’t want to discover the next Chinatown?

      But, if you have a high-concept idea, you can still receive interest in your script. If the concept is good enough, it CAN overcome mediocre writing. One producer told me they received a script based on a true story about a serial killer in Nazi Germany during the height of WW II. He said the script was mediocre, but they loved the concept. Ultimately, they found the writer too difficult to deal with and abandoned the project.

      Of course, if it were well-written — maybe they would’ve dealt with him. Which also points out how when given opportunities we need to be highly-collaborative. Not disagreeing with you here. Our writing should be beyond great. But, high concept like a Groundhog Day or Back to the Future never hurts either…

  • Linkthis83

    What conclusion did I draw?

    That I should write a 1) Commercial for an 2) Intellectual Property 3) with two awesome black guys as the leads with a 4) YA dystopian setting that’s 5) Animated but in a 6) Graphic novel style that takes place on a 7) Plane but it has biblical importance and so I will call the plane 8) The Ark and it will be ferrying 9) Statues and Monuments from all the existing cultures on the planet. And…oh yea….I need to make it a little 10) Nutty.

    And as a subplot:

    I will have a 28) demon child be 32) drafted before birth by the Browns and upon his entry into the word will immediately say 35) “Fuck me! Son of bitch. Not the fucking Br*wns!”

    • Logline_Villain

      As a lifelong Browns fan (woe is me!), I live through an endless loop of #35, and unlike All You Need Is Kill, there’s NO hope that it will ever get better…

      • Linkthis83

        Ummm…lifelong Bengals fan. I feel your pain. I actually root for the Browns when they aren’t playing my team. They look so familiar. At least my team finally figured out to pick at least one QB and stick with him. Sorry my man.

        • drifting in space

          At least your favorite team didn’t get crushed on the biggest stage in the world by the team of the city you just happen to live in. Ugggggggh.

          • Nicholas J

            I’m gonna go out on a limb here and upvote you for possibly having the crushed dreams of a Bears fan. That’s something I can get behind.

          • Linkthis83

            That’s a very specific situation. And not possible based on the city I currently live in. Congrats! You are extremely unique.

      • wlubake

        At least you have Josh Gordon…until he screws up again.

    • ximan

      “I think everyone of us should believe that everything we write will be made into a movie. You have to. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

      Spot. ON!

      Thanks for posting, Link! :)

      Bye the way, when the hell are we gonna see one of your scripts?! You clearly have the goods bro!!

      • Linkthis83

        Thank very much for that compliment, but I have no idea if that’s true or not. I’ve said from the very beginning that I believe my strengths are in making other people’s stories/scripts better. I have no idea if I can do this stuff for real. But I’m not afraid of finding out either. That’s what brought me here in the first place. It’s time to find out what I’m capable of or if I’m full of shit about my own ability.

        With that being said, I do have an idea for the Writer’s Store contest that I’ve been trying to get down. Work has been killing me. My plan is to get my 15 pages done, even if it’s a crap version, and post it here to get some feedback from those who are willing. I’ll be mostly interested in finding out if people are interested in the concept and if they feel the structure is there. Then, I will take the notes and try to be very thoughtful with the re-write. The cool thing is, because of SS, I’ve got people already willing to read it if I’d just type the damn thing.

        Plus, I think I could benefit from some public scrutinizing of my work. I’m hoping I will have an OT post by Monday.

        • ximan

          Do it!! And don’t worry about feeling inadequate. I feel the same way before EVERY script I start. And I’ve been writing since childhood.

          Looking forward to your OT post! :)

          • Linkthis83

            Hahaha. Honestly, I probably feel too comfortable. Not like I’m awesome and I can do no wrong. More like, I believe I’m going to be okay no matter what. If that makes any sense.

          • ximan

            It makes ALL TOO MUCH sense to me! XD

          • Linkthis83

            Yes. I get that vibe from you as well.

            I’ve got a 7 page script/outline hybrid right now. I’m trying to get this done. My new goal is Wednesday.

          • Linkthis83

            Hey, you still up for checking out my Writer’s Store entry? I’ve posted a link to it on today’s SS article. Or I can email it to you.

            linkthis83 at yahoo dot com

            And if you don’t want to read it — that’s cool too. No hard feelings.

          • ximan

            Link, I’m 3 pages in and I’m already smiling (starting with the BEAUTIFUL title!). And when Tommy quotes Shakespeare in his interrogation of Bert? LMAO. He’s an intriguing character that definitely is living up to the title.

            Pg 4 – When Tommy’s unsatisfied with Bert’s seated height and the continuation of his interrogation?? Seriously bro…LMFAO! XD You’re funny!!! More, more, more! :)

            “Vice Principial Philip Collins” XD — Dude, either you’re funny as hell, or you and I have the same sense of humor. Or both! (Methinks the latter.)

            “No detention for him. You’ve met your quota.” XD (MORE!)

            THEN you drop the “I can feel it coming in the air tonight”?! REALLY?! XD (Link, I am seriously DYING right now!! Your logline didn’t hint at a comedy AT ALL! Was this a trick to get the reader into a dramatic state of mind, so the jokes will land harder?? Well played, my friend :)

            “Dougie Downs”?? You CAN’T! (……but you MUST! XD )

            Pg. 10-11: Loved, loved, LOVED the surprise of the cops busting Tommy! And can I just say that your action writing is pretty slick and terse, yet descriptive. You are a WRITER my friend! (Hate to blow my own horn, but I knew you had the goods from your comments alone.)

            Pg. 17 — ….I’m kinda speechless right now. Those last few pages went by in a whirlwind of story, character development, and…truth! Tommy’s affliction grounds him, humanizes him, justifies his actions, and makes me love him all the more. WELL FUCKING DONE!!

            Beside the heartstring-tug at the end, this was super funny, Link! But because of it, I think this will be SO MUCH MORE! A real comedy in the truest sense (COMEDY = TRAGEDY + Time). My earlier notes reflect the moments when I DIED laughing, but there was LITERALLY a smile on my face for everything in between!! (“No Can Left Behind”–funny, yes, but also PERTINENT!!!) As lame as it sounds, I’m kinda proud of you for doing this. But then again, like me, you know you’ve got the goods already.

            BEST OF LUCK BRO!!!

        • ximan

          BTW, here’s a great quote to keep in mind:

          “If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.”

          DAVID VISCOTT

          • Linkthis83

            Very cool. Thanks.

  • Midnight Luck

    I fear what they talked about at that meeting they had focused on the future of the Movie Theater is true: movies are dead. TV is king.

    Unless you have a few hundred million+ dollars and make:
    1. A cartoon, with a few jokes for mom and dad.
    2. A movie about a Toy, Game, or Disney ride.
    2. A comic adaptation, with a few jokes for young kids in them (and lots of explosions).
    3. A graphic novel about sand and sandals (or insert Bible story)
    or
    4. A really stupid story, made on the ultra cheap, with a Wayan’s brother in it.

    • Linkthis83

      Only for perspective:

      “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

      -Gandhi

      This is a view that’s easy to be cynical against. Those who want to take the easy, cheap shots. Be my guest. This is intended for those who could really use this.

      • Midnight Luck

        I have always believed in that quote.

        Though it is very hard when I am someone who is so in love with old school things like, well, movie theaters.
        I dread the day they are all turned into strip malls and Panda express…
        oh wait, that day is already here.

    • Randy Williams

      It’s best not to write something you can’t envision as a casino slot machine.
      Has anyone seen the new “Avatar” slot machines. Stunning.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    Immediate observation, only 2 scripts were written by solo writers, both spec scripts. Both films appear to have an indy aesthetics Bad Words and Devil’s Due.

    MAYBE prod cos and studios view multi-writer scripts as an higher concept IP . You have multiple writers collaborating, and the presumption is the final script product is of better value, because television series employ a team of writers for a final product. Also this may be a gambit by the writers to protect the script integrity. If the studio, ect ask for a re-write they have to use the original writers first. More writers equal a longer process negotiation so more than likely the script remains unchanged from the original submission.

    And in regards to adapting a book IP or public domain IP isn’t a guarantee of any sort. I didn’t know anything about John Carter prior to release, didn’t care to see it when it came out, have no interest in seeing it on DVD or Netflix. So the fallacy of prior book sales or the built in audience doesn’t hold water. It’s a false sales metric to say this movie will succeed because its based on a known multi-seller property. It’s really an excuse by studios, ect not to take a chance on an original spec. In more instances than not the author of the book had intentions of having their book adapted into a script to start with, and chose the book publishing route as an easier access towards Hollywood.

    • mulesandmud

      A few notes on your observation:

      –Not all of those multi-writer scripts imply writer teams. Divergent, for example, had two solo writers who were both credited for work they did on separate drafts (and there may have been other writers who did work but remain uncredited due to WGA arbitration).

      –Many of those writer teams include the director as a co-writer. This can mean lots of things; maybe that the director did a pass on the writer’s script; maybe that the writer did a pass on the director’s script; maybe that they wrote it together; maybe that the director and the writer developed the story, then the writer wrote the script.

      –Writing teams don’t get treated any differently than solo writers, and their work certainly doesn’t get any special IP treatment. However, if one or both writers are also attached as director, producer, or star, then it could dramatically increase the film’s chances of getting greenlit, and studios love that.

      • Ange Neale

        My immediate observation was the under-representation of half the human species as protagonists. What was it — one in the top ten with ‘Divergent’? And even then, she shares — sorry, her ass shares — the poster with Mr Square-jawed Intense Gaze.

        • mulesandmud

          Frankly, if it weren’t for the YA craze, the ladies would be getting even less respect than they do now. The climate for women protags is so retrograde that you’d think the earth were spinning backwards.

          Not long ago, I pitched an exec on an adaptation and chose a woman, by far the most interesting character in the book, as the lead. His response: “Why ruin your career like that?”

          True story.

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, man, M&M, I’m saddened but little would surprise me now about The Powers That Be in Follywood. How do these d***heads get into such positions of power?

            They greenlight the sorts of movies they liked as teenaged boys (because these Peter Pan-types don’t grow up — their toys and hobbies just get more expensive, to borrow an old phrase).

            Their tastes drive away female audiences in droves, and then because females don’t go to the movies any more, it’s pointless making movies which women might like. A self-fulfilling prophesy.

            Except it’s not pointless. ‘Philomena’ proved women, and older women especially, will turn out if you give them a great story and fantastic characters — men and women both. It doesn’t have to have lots of CGI and all the bells and whistles. ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ proved it. The Brits and Europeans are cleaning up market share.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            American male audience taste versus the rest of the world will never be in alignment. Only two self-sustaining systems run counter to the Hollywood infrastructure: Bollywood & Nollywood. They don’t depend on worldwide sales to stay afloat. Is the cinematic quality there probably not. Is the story crafting quality there, more than likely and then some.

          • drifting in space

            I really don’t get it. As a heterosexual male, why wouldn’t I want to watch a female as the lead. And even that’s still being sexist.

            Maybe we are all closet homosexuals and just want to watch buff dudes run around.

          • Linkthis83

            Because you can’t just get rid of plausibility. Then the story implodes. Only guys are capable of handling the intensity of these plots. Guys are designed to handle the physical and emotional weight of these moments. Women are not. You put a woman in those roles and all believability goes right out the window. I mean, look at the bible, even God knows a woman’s place in story.

            When guys want to watch women take charge, we go to porn. Although, your theory might work here as well…hmmmm????

            Seriously though, just take a look at the IMDB Top 250. Scrolling through that list you see the basis of those stories.

            http://www.imdb.com/chart/top

            1) Guys in prison

            2) Mafia Guys

            3) Mafia Guys again

            4) Guy hero in a costume fights a clown in town

            5) Mob hitmen do things out of sequence

            6) Cowboy gunslinger guys – some are commendable, some are sinful, and some are uncomely

            7) An opportunistic German business man begins saving his employees when they are threatened.

            8) A dozen pissed off dudes

            9) Fantasy guys have a jewelry problem – part 3

            10) A couple guys create a secret fraternity for combat

            I’d say the first strong female role doesn’t show up until number 24) Silence of the Lambs. However, the argument could be made that us guys tolerate Clarice because we get Hannibal.

          • drifting in space

            Haha, god dammit Link. When you lay it out like that…

            BUT! As far as #1 goes… one of the top shows out there right now is girls in prison. A step in the right direction. ;)

            Though I’m not a fan of said show… uh oh.

            Honestly, it doesn’t get a female led movie until #50. Sheesh!

          • Linkthis83

            I liked Orange is the New Black. I had no idea it was going to be THAT specific with some stuff.

            In regards to the list, it’s all about context. I also went to Box Office Mojo for some earnings comparisons. If you select the “All Time Domestic Adjusted For Inflation”, you get some female leads in the top 10.

            I decided to do this because I realized in the IMDB top 250 that neither Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark were in the top 10. Thought that was strange.

          • MaliboJackk

            Try Lindsey Doran.

        • Linkthis83

          “And even then, she shares — sorry, her ass shares — the poster with Mr Square-jawed Intense Gaze.”

          First I think I want to say “thanks” because I did not notice her ass :) But that’s kind of what made me reply. If I don’t notice it and you do, does that mean I noticed it subconsciously because I’m conditioned to notice it and accept it — OR — does it mean you noticed it because you look for those things — OR — is it possible that’s just one of the ways they had them stand.

          I know it’s possible that they were like “well, we should feature all the curves she has for appeal.” But if I was looking for things that may offend, well then… Mr Square Jaw is basically just daring women not to look at his junk. They’ve got it pointed right at you. “Come on in ladies, the water is perfect” Can’t they just have a man that’s not crisp and clean physique-wise to play the hero? I mean, that’s a lot of pressure to put on men. Look at all the leading men. You have to be either a physical god or in uniform or handsome or holding a gun to be manly. Geez — I get it. I’m worthless as a man unless I’m saving the world or people. Oh, they account for guys like me. But they put me in comedies. Because fat guys are funny. Short guys are funny. Or, if you’re going to cast me, you animate me. Geez. When I really start looking into this, Hollywood is really being a dick to both genders.

          Just look at those posters and how the men are portrayed. Junk pointed right at ya. All handsome and alone. And if their not alone, they can’t look at each other. And if they are looking at each other its because they are hostile. And if they were looking at each other with love, well then it must be gay. I’m tired of women hogging all the glory of misrepresentation. I miss the days when we only judged women by their bodies ;)

          And honestly, I think if Hollywood was sticking to their guns, they would’ve slimmed down the Lego character played by Elizabeth Banks. C’mon fellas, make the Lego sexy!! You already started with her hair and voice, why stop there. Lego cleavage!!!!

          Hope we’re still friends, Ange :)

          • Franchise Blueprints

            I scrolled up to look at her ass too. :)

          • Stephjones

            I was going to look to see what the fuss was about but got sidetracked by Mr. Peabody. A boy dog…with not the faintest whiff of junk.
            Reminds me of how nonplussed I was by my Ken doll. ( not recently, when I was much younger, now I’ve learned to live with it)
            But It’s all so confusing.
            And that tagline on The Nut Job, no nuts no glory makes me yearn for the little guy to be actually sporting a pair. A substantial pair. A pair so disconcertingly large that you can’t look away. I would piss myself every time the little guy came on screen. Have the suckers flap in the breeze when he flew. Make it difficult for him to walk. Etc. etc.
            Yes, I’ve never had kids. I forgot to and now it’s too late.

          • Ange Neale

            I forgot to, too, Steph. Yes, there should be more ginormous bollocks on screen. And labia you have to push about in your grumpy old bag lady’s shopping trolley.

            Btw, have you seen that Brit artists’ ‘Great Wall of Vagina’ piece? (Plaster casts… It’s Google-able.) He did it so young women wouldn’t get the idea they had to look like bloody Barbie below the waist to be a ‘real’ woman.

          • Stephjones

            I never said I was “grumpy”, Ange. ;)

          • Ange Neale

            Oops, my mistake. I think I was meaning me.

          • Ange Neale

            I had an interesting reply for you, Steph, but I think someone took offence and it’s been moderated. I’ll email you privately with it.

          • Stephjones

            More interesting than the ” Great Wall of Vagina”, Ange? I confess I’m alittle frightened. :)

          • Ange Neale

            Oh, no – that was it. I didn’t realise you’d seen it before it vanished.

          • Linkthis83

            Sometimes with Disqus, you type it, you’ll post it, you’ll come back and it’ll be gone. But it’s not really gone. It’s just wearing some sort of invisibility cloak. I think the technology recognizes when you think you’ve got a post of value and doesn’t want others to enjoy it until it becomes irrelevant. Then POOF: it’s back on here :)

          • Nicholas J

            Or you’ll leave, come back, and suddenly be logged in as kenglo.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            Hmm. Maybe I need a dual citizenship. Because apparently my artistic vision is being wasted in the USA. I need to live in a country where woman volunteer to have molds taken of their vaginas for FREE.

          • Ange Neale

            Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves!

          • drifting in space

            So did I, LOL!

          • Ange Neale

            Yeah, ‘course we’re still friends, Link! Mates should be able to have robust exchanges of opinions and politically-incorrect jokes!

            I don’t disagree at all that certain industries misrepresent men just as much as women are misrepresented, to the detriment of both sexes.

            I expect it has as much to do with anorexia levels and self-harm incidences amongst teenaged boys as it does with girls. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations must be phenomenal, and now that social media’s ubiquitous, there’s little escape from it for teens.

            Because they show people who could live in your street and not some ridiculous gated community is why I have a fondness for British movies. Take ‘The Fully Monty’ – half a dozen rough-around-the-edges blokes of all ages, shapes and sizes. Waist sizes and other. ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ — John Cleese and Michael Palin — just regular-looking guys.

            Just thinking… We could have a little fun if we swapped the ‘Divergent’ characters
            around, so she was hunkered down gazing intensely at us, and he was
            standing with his butt jutting out… Completely homoerotic. Ooh, subversive.

          • Linkthis83

            The Full Monty was great. Such a fun concept.

            The reversal reminded me of the comments Olivia Wilde made:

            I don’t know if some of you have been to these live reads at LACMA, where a classic film is read live on stage by actors who just sit and read the script. We did one recently of American Pie, but we reversed the gender roles. All the women played men; all the men played women. And it was so fascinating to be a part of this because, as the women took on these central roles — they had all the good lines, they had all the good laughs, all the great moments — the men who joined us to sit on stage started squirming rather uncomfortably and got really bored because they weren’t used to being the supporting cast.

            It was fascinating to feel their discomfort [and] to discuss it with them afterward, when they said, “It’s boring to play the girl role!” And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. You think? Welcome to our world!”

            http://jezebel.com/olivia-wilde-crushes-it-when-she-talks-about-women-in-h-1526859537

          • Ange Neale

            Thanks for this link! Definitely gonna check this out after I’ve caught some zzz’s (it’s well past my bed-time here, but this is a fun conversation).

          • Stephjones

            I forgot about the time difference. Thought you were procrastinating on ” you know what” and I was about to scold you.

          • Ange Neale

            Yeah, now that we’re off daylight saving, and the US is on it, I’m 16 1/2 hours ahead of US west coast — no, bugger it — too hard. Take off 7 1/2 hours, and add 1 to the date. If that makes sense.

          • drifting in space

            I love me some Olivia Wilde. Only reason I kept watching Tron.

          • Linkthis83

            Apparently she can speak for herself and has valid opinions. Who knew!

          • drifting in space

            I would listen to her talk all day.

          • klmn

            Mentioning American Pie in the context of classic films? Isn’t that a sign of the apocalypse?

          • Ange Neale

            Hey, Link, I checked this out and it was GOOD.

        • G.S.

          I can’t write women… not yet anyway. I have yet to write a female protag not because I don’t WANT to, but because I have trouble coming from a female perspective. I can jump into a guy’s head easily. So long as I know his past circumstances and upbringing, I can simply stick myself in the situation and figure out how I would react. Can’t do that with a female.

          I suspect it’s like that for a great number of us male writers. So the issue isn’t necessarily that the role of movie hero is male-dominated, but that the slate of produced writers is male-dominated. Even based on the percentage of women I’ve noticed in the amateur writing arena, I’d say the numbers are disproportionately low.

          I guess my point is, we’d probably have more female heroes if we had more female writers.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        -Not all of those multi-writer scripts imply writer teams

        Taking that into consideration. I need to understand the structure of assigning credits. If “Written By” is the ultimate writer credit and “Story By” is second and “Screenplay by” is third why do these multi-writer scripts share Written By credits? I thought the WGA had specific standards as to what qualifies for “Written By” credits. You couldn’t just change a name or make grammatical corrections just to gain a writers credit.

        • mulesandmud

          Not sure which credits you’re looking at in particular, but in theory a shared ‘written by’ always implies a team. Likewise, an ampersand implies a team where an ‘and’ implies separate drafts. Also, ‘story by’ doesn’t necessarily trump ‘screenplay by'; especially with IP, there often is no ‘story by’ credit.

          As far as I can tell, no one completely understands or agrees with the logic of the arbitration process, not even the WGA.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            As far as I can tell, no one completely understands or agrees with the logic of the arbitration process, not even the WGA.

            That’s the grey area I hate. It sounds too similar to the union contract (not Hollywood) I’ve worked under my adult life. What’s clearly stated in a contract is black and white when used against you, but is open to interpretation when used in your defense.

      • klmn

        IIRC, an ampersand in the credits means a writer team.

    • Eddie Panta

      Ivan Reitman gutted Draft Day. He made a ton of changes. Then Kevin C. got a hold of it and made his changes.
      The ending of Captain Phillips was rewritten by Tom Hanks.

  • Randy Williams

    Stories with “saving the world” themes seem to do well.

    Noah- I can enjoy cheesecake because of this dude.

    Lego – tagline on poster says, “The story about a nobody that saved everybody”

    Captain America – nuff said.

    Ride Along – I’m sure there’s some saving of someone’s ass in there.

    Divergent – Don’t know this story but poster screams “save the world”

    Peabody and Sherman – use your brains to save the world.

    300- use your tanned and oiled brawn to save the world.

    Nonstop – Liam Neeson can save any world.

    Monuments Men – save the treasures of the world.

    The Nut Job- I have no idea what this is about, but I know squirrels save nuts.

    That leaves Draft Day, Devil’s Due and Bad Words.
    Nothing about saving anything. Things are left to go to hell.

    I’m writing something about saving the world!

  • ChadStuart

    “The tricky thing is that a TON of these are going straight-to-video…”

    Yeah, but the writer still got paid. That’s important to remember for amateurs like most of us. We need to break in, and sometimes DTV is a fine place to start.

    Remember, Frank Darabont had to write “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3″ and “The Blob” before he could direct “The Shawshank Redemption.” Those were both the equivalent of DTV in their day, horror movies made on the cheap. They weren’t respected in the industry. However, he approached both projects with gusto and did the best versions of those movies he could (for their ilk, both are quite good). That bought him some cred, and he moved up in the industry.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      The Blob was already a remake and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 was an extremely high concept idea for a horror movie. Prior to the Elm Street series name one horror franchise remotely similar to it. Killing someone in their dreams and they die in real life. That series was an open playground literally every year a Elm Street movie should have been produced.

      • ChadStuart

        Yeah, I’m not talking about the concept of established franchises. I’m just remarking about the idea that DTV isn’t as great as getting a movie made that goes to theaters. In the 80s, there was not DTV, there was on the cheap horror movies. My point it, don’t be afraid of doing DTV work. It still pays, and it’s a start.

        • Franchise Blueprints

          I’m not opposed to DTV. Now is that what a script is regulated to when its not purchased by a major studio. Or is that a route you can actually shoot for? I would like to know what studio’s are seeking DTV material.

          • ChadStuart

            Don’t think in terms of studios. You’re not selling to studios. You’re pitching to producers. And then producers take the project to studios. And every studio has a DTV arm. Producers will look at material and sometimes tell you, this is DTV, and have the contacts to make that happen.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            I need to do my homework and identify the DTV arm of Hollywood studios. Maybe target that niche specifically.

    • Ange Neale

      Peter Jackson (LOTR) made some, um, interesting early horror movies on the cheap before he got noticed — flesh-eating aliens and buckets of fake blood, etc.

  • Nicholas J

    Carson, this may be the most depressing post I’ve ever seen on the site.

    This whole already established IP craze will only end when people stop seeing these movies. I dream of a day where mass audiences are just dying to see new movies and new characters and new stories, so much so that they refuse to spend a penny on another freaking super hero movie. (Sorry comic book fans, but I’m sick to death of people saving the world.) Not sure I see that happening anytime soon.

    Clearly movies like Mr. Peabody & Sherman (seriously?) are meant to be as four quadrant as possible. The people who have kids and grandkids old enough to go to movies all watched Rocky & Bullwinkle when they were younger. And after those kids grow up, we’ll start hitting up the 80s and 90s more, once kids from that era all have kids. (And based on my Facebook feed, that’s well under way.) It’s only a matter of time before we see a Quantum Leap feature and CGI Rugrats. Hell, those are probably already on the table.

    Kill me now.

    • Ange Neale

      Me, too.

  • fragglewriter

    My conclusion is other than three standout movies (Ride Along, Draft Day, Bad Words) from the list, Hollywood is still producing the same movies that were succesful within the last 5 -10 years, but not as financiall profitable today.
    I think that with the cost of going to a movie, more people will be picky about how often they wil go and also what that is worth the price of admission, not including $20+ at the concession stand.
    Also, if you have simple minded movie goers who can’t follow a simple storyline and get confused with one twist (my father is the prime example), you will have the same yuppies keeping these type of movie studios in business to churn out the same movies.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      Yup. $24.75. Two adult tickets to see Captain America, one small popcorn, surrounded by 15 year-olds playing candy crush. I’m surprised I still enjoyed the movie.

      • fragglewriter

        The first installment was on TV last week. I watched the part where he got turned into “big-muscles”, the doctor was shot (no surprise), he ran after the guy and I won’t like the many eyerolls I had until he finally captured the key and the key gave his last statement before he killed himself, I would be mightly pissed off if I would of spent money in the movie theatre to watch that crap.
        I watched the last 15 mins of “Now You See Me”, guessed what was going on and who did what, and I still wanted my time back SMH

        • Franchise Blueprints

          Ahhh the good old days when Siskel and Ebert talked about having their time stolen and wanted it back. Sigh :I

      • Nicholas J

        Move to a flyover state and go to the matinee showing a month after the movie comes out. For $12 it’s just you, your date, and a random old couple sitting ten rows behind you.

        • fragglewriter

          There was a $2/$3 movie theatre here in NY City, until they shut it down. Luckily, Regal Cinemas shows $5 movies on Tuesdays, except of course, if you can’t make it by 6:00/6:30p.m. to catch the deal. Glad I got sick days to use if I really wanted to watch a movie LOL

          • Nicholas J

            If I remember right, I used to go to the Cobble Hill theater in Brooklyn and it was never more than like $7.50 and matinees were even cheaper. Pretty old school theater too, with these cool retro intros and stuff. But that was a while ago now.

            Went to a Manhattan theater one time and saw Batman, got some snacks too. It was expensive but they let me put it all on layaway and my last payment is approaching this month so I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll finally be able to afford my heating bill next winter. It was a good movie though.

          • drifting in space

            Alls I gotta say is we have a theater called Cinebar, is 21+ only, serves beer and food, and tickets on Tuesday (maybe Wednesday, I forget) are $5 for any movie. $7.50 for 3D.

            Needless to say, drinking while watching most of the movies that come out is a +++++++.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            Very lucky to have essentially an adult theater. We have one but its still open to all ages.

          • drifting in space

            This place is open to kids until like… 3pm. And parents get in free if they buy 2 kid tickets. Pretty sweet deal. Plus they have a great beer selection and vegetarian options for me and the wife.

          • wlubake

            We have adult theaters, but I can never get my wife interested in seeing any of the movies they show.

          • Nicholas J
          • wlubake

            Damn that was well written. I just sat and read the whole article.

          • Nicholas J

            It’s basically an episode of the Twilight Zone.

          • Nicholas J

            Oh 21+ that’s amazing. Weird that they’d cut out a huge portion of their ticket buyers though…

          • drifting in space

            It might be 18+. I forget. But I remember you have to show ID before you can buy a ticket for the alcohol. Plus, I’ve seen some youngin’s in there (although I have no idea how old anyone is these days).

          • fragglewriter

            I went to Cobble Hill a few years back, at night, and the popcorn and drinks for two was the same price as the tickets for two SMH
            It’s a shame when you have to choose between groceries or a movie ticket.

          • Nicholas J

            Little known fact: movie theater fountain drinks are made from diluted printer ink. It makes the drinks damn expensive, but is a much cheaper way to refill your printer cartridges.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            It was expensive but they let me put it all on layaway and my last
            payment is approaching this month so I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll
            finally be able to afford my heating bill next winter.

            +100

  • wlubake

    Don’t lose hope folks, there are some spec-y upcoming projects: Transcendence, The Other Woman (by Melissa Stack, who wrote “I Want to ___ Your Sister”), the Quiet Ones, Neighbors. Those are just in the next month. Specs may not be lighting up the box office, but they are being made.

  • Kosta K

    Maybe our screenplays don’t have to be that good after all.

  • ThomasBrownen

    Just two quick comments:

    First, Captain America’s script wasn’t as good as you seem to think. I thought the script attempted to be better than the rest, but as I noted in the post about it, the execution still fell short of that goal.

    Second, I liked Non-Stop! I just saw the movie and didn’t read the script, but I thought it was a fun thriller that kept you guessing. Sure, the ending didn’t make much sense, and the main character’s arc was predictable and cliché, but I enjoyed trying to figure out who was causing the trouble. It created a fun mystery and I liked it.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      My goal is to go in with a blank slate with movies I actually plan on seeing. And read scripts of movies I don’t care to see. It takes the pressure off your expectations.

      • ThomasBrownen

        Yeah, I tend to hold off on reading a script until I see the movie. But it’s weird, if I know a movie is based on a book, I’ll often avoid the movie until I read the book.

        I don’t want the movie to spoil the book, I guess. Maybe… and I just realized this about me… maybe I start from the presumption that books are generally better than their movies. Interesting.

  • Eddie Panta

    BREAKING: SPEC SCRIPT SALE – Low to Mid Four Figures.

    Working Title: THE UNKNOWABLES
    Premise: Four Iraq war veterans enter the woods for a hunting trip only to be confronted by an unseen and unnamable beast. Set in any state with Tax incentives.
    Logline: Car rides with endless chatter, cellphones break, blood will spill.
    Budget: $300,000 – $350,000 claiming 3 millions on IMDB.
    Director of HATCHETT attached
    Produced by: unnamed Russian investor and a guy with a Super Cuts franchise in Manhattan Beach.

  • ScottStrybos

    What conclusions did I draw from this list?

    That as good as we think we can write, as good as we think our script is, as many times as we tell ourselves we can write better than the shit being sold, we in fact can’t write that well, our script is not that good, and we can’t even remotely write as good, let alone better, than the shit being sold. In fact, we aren’t even at Ride Along quality yet… So we need keep writing, and writing, and writing…

  • James Lion

    Conclusion: if you have the discipline, the inclination and the chops, write your script, then rewrite it as a novel, because that puts it out there as established IP and gives it a chance to prove its metal before anyone takes a chance on it. This process will also help you dig deeper into the characters. Likewise, if you can, make it as a graphic novel, which is a lot easier these days because of ebooks.

  • astranger2

    Love the Billy Mumy metaphor. Perfect.

  • drifting in space

    Ugh, the sad truth.

  • Stephjones

    Exactly. All of my action figures would have to have working vaginas.

    Hmmm. Do I need to rephrase that? Or not post it?
    Nah. I’m an old. What the fuck do I care?

    • Ange Neale

      All of mine would have to be anatomically correct and actually look like vaginas, not Barbie.

  • Cuesta

    So, no contained-elitist-something in the list?
    I’m genuinely surprised, looking at the friday reviews I’m convinced that was the trendy genre. Who would have thought it?

    But keep whining, this is so much fun.

  • peisley

    Funny how they’re making Top Gun 2, which, even though it does have the action, has no relevance for the targeted crowd, only the executives who saw its release.

    • Ange Neale

      Please, dear God, tell me they’re not trying to shoehorn Tom Cruise into a fighter jet at age 50 or whatever he is now.

      There are good reasons why older people don’t fly combat and it doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the gym, your reaction time slows.

      • drifting in space

        Well… it’s actually called:

        Top Gun 2: Drones

      • Casper Chris

        Cruise still manages to look pretty young though. As long as we can suspend our disbelief. If he looked like Gandalf the Grey, it would be a problem, but with proper make-up and lighting, he still looks late 20s – 30ish.

        • drifting in space

          Looks better than me and I’m half his age. FML

        • Ange Neale

          Hmm… Someone Gandalf’s age as a fighter pilot… There’s a thought.

          ‘Top Gun 2: he drools; he’s occasionally incontinent; when he’s looking for things at home he’ll suddenly stop and realise he no longer remembers what it was he lost. But he’s still deadly in the sky!

          ‘Mav! No – not them! They’re ours! Shoot the other guys!’

  • bluedenham

    Yes!

  • astranger2

    The issue with “discerning audiences,” or anyone who loves good literature, is that we are enamored with complex and often distressing real life endings. Aren’t too many Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Salinger works that end in an uplifting manner. (“Zooey” being an exception.) No one in today’s cinema really wants a Bronte ending anymore — something that causes you to contemplate life… We need to save the world.

    Which brings a poor segue — is your board name based on the John Gardner novel? Have always loved that work. Makes me grin whenever I think of it.

  • Franchise Blueprints

    This sorta ties in with your article the biography “The last Mogul” (2005). Men like Lew Wasserman represent the end of an era. Everything happening now is the result of marketing. The small niche of creating art for the sake of art is a bone the studios occasionally throw out after their main slate has been run. Philomena and its ilk are to keep you pacified so you can’t say all Hollywood makes are tentpoles. The four quadrant market took hold after Disney/Pixar/Avatar made 9 figures and above. All 3 have something in common animation (CGI). Its not that animation is universal in terms of story telling. Animation represents mass merchandise marketing on numerous levels. As long as the cow is available to be milked…..quality will always be an afterthought. Any business has a negative facade. You have to decide whether working within that machinery is worth your time. Just like Tall Dark and Handsome was [x] worth the read IMO. Although I really don’t know what the title had to do with the story. The more Frozen you make for the industry. The more opportunities you get to make The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

  • Ange Neale

    I’d rather reached the same conclusion about B/L after my last paid review. Waste of $50, so not doing that again. I can hit myself over the head with a brick for free.

    There’s a war on. Pilot girl is confused about sexuality. Pilot girl gets injured and ends up in hospital. Pilot girl meets doctor girl who likes other girls better, too. They fall in love. Shit happens and happy ever after is not assured. More shit happens and it looks like all is lost…

    Oh, fuck, I’m an idiot… It only SEEMS like it’s a plot.

    Plots MUST have superheroes, you stupid writer. Where are they? We can’t make toys and video games out of girl doctors and girl pilots. Even if they are anatomically correct toys, who’d want to buy them? No, hell, especially if they’re anatomically correct. Put people off. At the very least, stick a couple of zombies in there. Or consider re-writing it so Cruise can play both the major parts.

    What, he falls in love with himself? Yes! We haven’t seen that before! It’s unique…

    CUT TO:

    Writer in the back yard hitting herself over the head with a brick.

    • fragglewriter

      Sorry to hear about your review. I was thinking of getting paid review as it might look better when others are deciding giving my script a vote.

      • Ange Neale

        No, fraggle, it’s me who’s sorry — I was trying to be ironic but in hindsight, it sounds a bit whiny. (Note to self: toughen up!)

        Had much the same thought as you, but a B/L review can be a double-edged sword. You get the right reader, you’ll be okay. You don’t, and Plan A will blow up in your face. (I have room in my backyard and I can rustle up a spare brick, if you need it.)

        Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but they don’t seem to apply any sorts of benchmarks or formulas that might result in an objective assessment. Positive reviews seem highly dependent upon whether the reader considers your script marketable. Or maybe they just use a darned roulette wheel.

        Mine might yet be a non-starter in the US. See mulesandmud’s comment elsewhere on what he was told by a (male) producer recently about writing one female protag. I have two.

        • Gregory Mandarano

          So after having written my first novel, I’ve been hanging around writers forums / groups trying to situate myself in the community.

          I’ve come to the gripping realization that novelists and screenwriters are a radically radically different breed. Now I’m just generalizing here! But by and large, screenwriters seem to be way more self critical, and in general have less hope, less confidence, and seem more defeatist in nature.

          I can’t help but wonder if it has to do with the time it takes to write a ‘complete’ script vs the time it takes to write a ‘complete’ novel.

          It takes waaaaay longer to write a first draft for a novel than it does for a screenplay. I think the problem is that new screenwriters don’t realize that the same amount of work has to be put into re-writing to advance in the craft.

          What do you, the viewers at home think?

          • Ange Neale

            My first (and so far only) script took a (full-time) year to research and get to the point where B/L’s reader thought it deserved a 3/10 for plot. That’s mostly because I was trying to learn the craft while writing it. A/ it’s historical and I wanted it to have a high level of accuracy to build its authentic feel; b/ I’m a slow writer because c/ I’m completely pedantic about things like continuity, plotholes, logic, character development, (hopefully) correct use of the English language, authenticity of dialogue (thank Heaven for google ngram!)… I’ve given up counting how many re-writes I’ve done, BUT on the bright side, it gets better with each one.

        • fragglewriter

          Didn’t know you were being ironic (I guess one day, the forum will have appropriate ironic/sarcasm fonts) LOL

          The one thing I noticed about B/L is that they give away the plot point. Like who’s going to want to read the script if you’re giving away the plot twists and ending.

          I have no female protag in this script. She’s just a minor character. But for my next script, I have a female protag, but I have her partnered with a male, to balance things out.

          • Ange Neale

            You might have more luck with B/L with a male protag, fraggle.

            If you decide to proceed, I’d be interested to know how you get on (neal0018 at g mail dot com) if you feel like sharing.

          • fragglewriter

            No prob. I’ll keep you posted.

            You can always create an alias/pen name. That’s what most people do anyway.

        • Mallet

          I think all reviews of a script by a professional reader or studio executive or development person will be about if the script is marketable.

          It is a business. They have to make money to stay in business. They do not have unlimited funds to make movies, because they have investors that demand results and profits, so if they have to decide between 3 scripts, they will always pick the most marketable. They basically have to, because they have to “sell” it to their investors in order to get them to commit their money to making it and they have to give them realistic profit margins.

          Indie film making, low-budget film making and the non-studio system is where you want to place or try and make scripts that don’t appear to be marketable.

          • Ange Neale

            Agreed, up to a point, Mallet.
            If you read the piece grendl posted the link to up top, it talks about Inception. Everybody who was supposed to know everything about marketing in Hollywood thought it was a non-starter.
            They were all DEAD wrong. The thing made a ton of money. When their focus is marketing above all other considerations, what we end up with is, ‘Hey, this has worked three times already. Let’s do it over and over until it doesn’t work!’
            Which is why experts like Mr Spielberg worry about the future of the industry and why tv is making such big inroads on market share; that industry’s not afraid to take risks on original material.

  • Ange Neale

    What, no role for Tom Cruise?

  • drifting in space

    I’d like to buy the rights to this idea so I can become a soulless millionaire.

  • Nicholas J

    Why don’t you write comedy, grendl? I laughed like ten times reading that.

  • fragglewriter

    I’m entering my script into the Nicholl and about 3 others, so I’m hoping with upping the ante by including a few gun fighting scenes will help.

    • Ange Neale

      Probably not a rom-com, I’m guessing?

      • fragglewriter

        Hell no. I hate rom-coms unless it’s got a slight raunch.

  • fragglewriter

    That’s funny and a plausible movie. Maybe you should write it.

  • carsonreeves1

    “Driving Miss Crazy” really would make a hundred million dollars. That’s a great title. Remember, “Monster-In-Law” sold on its title alone.

    • grendl

      Yes, it would.

      Teaming those two in this would make a hundred million bucks.

      Wonder why they haven’t thought of it before some monster outside the fortress gate. Aren’t they supposed to be getting paid for this shit?

  • Linkthis83

    Love this channel.

    Honest Trailers, HISHE (How It Should Have Ended), and EWW (Everything Wrong With) are a daily regimen for me now.

    • drifting in space

      The Breaking Bad Honest Trailer is at the top of my list.

  • peisley

    I didn’t mean funny ha ha.

  • blueiis0112

    Does anyone have a link or copy of the script to “The Monuments Men”? I would like to read it before I try hard to see it. I live in a small town with an archaic theater. The owner is elderly and won’t be upgrading his system to get in the new movies as he won’t go into debt to do it and his adult kids aren’t interested in managing the place after he is gone. The closest one with state-of-the-art equipment is in Provo, UT. I would have loved to have read “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” as I missed that one. I am ambivalent about “Noah”. I know that biblical stories usually get over-the-top treatment to appeal to a broad audience. I understand that despite in-depth source material, it really skips over quite a lot.