Movie Profits Driven By Stories And Directors, Not Stars, Academics Conclude

By | Wednesday December 12, 2012 @ 1:20pm PST

Movie making is often an insane business. But moguls turn out to be pretty rational about it according to a chapter in an upcoming economics text and a recent article in an academic journal. Researchers say that studios wisely bet on stories and directors. Star worship “is all but a myth,” writes S. Abraham Ravid — a finance professor at Yeshiva University — in The Economics Of Creativity, to be published next month. “Stars can still sell magazines, but not movies.” Why do studios pay big bucks for Academy Award-winners? It’s part of a strategy, along with co-financing, to reduce the risk of making big-budget films — especially R-rated ones, which represent the biggest gambles. Stars should draw at least some fans, even to a stinker of a movie, the theory goes. “In an industry where a big failure is much more dreaded than a big success is wished for, insurance is worth its weight in gold, or in eight-figure salaries.” Read More »

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The Black List Launching Web Site That Tracks Most Popular Scripts In Real Time

EXCLUSIVE: Film executive Franklin Leonard has maintained The Black List for the past six years to champion hundreds of talented screenwriters and unproduced scripts. Well over 125 screenplays have been made into movies, and they’re responsible for 20 Oscars and roughly $10 … Read More »

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AMC Won’t Order Any Pilots This Go-Round

By | Tuesday May 17, 2011 @ 1:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After narrowing its development field to six scripts, which had been undergoing thorough evaluation for the past two months, AMC ultimately decided not to pick up any of them to pilot at this time. This does not mean that all six projects are dead. I hear that two of them, The Voyage and an untitled racing project, will remain in contention and are expected to be redeveloped. Space epic Voyage, from writer/executive producer John Shiban and executive producer Lynda Obst, is described as a grounded look at human beings’ first contact with extraterrestrial life seen through the eyes of an ambitious female scientist and her team at Jet Propulsion Laboratories. Sony TV is producing. Read More »

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AMC Spices Up Development Process With Script Bake-Off, Winners To Get Pilot Orders

By | Friday March 11, 2011 @ 7:47pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

What’s cooking at AMC? It’s the cable network’s second annual pilot script showcase called “bake-off,” which took place from Monday to Thursday this week at a hotel in Los Angeles. In it, six scripts identified by AMC brass as finalists … Read More »

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Scripter John August Bitchslaps Jessica Alba

By | Monday November 8, 2010 @ 7:27am PST

It wasn’t unprovoked. Actress Jessica Alba dissed screenwriters to Elle magazine. Here’s the posting from Big Fish and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory scripter John August’s blog:

Oh, Jessica

I have to believe she was misquoted, or excerpted in some unflattering way, because Jessica Alba couldn’t have actually said this:

Good actors,

Read More »

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‘Wall Street 2′ Writer Exits CAA For ICM

By | Sunday September 26, 2010 @ 7:13pm PDT

Before Allan Loeb, screenwriter Stephen Shiff was the first writer on Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps which opened #1 this weekend. Now he’s left CAA for ICM. After writing for The New Yorker and reviewing films for NPR, Schiff started his screenwriting career by adapting Lolita and went on to … Read More »

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NO SCRIPT FOR YOU! Actors Vying For Big Parts Can’t Read Full Screenplays Anymore

By | Friday August 6, 2010 @ 8:47am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The writer/director Wachowski siblings have begun to invite actors to meet on their new film Cobalt Neural 9 about a taboo gay romance between an American and Iraqi soldier. But agents are telling me it has become yet another … Read More »

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Fox 2000 Sees Film Potential In Teen Novel

Mike Fleming

before-i-fallEXCLUSIVE: Fox 2000 has optioned the rights to the Lauren Oliver teen novel Before I Fall, with Maria Maggenti set to adapt it. The book brings a Groundhog Day approach to high school. A female student finds herself living what may … Read More »

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WME Closing On Spec Script Sale Trifecta

By | Thursday June 24, 2010 @ 10:08am PDT
Mike Fleming

screenplay_pileThough the material market is summer sluggish, WME has managed the neat trick of closing in on three script deals this week, with another on the brink.

The spec in play is Ion, a Will Dunn scifi script that has Channing Tatum … Read More »

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‘Carter Beats The Devil’ Regains Magic Mojo

By | Monday June 21, 2010 @ 8:01am PDT
Mike Fleming

carter-beats-the-devilWarner Bros is giving the Glen David Gold novel Carter Beats the Devil another chance to beat death by development hell. The studio has optioned the novel, and set Michael Gilio to write the script. Jon Shestack will produce, and Ginny … Read More »

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WGA Approves Credit Revision Proposals

By | Friday June 18, 2010 @ 4:09pm PDT
Mike Fleming



WGAE president Michael Winship and WGAW president John Wells announced that members overwhelmingly approved amendments to the Screen and Television Credits Manuals that make it easier for hyphenates to get screen credit. On the movie side, 85.7% of membership (1237 … Read More »

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WHERE’S MY SCRIPT?! Warner Bros Cracks Down On Screenwriter’s Late Delivery Dates

By | Friday June 18, 2010 @ 1:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

barton_finkEXCLUSIVE: In a move that has writers and their reps buzzing, Warner Bros has just put out word that it will start to enforce delivery dates on first screenplay drafts. That means writers who signed contracts had better deliver on time, or risk the wrath of the studio. Deadlines are rarely enforced by studios, under the “better late and great” rationale. Writers function better under deadline, but scribes say procrastination isn’t the reason they fall behind on delivery dates. Low to mid-level writers are double-booking to make ends meet in an age when studios routinely slash writer quotes and offer one-step deals that leave scribes wondering if they’ll be jobless in three months. Some writers saw the Warner Bros move as another example of Read More »

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Reality Producer RDF USA Signs With WME

By | Thursday June 17, 2010 @ 1:08pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

RDFUSA1EXCLUSIVE: Wife Swap producer RDF  USA has signed with WME after more than 4 years without agency representation. The American branch of U.K.’s RDF Media, which was recently acquired by Zodiak Entertainment, is prepping 8-10 new unscripted projects … Read More »

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Danny McBride Gets Mandate ‘Bullies’ Pulpit

By | Wednesday June 16, 2010 @ 3:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

danny_mcbride_imageMandate Pictures is banking on the notion that HBO’s East Bound and Down star Danny McBride will make a convincing bully. Mandate has made a deal for Bullies, a comedy based on an original idea by McBride about two brothers who … Read More »

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Chris Moynihan Inks Deal At ABC Studios

By | Wednesday June 9, 2010 @ 5:29pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Moynihan_WM88616107_150x200EXCLUSIVE: 100 Questions creator Christopher Moynihan has inked a two-script deal with ABC Studios to write and executive produce two comedy projects for the studio. The projects will be co-produced by Tagline Pictures whose sister management company Thruline Entertainment manages Moynihan. … Read More »

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Award-Winning Playwright Pens Biopic

By | Wednesday June 9, 2010 @ 10:59am PDT

Laurie CunninghamKwame Kwei-Armah, the BAFTA-nominated TV scriptwriter, has turned to the big screen. Kwei-Armah is writing Black Flash, a biopic of 70s soccer star Laurie Cunningham for production company Fulwell 73. Cunningham was the first black player to represent England … Read More »

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Tom Arnold To Star In CMT Comedy Pilot

By | Tuesday June 8, 2010 @ 10:11am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Tom-ArnoldEXCLUSIVE: CMT is getting another familiar name from its roster of unscripted series hosts to headline one of its first four scripted pilot presentations. Tom Arnold has been tapped to star in the untitled David Litt multi-camera comedy, a multi-generational show … Read More »

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Fairy Tales Are Hot! Relativity Media Acquires New Version of ‘Snow White’

By | Thursday June 3, 2010 @ 4:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The billion dollar worldwide gross of Alice in Wonderland has turned public domain fairy tales into the hottest segment of an otherwise sluggish script marketplace. In the latest deal, Relativity Media has made a preemptive acquisition of The Brothers Grimm: Snow White, an edgy 3D re-imagining of the German  … Read More »

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Rush Limbaugh: The Movie?

By | Thursday June 3, 2010 @ 12:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

limbaughrush_w1He’s the country’s top-rated talk radio host, beacon of conservatives, a lightning rod for controversy. Is Rush Limbaugh movie material?

Writer/producer James Sclafani thinks so, and has written a feature film about Limbaugh’s life that is in the process of being packaged … Read More »

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