What's Driving Sony's Script Shopping Spree
The studio has spent, by some accounts, more than $4 million in the past month on written material
This story first appeared in the Oct. 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Sony is looking to make movies the old-fashioned way: by developing original scripts.
Other than Spider-Man, the studio is lacking in strong built-in franchises, so it has turned to the spec market, spending by some accounts more than $4 million in the past month on written material. In early October, it bought the Robin Hood-themed pitch Hood for $1 million against $2 million and a pitch called The West for high-six figures. Those followed $750,000 for female-centric sci-fi script The Eden Project, $375,000 against $775,000 for an untitled buddy-cop comedy and $500,000 against $1 million for In the Deep.
Some say Michael De Luca, who joined Sony as co-president of production in December, is beginning to show his taste (though co-president Hannah Minghella also was involved in some big buys). "Michael is building a new slate and making a statement," says one agent close to the dealmaking. Sellers note that the studio has become more competitive in its acquisitions. "They have a desire to win and to beat studios like Warner Bros.," says one lit agent. Sony won't comment on its buying spree, but one insider says: "Hannah and Mike have been empowered to be competitive in all areas. Great material is the goal."