Hollywood Buying Spree: Film Studios Stocking Up on Spec Scripts and Pitches

Courtesy of Simon and Schuster
"The Dark Tower"

Literary reps are calling it one of the busiest bursts of development activity in recent memory.

This story first appeared in the May 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Writers are feeling a bit more love these days. Studios are buying pitches and spec scripts in what literary reps call one of the busiest bursts of development activity in recent memory: "There's been a much more receptive market in the past four months than in the previous four years," says Kaplan/Perrone's Sean Perrone. Insiders say recent studio executive shuffles are a major reason for the action. With Tom Rothman at Sony, Marc Evans at Paramount and Stacey Snider at Fox, plenty of new execs want to put their own stamp on slates. "A new regime wants to bring in their own projects," says Michael De Luca, now a producer at Universal. "And sometimes when studios cut development spending to the bone, they find later that the cupboards are bare."



Sources say Sony has been one of the most active restockers, buying book adaptations (Stephen King's The Dark Tower) and expanding franchises (hiring Broad City's Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs to pen a female-driven Jump Street). Bidding wars have been big: Warner Bros. beat Sony for Jon Spaihts' The Forever War with Channing Tatum, and several studios wanted a Josh Gad musical pitch that went to Universal, which also nabbed Chris Pratt's The Real McCoy. "Studios [are now] inclined to buy something new," says Management 360's Darin Friedman. "We're looking for that game-changing deal."