Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2016 Spec Script Deals Analysis: Genres

By my count, Hollywood studios, production companies, and financiers acquired 75 spec scripts in 2016. During this week, I’ll be breaking down those numbers.

Screenwriter Joan Harrison

Today we look at deals by genre. Some scripts are categorized as cross genres or sub-genres, so those are noted where relevant under their primary genre category.

Note: Genre designations are not scientific, so you have to understand these numbers are general.

2016 SPEC SCRIPT DEALS BY GENRE

DRAMA — 24
Thriller — 6
Biopic — 3
Historical — 3
Fantasy — 1
Romance — 1

COMEDY — 18
Action — 3
Romantic — 3
Adventure — 1
Biopic — 1

THRILLER — 13
Legal — 1
Political — 1
Spy — 1

ACTION — 10
Thriller — 2
Adventure — 1
Drama — 1
Supernatural — 1

SCIENCE FICTION — 8
Thriller — 2

WESTERN — 2
Drama — 1

First let’s compare to 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

2008 (88 sales)

COMEDY 41
ACTION 13
DRAMA 12
THRILLER 10
FANTASY 3
SCIENCE FICTION 3
ADVENTURE 2
DISASTER 2
FAMILY 1
HORROR 1

2009 (68 sales)

COMEDY 26
THRILLER 12
ACTION 11
DRAMA 7
SCIENCE FICTION 4
ROMANTIC COMEDY 3
FAMILY 1
FANTASY 1
HEIST 1
HORROR 1
MURDER MYSTERY 1

2010 (55 sales)

COMEDY 16
ACTION 14
THRILLER 10
SCIENCE FICTION 7
DRAMA 4
FAMILY 2
FANTASY 1
MYSTERY 1

2011 (110 sales)

ACTION 29
THRILLER 20
COMEDY 19
DRAMA 14
SCIENCE FICTION 13
HORROR 8
FAMILY 2
FAIRY TALE 1
HEIST 1
SUPERNATURAL 1
WESTERN 1

2012 (99 sales)

ACTION 27
THRILLER 20
COMEDY 20
SCIENCE FICTION 12
DRAMA 10
HORROR 9
SUPERNATURAL 1

2013 (100 sales)

THRILLER 25
ACTION 20
COMEDY 18
DRAMA 17
SCIENCE FICTION 13
HORROR 3
WESTERN 2
DISASTER 1
FAMILY 1

2014 (62 sales)

ACTION 17
COMEDY 12
DRAMA 10
SCIENCE FICTION 9
THRILLER 8
HORROR 5
FANTASY 2

2015 (55 sales)

DRAMA 17
ACTION 13
THRILLER 10
COMEDY 7
SCIENCE FICTION 7
FAMILY 1

  • The first thing to note is the upswing in deals in 2016. After the drop from 100 in 2013 to 62 in 2014 to 55 in 2015, the jump to 75 deals last year represents a nice turnaround. Not yet at the strong level exhibited in 2011–2013 (around 100 per year), but a welcome rebound.
  • For the 2nd consecutive year, Drama was the #1 genre in terms of spec script deals. Indeed as a percent of spec deals, Drama scripts represented 32% of all acquisitions, right on target with the previous year’s 31%. That was a surprising number in 2015. The fact Drama landed atop the acquisition list for the 2nd consecutive year and with such solid numbers suggests we ought not be surprised any longer.
  • My prediction that Comedy would bounce back after a down year in 2015 proved to be a correct one as the genre landed in the #2 spot of spec script deals last year, accounting for a nifty 24% of total acquisitions.
  • Indeed with 42 deals among them, Drama and Comedy comprised 56% of total spec script deals in 2016.
  • On the flip side of the coin, it’s interesting to note the decline in both Action and Thriller spec acquisitions. After topping the charts from 2011–2014, they dropped to 4th and 3rd respectively. Combined they accounted for 30% of deals last year, just over half of what Drama and Comedy did.

What do you think when you look at these numbers? Will they have any impact on what stories you choose to write in 2017?

Click on RESPONSE to post your observations and analysis of the year in spec script deals.

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2016 Spec Script Deals Analysis: Genres was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

2016 Spec Script Deals Analysis: Genres

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