Hollywood ‘spec script’ is making a comeback
By Daniel Miller
Six months later, in March, he sold the screenplay for “Winter’s Knight” the same way, for the same price.
The sales of the speculatively written properties, both of which Grey will produce, put Hollywood on notice that the “spec script” was on the rebound and reminded some executives of the 1990s, when $1-million-plus spec sales were common.
Movie studios, then flush with money, were pumping out more than 20 films a year and constantly in search of new material. Specs were coveted because they enabled studios to circumvent the often costly and time-consuming development process.
Big sales such as the $3-million purchase of Joe Eszterhas’ “Basic Instinct” and the $1.75-million acquisition of Shane Black’s “The Last Boy Scout” touched off a decade-plus of freewheeling spending.
But as studios stockpiled material, says J.C. Spink, a veteran manager and producer who has worked in the spec market for years, “they were buying so much material that they didn’t make that they began to think, why are we doing this?”