Category Archives: Spec Market News

A hub to find all news focused on the spec market, including feature specs, tv specs, pitches and film rights projects.

The State of the Spec Market

Amazon Studios ExcerptIn examining the newest Spec Book, Neil Turitz finds that for the second year in a row, there were more specs put on the market and, more importantly, more sold, than the year before. This means there are more opportunities for the writers themselves, and for the companies making the movies to bring fresh voices to their product.

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Mirzai Twins Out With New Comedy Spec “I’m Leaving You” After Selling “Accidentes” to Tucker Tooley

Mirzai BrothersThe story follows three friends and co-workers who team up to help each other face their terrible exes and bad relationships. If the premise sounds a little vague, it’s only because the Mirzai brothers don’t want to tip their hand.

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James McAvoy to Star in “Escape,” Returning to His “Last King of Scotland” Roots

James McAvoy ExcerptScottish actor James McAvoy is set to star in Escape with director Colm McCarthy at the helm, the Tracking Board has confirmed. The film is based on a spec script by Vanya Asher.

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Paramount Buys Horror Spec “The Infinity Reel” From Newcomer Adam D’Alba

Paramount ExcerptThe story follows a paranormal investigator who finds himself drawn to a small town that has experienced bizarre phenomena. He soon discovers that these instances have an eerie connection with his own past.

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Amazon Acquires Spec “This Is Jane” About Chicago Abortion Service

Story of Jane ExcerptThe Tracking Board has confirmed that Amazon Studios acquired the spec This Is Jane by Dan Loflin in a six-figure deal. The project is based on Laura Kaplan’s book The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service published in 1995.

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Studios to Spend Weekend Reading Hot Genre Spec “Afraid” From “Red Eye,” “Red Widow” Writers

Heat meterDescribed as The Purge meets The Bourne Identity, the story follows four criminal soldiers whose killing skills have been enhanced by horrifying experiments. When they escape to a small Wisconsin town and begin a campaign of terror, only a former Army medic, his tough high school sweetheart and a weathered local sheriff stand in the way of these brutal killers.

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Lionsgate Wins Seven-Figure Bidding War for Inkshares Book “The Punch Escrow”

Irina Ivanova ExcerptWith multiple studios bidding on the sci-fi manuscript that’s being compared to Looper and Ready Player One, it’s Lionsgate who comes out on top to win newcomer Tal M. Klein’s first book.

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Fox Buys Untitled Comedy Spec for Female Directing, Writing, and Producing Team

Melissa Stack ExcerptIn a mid-six-figure deal, 20th Century Fox has acquired an untitled spec from Melissa Stack, the Tracking Board has confirmed. The project will also be Stack’s directorial debut.

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Launch Pad Finalist Steve Isles Signs With UTA (Exclusive)

SteveIsles - thumb Just one day after announcing our 2016 Launch Pad Feature Competition winners, Steve Isles joins the more than 200 writers who have landed reps from the competition as he signs with Mike Esola at UTA.

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Sony Adds Another Faith-Based Film to Their Inventory with Pitch “Hope Heals”

Hope Heals ExcerptVia their Columbia Pictures banner, Sony Pictures has acquired the pitch Hope Heals from writers Bob Smiley and Justin Hensley, the Tracking Board has confirmed. The project is based on the memoir of the same name and adds to the growing list of faith-based films from the studio.

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Paramount Acquires Ian Shorr Spec “Infinite”

Paramount ExcerptIn a quick turnaround, Paramount Pictures has acquired the spec Infinite from writer Ian Shorr, the Tracking Board has confirmed. The script only hit the market recently.

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Introducing Inaugural Launch Pad Manuscript Competition Winner Danny Newell

200x134 - Winners ANNOUNCED Out of more than 2,000 entries coming to us from 24 different countries, we’re incredibly excited to introduce you to the 2016 LPMC Overall Winner, selected by none other than Ridley Scott and his Scott Free Productions.

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Oscar-Winner Damien Chazelle Sells Hit List Script “The Claim”

damien chazelle excerptLa La Land writer-director Damien Chazelle has optioned the movie rights to his mystery thriller The Claim to Oceanside Media. Oceanside’s Scott Clayton will produce with Route One Entertainment’s Russell Levin and Motion Picture Capital’s Leon Clarance.

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Sci-Fi Novel “Afterlife” Prepares for Town Rollout as Rights Hit Market

amazonAuthor Marcus Sakey is hoping to make a big splash this weekend with as his upcoming novel Afterlife prepares to hit the market. His previous novel Brilliance was sold to Legendary for $1.25 million and attached Will Smith to star and Joe Roth to produce.

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Drew Goddard to Direct “Bad Times At The El Royale” for 20th Century Fox

Drew Goddard Bad Times At The El RoyalePlot details are being kept under wraps, though sources say it’s a contained thriller with genre elements. Only top studio execs were given the opportunity to read the script, hence the vague nature of the titular “bad times.”

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Congrats to Pete Barry, Whose Launch Pad Script MARIAN Has Sold to Sony For Margot Robbie to Star!

53629633 (1)_resizeWith several A-List talent packages circling, Sony stepped in to close a deal and mark the first sale of the ongoing 2016 Launch Pad Feature Competition!

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New Line Cinema Picks Up “Wizard of Oz” Horror Pitch From Launch Pad and Hit List Alum Mike Van Waes

oz-excerptThe world of Wizard of Oz is about to get the horror treatment from Hit List alum Mike Van Waes. New Line Cinema recently picked up a pitch tied to the classic 1900 L. Frank Baum from the up and coming screenwriter.

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*Updated as Offers Come in* Brie Larson, Daisy Ridley, & Alicia Vikander Circling as the Hottest Spec in Town Gears Up for the Weekend!

2-1-768x384_resize*UPDATED February 27th* As the project now goes into all buyers, more talent circles and offers start to come in! Gearing up for a star-studded Oscar weekend, one spec script has taken the town by storm as A-list talent and Producers fight for a piece of the pie.

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Hot New Spec “Marian” Aims to Reinvent the Studio Franchise With Fresh Spin on “Robin Hood” (Exclusive)

Maid Marian Robin HoodAlicia Vikander is just one of the A-list actresses circling this project, which is being pitched as a grounded Braveheart, and finds Robin Hood’s love interest rising to power and leading her people into war that will decide the fate of her kingdom.

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John Swetnam’s Female Assassin Spec “Ruthless” May Spark Bidding War After “John Wick” (Exclusive)

John Wick Paradigm and Industry Entertainment are out with Relentless, a hot new spec from John Swetnam, the writer of Into the Storm and Step Up All In. The project is being described as being in the vein of John Wick, but with a female protagonist.

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STXfilms to Chase “Gone Girl” Crowd With Thriller Spec “The New Neighbors”

Leslye Headland New NeighborEveryone has skeletons in their closet, even (especially?) rich people! To that end, STX Films has optioned the spec script The New Neighbors and attached Leslye Headland (Bachelorette) to direct the psychological thriller.

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James Hutchinson’s New Sci-Fi Spec “Haldane” Into Territories (Exclusive)

Haldane by James HutchinsonManager Kailey Marsh is out with a hot new sci-fi spec titled Haldane, written by scribe James Hutchinson and described as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Under the Skin.

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Sony Acquires Horror Thriller Spec “Reddoor” from Teddy Tenenbaum and Minsun Park

Sony ExcerptThis morning Sony Pictures acquired the new hot spec Reddoor (stylized as /reddoor) from writers Teddy Tenenbaum and Minsun Park. Producers Barry Josephson, Liz Bassin, and Jim Wedaa have come aboard the project as well.

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Carrie Buck’s Sterilization Subject of Melissa Hilfer’s Hot New Spec “Unfit,” Now Into Territories With Producers (Exclusive)

Carrie Buck Emma Buck Unfit34 years after her death, Carrie Buck is at the center of a timely biopic that has A-list actresses across Hollywood paying attention. Written by Undone scribe Melissa Hilfers, Unfit is set in the not-so-distant past, when America was gripped by a political movement that promised to eliminate the “unfit” from our country.

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Joe Ballarini’s Berlin Wall Spec “Skyward” Into Studios with Producers (Exclusive)

Skyward Joe BallariniUpdate: While some studios pop champagne bottles to celebrate this morning’s Oscar nominations, others have moved on and are focusing on what’s next. To that end, several suitors are scrambling for Joe Ballarini’s spec Skyward, which is described as being similar in tone to Best Picture winners Argo and The King’s Speech.

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MGM Nabs Sci-Fi Novella “Snapshot” by Brandon Sanderson

mgm-excerptThe Brandon Sanderson-penned sci-fi novella Snapshot has been acquired by MGM. Broken Road Productions (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Entertainment 360 (Office Christmas Party) are set to produce.

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“Black-ish” Creator Kenya Barris Developing “White Men Can’t Jump” Remake

white-men-excerptThe 1992 sports comedy White Men Can’t Jump is set to get a 21st-century makeover courtesy of Kenya Barris. The Black-ish creator is teaming with Los Angeles Clippers player Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil of the Carolina Panthers to develop a remake of the 20th Century Fox classic.

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Timely Spec “Inauguration Day” Going into Major Territories with Producers (EXCLUSIVE)

Heat meterA brand new — and appropriately timely — spec is hitting the market this week from scribe Patrick McConville. The political thriller Inauguration Day has already captured the attention of several producers and is moving into major territories.

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Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Acquires Film Rights to YA Novel “Moxie”

amy-poehler-excerptThe rights to the upcoming YA novel Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu have landed at Amy Poehler and Brooke Posch’s production company Paper Kite. The book is slated to be released later this year on September 19 by Roaring Book Press.

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Universal Acquires “Lucky Santangelo” Novels by Jackie Collins

jackie-collins-excerptThe 10-novel series based on the life of mob daughter Lucky Santangelo by the late, great Jackie Collins is about to get the silver screen treatment. Universal Pictures recently acquired the books and are planning on making it into a trilogy with Monumental and Working Title.

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