moneysmall.jpgIt’s all about who you know, right? Or is it all about who you can blackmail? Or could it be it’s all about who you sleep with? The answer might surprise you.

Turns out it’s all about originality. As Hollywood continues to struggle to make high quality cost effective movies that garner the studios tons of money, the big thing is clear; original scripts do very well.

Variety conducted a study of the top 20 films at the domestic box office for each year over the past decade. Each film was classified by its source — and of the 200 films, just over half were from original scripts.

While the survey shows original material can reap big payoffs, some of the biggest hits did not go through the studios’ lengthy development process. And few of these originals came from the expensive first-look deals that studios are trying to pare.

Beyond originality, the other place to rape reap ideas are books, comicbook, remakes of TV series.

Among the better averages were pics based on comicbooks: There were only 13 such films, and the $2.8 billion total means that each comicbook hit averaged a $215 million gross.

Comics and Graphic Novels: $3.1 billion

It’s not surprising that the superhero genre has hooked Hollywood when comicbook movies featuring characters like Spider-Man, Superman, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four or Batman have been heroic at the B.O.

But properties like Sony’s “Men in Black” and DreamWorks’ animated “Over the Hedge,” also based on comic books or the funny pages, were also successful.

It’s clear that graphic novels won’t be losing their newfound respect anytime soon — not after “300” (which isn’t counted in the B.O. tally for this story) grossed more than $200 million in the U.S. this year.

The category has proven so successful that comicbook companies like Marvel have gone off on their own to start financing and producing their own superhero pics.

In fact, Marvel has “Iron Man” and “The Hulk” in production, and Captain America, Thor, Wolverine, Magneto, Sub-Mariner and The Avengers in the works. Another Batman and Superman, as well as first outings for Wonder Woman, The Flash and Justice League, are upcoming from DC Comics and Warner Bros.

It is an interesting and worthwhile study conducted by Variety. If you read the data correctly (comics coming in at number 3), it could mean we will be seeing even more movies based on comic related properties over the next decade. If you could combine originality with comics, it should be a one-two punch.

I think this is what companies like Platinum Studios and the Zuda Comics are trying to do. If you look at our coverage of Platinum Studios and Cowboys and Aliens, it started off as an original comic book that was purchased primarily as a way of getting a movie made. Then, shortly after the Entertainment Weekly debacle, the comic was indeed picked up and is being developed for a motion picture. Very little development time is needed as the story, and presumably much of the pre-production, are already in place; meaning the movie can get to the screens that much faster. I think this is a smart move by Platinum and others, even if some people think it is “cheating”.

Still, I gotta know – is anyone still interested in my Kung-Fu Zombie Western? It’s a total different take than anything anyone has going on at the moment.

via Variety


  1. July 10, 2007 at 9:46 am — Reply

    My question is, did you find the picture to follow this story on the internet, or did you take a pic of some spare change laying around the house?

  2. July 10, 2007 at 10:36 am — Reply

    C’mon, James… We wouldn’t keep small change like that lying around Stately Spoilers Manor. That’s the kind of money that you use to pay the gardener…

  3. July 10, 2007 at 10:45 am — Reply

    James, you of all people should know that is the money I set aside each month for my comic order!

  4. July 10, 2007 at 5:53 pm — Reply

    Could you send me an application?

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...