Let's take a look at two sales that were both logged yesterday.
Title: Untitled Loeb Project
Logline: A jilted lover must disguise himself as a woman and befriend his ex in order to win her back.
Writer: Allan Loeb
Price: High six figures against seven figures
More: Pitch. Working Title's Eric Fellner & Tim Bevan, Dark Trick's Jonathon Komack Martin and Scarlett Fire's Steven Pearl will produce. Liza Chasin, Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb will executive produce. Reynolds will also star.
Title: What's He Got?
Logline: After he loses his girlfriend to a lovable loser, a guy seeks the loser out to find out "what's he got."
Writer: Kevin Bisch
Price: $900,000 against $1.6 million
More: Pitch. Walt Becker, Andrew Panay and Category 5's Brian Sher will produce. Becker will also direct. Josh Duhamel will star.
I think the similarities are obvious enough to not linger on them too long. These are both romantic comedies. Both are about guys who have to win their exes back. And both - amazingly - were bought for high six figures against seven figures. (If you're wondering what the "against" means, the writer gets the higher sum when the movie is made. So Kevin Bisch, for example, sold WHAT'S HE GOT? for 900K, and will get another 700K when the film is made. Pretty sweet.) Neither writer is new to the game (Bisch did the Will Smith hit HITCH, and Loeb has a few more credits to his name on imdb with 21 and WALL STREET 2, among others), but the sales are still impressive.
When I read these two loglines back to back, they were similar enough in both concept and deal for me to wonder (albeit only briefly) if the same script had been logged twice. Of course, they're not the same. In one, Ryan Reynolds has to dress like a woman in order to woo his ex back. In Bisch's script, a guy has to learn what he's lacking and (supposedly) steal his girlfriend back from the more lovable guy she's now with.
What's really incredible is the first word under the "more" category for each. Pitch. In my mind, that translates to "spec." As writers, we have to love the fact that two specs collectively went for almost $2 million, with potential to bring in almost another $1 mil. Equally exciting is that both of these already have people attached to star. The fact that someone like Ryan Reynolds, whose $40 million rom-com THE PROPOSAL took in over $163 million domestically, is attached to Loeb's script certainly pushed that price tag up a bit. The lesson this week is that an idea (both could be funny, but neither seems to be breaking new ground) can go a long way and increase its value with the right people attached. Packaging a project is a beautiful thing when its done correctly.