Hey Hollywood

The Black List

Proof positive that Hollywood doesn’t know what it’s doing.

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You might think that 2011 was a bumper year for the movies, what with all those dragons, tattoos and ohmygodhaveyouseenmelancholia. But actually 2011 sucked. It was the year in which we saw—or didn’t see, more’s the point—four of the biggest box-office flops of all time.

Cowboys & Aliens lost $75 million. Happy Feet 2 hemorraghed $80 million. The Green Lantern tanked to the tune of $90 million. And at top of the tree, the new undisputed heavyweight champion of sucking was Mars Needs Moms, which lost a record-breaking $130 million. That’s enough to make two whole Giglis or almost three Ishtars.

So who says America doesn’t make anything? We make flops, the biggest in the world, thank you very much. And the annual assault of tired old franchises, sequels and prequels is not for a lack of great screenplays either. It’s just that film executives don’t always pick the right ones. And there’s no better proof of this than the Hollywood Blacklist.

The Black List began in 2005 as a simple email from Franklin Leonard—then a film executive at Leonardo DiCaprios’ production company, Appian Way—to other development executives in search of “good” scripts. Today, it compiles the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contribute the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in the previous year. And it has become not only a showcase of Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays but also a platform that helps get them made.

According to Fast Company, “in its seven years of existence, the Hollywood Black List has highlighted 500 screenplays, over 120 of which were produced and distributed, earned $11 billion worldwide at the box office and won 20 Academy Awards from over 80 nominations.” Former Black List All Stars include: Slumdog Millionaire, The Kings Speech, Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and 500 Days of Summer.

Here’s the five films from the 2011 Blacklist we really want to see get made:

The Imitation Game, by Graham Moore

The story of British WWII cryptographer Alan Turing, who cracked the German Enigma code and later poisoned himself after being criminally prosecuted for being a homosexual. Leonardo DiCaprio is reportedly attached, which sounds promising. It’s high time he tried his hand at an English accent.

Chewie, by Evan Susser, Van Robichaux

A satirical behind the scenes look at the making of Star Wars through the eyes of Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca. It may not get made unless a ‘star’ gets attached to play Peter Mayhew, who also happens to be 7’ 3” tall. Which basically narrows the field to Shaq. But come on—Shaq plays Chewie? That’s Hollywood gold.

Bad Words, by Andrew Dodge

The bastard child of the organizer of the national spelling bee gets his revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win the bee as an adult, only to find friendship in a young Indian contestant. Can someone call Charlie Day for this? And Spike Jonze to direct?

Bastards, by Justin Malen

Two brothers, raised to believe their biological father died, find out their mother slept with many powerful and famous men in the 1970s. The siblings hit the road to find their real father. It’s a road trip odd-couple movie, so we’d suggest Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifinakis. Unless they already made that one, of course. Oh, it looks like they did.

The Flamingo Thief, by Mike Lesieur

Grief stricken over his wife leaving him, a man finds solace in an odd activity—swiping figurines of flamingos. Actually, we’re not sure about this one. Flamingos?

Download all 73 Black List 2011 scripts here.



Mars Needs Moms lost $130 million. That’s enough to make two whole Giglis.Shaan Kirpalani

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