One talking point in the AFM halls this year has been TWC and Wild Bunch’s decision to ask buyers to sit in their offices to read the scripts for The Hateful Eight and Oliver Stone’s Untitled Edward Snowden film, respectively.
While the move is not without precedent - the same ploy was adopted on The Hunger Games and The Master (and some former Luc Besson scripts), among others - it has some questioning whether the move is motivated by a desire to curb leaks or simply to ramp up buzz and entice increasingly cautious buyers to make those all-important offers.
“In the age of digital it’s a necessary step to avoid leaks,” one seller told Screen. Tarantino has already had to contend with one script leak on The Hateful Eight.
“I think it is a little bit of a stunt, a marketing gimmick,” countered a buyer. “Sales agents already watermark scripts so if you leaked them you would be in serious shit.”
“Reading the script in the office for Snowden was an obligation considering the subject matter,” explained Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval.
“People who read the script all understood why after reading it. It has nothing to do with anything else.”
Some talent demand in-house reads, cautious of projects being disseminated too widely.
“It’s not a problem for me,” added one veteran buyer. “It’s usually only the cool projects that require it and it means you don’t have to read it at home on the weekend.”
“If a seller is going to hold you ransom for two hours they better have some fresh coffee and killer Danish pastries at the ready,” joked another buyer.