Black List (survey)

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The Black List is a survey published every year on the second Friday of December since 2004 by Franklin Leonard, a development executive who as of 2012 works for Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.[1][2] The survey includes the top motion picture screenplays not yet produced. The website states that these are not necessarily "the best" screenplays, but rather "the most liked", since it is based on a survey of studio and production company executives.[3]

The Black List has included a substantial number of screenplays that were later put into production, including successful and award-winning examples such as American Hustle, Lars and the Real Girl, Juno,[4] The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire,[5] Argo,[6] and 50/50.[3] All seven of these scripts however were already purchased and in development by major studios prior to appearing on the Black List. In addition, writers whose scripts are listed often find that they are more readily hired for other jobs, even if their listed screenplays still have not been produced, such as Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, two of the writers of the Oscar-winning screenplay of The Descendants, who had an earlier screenplay make the list.[1] On the other hand, Slate columnist David Haglund has written that the list's reputation as a champion for "beloved but challenging" works has been overstated, since "these are screenplays that are already making the Hollywood rounds. And while, as a rule, they have not yet been produced, many of them are already in production."[7]

Besides the aforementioned films, other screenplays that were put into production after appearing on the Black List include Transcendence,[8] Bad Words,[9] and The Imitation Game.[10]


  1. ^ a b Geoff Edgars, "Hollywood’s talent pool", Boston Globe, February 23, 2012.
  2. ^ The Wall Street Journal 12/13/2012
  3. ^ a b Nicole Sperling, "A 'Black List' that's a career boost", Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011.
  4. ^ Nicole Sperling, "The Black List: How Hollywood's Buzziest Scripts Get Their Juice", Entertainment Weekly, December 10, 2008.
  5. ^ Ben Child, "Hollywood's 'Black List' of best unproduced scripts of 2011 revealed", The Guardian, December 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Finke, Nikki. "The Black List 2010: Screenplay Roster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  7. ^ David Haglund, "The Mostly Dull-Sounding Screenplays on This Year’s 'Black List'", Slate, December 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (December 17, 2012). "Black List 2012 Features Biopics On Hillary Clinton & Dr. Seuss, 'Transcendence' & More". indieWire. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ Finke, Nikki (December 12, 2011). "The Black List 2011: Screenplay Roster". Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  10. ^ Child, Ben (December 13, 2011). "Hollywood's 'Black List' of best unproduced scripts of 2011 revealed". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 

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