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A Damn Good Reason to Write a Horror Spec

By June 15, 2016No Comments

This post will be nice and short because it can be nice and short. While you should never write something you don't WANT to write, if you've been considering writing a horror film there is a damn good reason to go ahead and do it. Horror films prove to be the most profitable genre of them all. You already knew that? Did you know that the 10 most profitable movies in the last 5 years have ALL been horror films? That's right, all of them. Here's the breakdown:


10. The Last Exorcism ($70M gross vs. $1.8M production budget)

09. Annabelle ($250M vs. $6.5M)

08. Chernobyl Diaries ($38M vs. $1M)

07. Insidious 2 ($162M vs. $5M)

06. The Purge ($91M vs. $3M)

05. Paranormal Activity 3 ($202M vs. $5M)

04. Unfriended ($48M vs. $1M)

03. Paranormal Activity 2 ($177M vs. $3M)

02. Insidious ($100M vs. $1.5M)

01. The Devil Inside ($101M box vs. $1M)


Do you know what else is great about this list? The highest budget film on there is only $6.5M. Horror films have a built in audience, they're relatively low risk, and they have massive potential. Now, even though THE DEVIL INSIDE has a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, that is the exception not the rule. Your horror script can't just be a couple cheap pop scores, we've seen with recent films like THE DARKNESS that audiences will reject lazy stories with lazy scares. However, if you have a standout $50M drama, you can bet that any producer would rather you have a standout $3M horror film — it's a lot easier for everyone to sell.

One final note – both the Grand Prize Winner and the 3rd Place Winner of WISC 2015 were horror scripts. Some folks feel that horror films can't stand out in a screenplay contest, but they've proved to resonate with WeScreenplay's judges, so don't hesitate to submit your horror script to WISC 16. Enough blog reading, get back to writing the next most profitable movie ever.