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Sample Screenplay Option Contract

The following is a contract I used.  This is meant to be used as an example only.

Title of screenplay



This letter, when signed and dated by you, ________________, and returned by mail to me, _________________, will confirm the agreement between you and I regarding any and all motion picture, television, broadcast, home video, remake, sequel, CD-Rom and all other computer-assisted forms of media, merchandising, allied, subsidiary and ancillary rights now known or hereafter invented throughout the universe and in any and all languages (exclusive of book publishing) to the screenplay written by you called _____________________________.


In return for $______, development services and other valuable consideration, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, you hereby grant me the exclusive option to purchase the Rights to the screenplay for an exclusive period of ___ months from the date of my receipt of this signed contract.  It is also agreed that the option may be automatically extended without any additional consideration at the end of ___ months for an additional ___ days by giving notice if there are negotiations with a buyer in order to conclude negotiations.  The option may be extended on the same terms for an additional ___ months upon mutual written consent.

If the property is set up with a production company, the option may be automatically extended for a period of ___ months upon notice and payment to you of $_________.  Thereafter, the option may be extended for an additional ___ months upon notice and payment to you of $_______.


1.  Theatrical Motion Picture

If the initial release is a theatrical motion picture, the purchase price is __% of the "direct approved budget" (i.e. excluding legal, interest, contingency, overhead, and completion guarantees) with a floor of $__________ and a ceiling of $___________.

2.  Television Movie

Network:  If the initial release is a television movie for a U.S. network (ABC, CBS, NBC, FBN) the purchase price is $___________.

Cable:  If the initial release is a television movie for a cable or non-network broadcast, the purchase price is $______________.

3.  Sequels, Prequels, Spinoffs

50% of original.

4.  Remakes

33 1/3% of original

5.  Television series

For a U.S. broadcast network (ABC, NBC, CBS, FBN) prime time series, payments will be $_______ per produced episode of up to 30 minutes; $________ per produced episode up to 60 minutes; $___________ over 60 minutes.

For a series on any other broadcast or cable entity, payments will be $_______ up to 30 minutes; $_________ up to 60 minutes; $_________ over 60 minutes.


And additional writing services shall be paid according to appropriate WGA minimums.


___% of 100% of net profits from all sources to ____________(Production Company.)

You warrant that you, ____________, have (a_ exclusive 100% ownership of the Rights free and clear of any claim, right, adverse interest or encumbrance and (b) the authority and unencumbered right to enter into this Agreement and grant the Rights to me.

Until such time as we execute a more detailed document incorporating these and other provisions standard for such agreements in the entertainment industry, this will constitute an agreement binding on ____________ and ____________ and their respective successors, assigns, heirs, and legal representatives.  ____________ (Producer) shall consult with you or your representative regarding the assignment of the Agreement but shall have at her sole discretion the right to assign this Agreement or any of her rights hereunder, but no such assignment shall relieve her of her obligations hereunder unless the assignee assumes all such obligations in writing.

This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding between us with respect to the subject matter hereof and no modification of this Agreement shall be effective unless it is in writing executed by us both.  Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to create or constitute a partnership between or joint venture by us.  This Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of _________ applicable to contracts negotiated, executed, and to be wholly performed within said state.  Reference to _______________(producer) shall include ________________(production company) and conversely.










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