Marketability Cheat Sheet — What’s Hot and What’s Not?

Representatives want marketable scripts. It makes their jobs a lot easier. So, if you tell a rep that you’re only interested in writing period pieces set in medieval Europe, the meeting is probably not going to go well.




(You can find Part One of this series right here.)


Below we rate the marketability of film genres from 1 – 10, with 10 being the most marketable. Please note, it’s April 2024. If you read this a year from now, things might have changed. If you read this five years from now, things will definitely have changed.

Our ratings are based on many years of interviewing agents, managers and producers as well as studying the biz. If your favorite genres to write score poorly, don’t fret – there’s always a way to bring what you like to do into a more contemporary idiom. Look no further than “Austenland” for a great example.


Action – 7. Not as popular as they once were but can still get read. The heyday of action was really the ’90s and early aughts for theatrical. However, especially as of late, Netflix has been making a whole slew of them.

Thriller – 9. Always solid. This is really an evergreen genre. (Also one that can often be made on a budget.) Especially if you manage to bring something new to the table, you can make a splash.

Romantic comedy – 7. The best example of the cyclical nature of this business. Romantic comedies were all over the movie theaters in the ’80s and ’90s and made superstars out of Meg Ryan and Renee Zellweger. They fell out of favor for a long time, but they are getting made again now (albeit often for lower budgets).

Broad comedy – 4. The cultural landscape has changed. And Hollywood is striving for sensitivity these days. Of course, comedy often hinges on being inappropriate (which is where the humor comes in). In the current cultural climate of woke Hollywood, comedy can be a tough sell, and broad or physical comedy especially. However, it appears that the pendulum may have begun to slowly swing the other way again.

Character-based comedy – 5. Still tough, but closer to what the industry and actors seek.

Bromance Comedy – 3. Another sub-genre that used to be all over the place. But (currently) its day is over.

Black Comedy – 3. Even harder than regular comedy.

Female-centric Comedy – 5. Again, comedies are tough, but a female-centric spin could get attention. It had a real moment some years back with BRIDESMAIDS but then fizzled with the all-female GHOSTBUSTERS.

Teen Drama – 5. Teens are not movie stars, and without source material, it’s a tough ask. The only way forward would be the lower budget/streaming angle. Preferably utilizing stars from a successful streaming show. 

Superhero – 1. DOA if original/not based on existing IP. (And if you’re planning on using existing IP, YOU NEED TO HAVE THE RIGHTS. We shouldn’t have to say that, yet, we do.)

Sci-fi – 7 for contained (with a clever twist); 3 for big-budget.

Political thriller – 5. Thrillers are great but the political element may scare off some producers

Supernatural thriller/horror – 10. In demand.

Slasher – 5. Mostly lower budget only, although films like Terrifier and X are changing that.

Period Drama/Costume Drama – 1. Unless it is driven by a huge name. These are expensive and a hard genre to get interest in.

Fantasy – 1. As bad as period drama, with the added twist of an even higher budget. Again, this is assuming the material is not based on existing, successful IP. 

Adventure – 6. Often cast and subject-dependent.

Coming of Age – 3. Tough sell unless there’s either a unique twist or POV present.

Social Issues-Themed Drama – 6. Definitely execution-dependent. Industry admires these. Getting a name attached is often key. 

Quirky/Esoteric/Out There David Lynch/Terry Gilliam-esque piece – 0. Yeah, we said 1 is the lowest, but let’s be realistic.

Spy – 2. Unless a super fresh and authentic take.

Cop – 3. Cops are the purview of TV, but can work for features if it’s gritty and real and brings something new to the table.

Legal Thriller – features 0. They only happen as features when adapted from hit books. But even then, it would probably end up on TV as a limited series. Legal Thrillers for TV: 8

Biopic – 5. If it’s a known subject; 1 if not.

Western – 3. Not impossible; some producers love them; but not in demand as specs.

Animation/Kids’ movie – 3. These do not generally originate as specs but are usually developed in-house at animation studios.

Christmas movie – 6. Way too many of these out there and they’re usually a bit treacly or cliche. But a fresh take could get attention.

Family – 5. Could work with the right stars and the right concept especially if it’s truly four quadrant.


If you have a great script that falls into the marketability somewhere between 0 and 1 category, don’t despair. Everything that’s old will be new again. Also, once you make it big, you can get things made even if they’re not the most marketable. These ratings are for you and I, not for the big guns who can do whatever they want.

Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.