“Action, Sex, Violence, Hollywood Zen”

To write a box office hit screenplay, you
should do some research first before you
decide to write a screenplay. Passion for
your subject matter plays an integral role
in the writing of your screenplay, but
common sense dictates that you put certain
elements in your screenplay if you want to
sell and get your screenplay produced.
Otherwise, it will be an exercise in futility
as far as getting optioned, selling and/or
getting produced.

If you research the kinds of genres that
have been the largest Hollywood box office
hits, you will see that action,
violence and sex, however subtle these
elements may be in these films, dominate
the box office.

According to FilmSite.org’s listing, the all-time
greatest box office hits are:

1. “Gone With the Wind” (1939)
2. “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977)
3. “The Sound of Music” (1965)
4. “E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982)
5. “The Ten Commandments” (1956)
6. “Titanic” (1997)
7. “Jaws” (1975)
8. “Doctor Zhivago” (1965)
9. “The Exorcist” (1973)
10. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)
11. “101 Dalmatians” (1961)
12. “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980)
13. “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1959)
14. “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” (1983)
15. “The Sting” (1973)
16. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
17. “Jurassic Park” (1993)
18. “The Graduate” (1967)
19. “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999)
20. “Fantasia” (1940)
21. “The Godfather” (1972)
22. “Forrest Gump” (1994)
23. “Mary Poppins” (1964)
24. “The Lion King” (1994)
25. “Grease” (1978)
26. “Thunderball” (1965)
27. “The Jungle Book” (1967)
28. “Sleeping Beauty” (1959)
29. “Shrek 2” (2004)
30. “Ghostbusters” (1984)
31. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
32. “Love Story” (1970)
33. “Spider-Man” (2002)
34. “Independence Day” (1996)
35. “Home Alone” (1990)
36. “Pinocchio” (1940)
37. “Cleopatra” (1963)
38. “Beverly Hills Cop” (1984)
39. “Goldfinger” (1964)
40. “Airport” (1970)
41. “American Graffiti” (1973)
42. “The Robe” (1953)
43. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006)
44. “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956)
45. “Bambi” (1942)
46. “Blazing Saddles” (1974)
47. “Batman” (1989)
48. “The Bells of St. Mary’s” (1945)
49. “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)
50. “The Towering Inferno” (1974)
51. “Spider-Man 2” (2004)
52. “My Fair Lady” (1964)
53. “The Greatest Show on Earth” (1952)
54. “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978)
55. “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
56. “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”(2005)
57. “Back to the Future” (1985)
58. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002)
59. “The Sixth Sense” (1999)
60. Superman (1978)
61. Tootsie (1982)
62. “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977)
63. “Finding Nemo” (2003)
64. “West Side Story” (1961)
65. “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001)
66. “Lady and the Tramp” (1955)
67. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977/1980)
68. “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)
69. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)
70. “Rocky” (1976)
71. “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946)
72. “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972)
73. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
74. “Twister” (1996)
75. “Men in Black” (1997)
76. “The Bridge On The River Kwai” (1957)
77. “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963)
78. “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960)
79. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)
80. “M*A*S*H” (1970)
81. “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)
82. “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” (2002)
83. “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)
84. “Aladdin” (1992)
85. “Ghost” (1990)
86. “Duel in the Sun” (1946)
87. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
88. “House of Wax” (1953)
89. “Rear Window” (1954)
90. “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997)
91. “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)
92. “Spider-Man 3” (2007)
93. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
94. “Sergeant York” (1941)
95. “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)
96. “Toy Story 2” (1999)
97. “Top Gun” (1986)
98. “Shrek” (2001)
99. “Shrek the Third” (2007)
100. “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003)

Examine each one of these films for sex,
action, and violence. They are present.
Locate these elements in each film.
Utilize what you discover for your own
screenplay and you will enhance your
chances for success. Otherwise, find
another job, or write simply for the
sheer pleasure of writing.

It’s that basic.

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.netsbox o