The Black List 2023: Travis Braun’s ‘Bad Boy’ Leads List Of Year’s Most-Liked Hollywood Screenplays

Travis Braun’s screenplay Bad Boy, which follows a rescue dog who suspects that his loving new owner is a serial killer, topped the 2023 Black List today. The 19th edition, which was selected by more than 375 film executives, counts 76 feature screenplays by 80 writers.

Second place went to Justin Piasecki’s Stakehorse which follows a racetrack veterinarian who runs an off-the-books ER for criminals, and finds his practice and life in jeopardy when he’s recruited for his patient’s heist.

“This year, the industry was defined by a debate about the value of writers within it, and I think it’s inevitable that this year’s Black List means more than it has in the past,” said its founder Franklin Leonard. “I’ve been saying that writing is the lifeblood of the industry for almost twenty years now, and I’ll continue saying it until the industry actually starts acting like it. Now that the strikes are over, I look forward to these and other great scripts getting made so I can watch them as an audience member myself.”

Among The Black List alums on this year’s list are Sam Boyer (Foragers) who was selected in 2020 for Cape List, which highlights scripts centered on diverse Asian and Pacific Islander characters and experiences from writers from Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Foragers is his first annual Black List script. Arun Croll was also selected for the 2020 Cape List with this year’s The Light at the End his first annual Black List script. Filipe Coutinho (Patsy) is an alumnus of the 2020 Black List Annual Lab for feature writers. Patsy, the unfiltered story about country music legend Patsy Cline, reps Coutinho’s third script on the annual Black List following 2022’s Jambusters and 2021’s Whittier, co-written with Ben Mehlman. Hunter Toro is an alumna of the 2020-2021 Black List/WIF Episodic Lab. Boy Falls From Sky, based on the true story about the calamitous Broadway musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, is her first annual Black List script.

Even more intriguing true-life inspired stories abound, i.e. Chris Parizo’s Kazan about the rocky relationship between Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan, and the works yielded between them following Kazan naming names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. There’s also a satirical screenplay about Tom Hanks in Kirill Baru and Eric Zimmerman’s The Great Pretender. Jackson Kellard’s Didier follows international soccer icon Didier Drogba and his efforts to end a bloody civil war in his home country of Ivory Coast; not just with the skill of his feet, but also with the power of his voice.

Kellard has a second based-on-a-true story script this year on The Black List: What’s My Age Again about Kansas teenager Jack Bergeson’s meteoric rise and fall after he discovered a loophole in the state’s constitution that allowed him to run for governor, inciting a statewide youth movement that changed politics forever.

Other true-life stories include Jake Disch’s The Adults in the Room, Henry Oscar Thaler’s Dickens vs. Andersen, Daniel Persitz’s Immune, Ozzy Inguanzo’s Our Man in Miami, Ryan Hoang Williams’ Personal Best, Andrew Ferguson’s The Profit, andSarah E Sinclair’s The Stratford Wife.

A 2019 Harvard Business School study found that “Black-Listed scripts were twice as likely to be made into films, with 30 percent of them produced, compared to 15 percent of non-listed scripts. What’s more, [Black Listed scripts] also did better at theaters, with movies of the same budget generating 90 percent more revenue at the box office. These large differences remain after controlling for a large number of observable factors, including the experience of the writer, the agent, and the identity of the studio.”

Since the list’s founding in 2005, more than 440 of its selected screenplays have been produced, grossing over $30 billion in box office worldwide. Black List pics have won 54 Academy Awards from 267 nominations, including four of the last 12 Best Picture Oscars and 11 of the last 28 Best Screenplay Oscars. Notable titles previously named in the industry survey include Slumdog MillionaireArgoThe King’s Speech, SpotlightFree GuyQueen & SlimI, TonyaAll the Money in the WorldBird BoxThe Post and Roman J. Israel, Esq.

This year’s 2023 Black List:

BOXMAN by Adam Yorke:

Agency: The Characters Talent Agency

Agent: Brent Jordan Sherman

Management Company: Heroes and Villains Entertainm

Managers: Joseph Cavalier

Financier: Lionsgate

Production Company: 42, Range Media Partners

After a botched bank heist leaves nineteen people locked inside a state-of-the- art vault, the FBI recruits the world’s foremost box-man from federal prison so he can break them out before they suffocate inside.

SUNDOWN by Nick Hurwitch:

Management Company: Heroes and Villains Entertainm

Managers: Joseph Cavalier

Monsters that roam in daylight keep a small, rural family confined to a nocturnal lifestyle. But when their son starts to question the monsters’ existence, his parents must see how far they’re willing to go to keep him safe.

LAST RESORT by Laura Stoltz:

Management Company: Heroes and Villains Entertainm

Managers: Aaron Lipsett

When a grieving woman takes a trip to a posh, Icelandic resort designed to assist its guests with ending their lives, she meets people who finally force her to accept the things she cannot explain.