UPDATE: So here’s what happened and why both sides are accurate. Warner Bros’ Greg Silverman, who’s in charge of the film development budget, told his group that he wanted to focus on specs rather than pitches and hiring new writers for the end of the year. The issue isn’t money because the studio has plenty of dough. So, to clarify, the studio is sill hiring writers and buying pitches but that’s not where Silverman wants the emphasis to be right now.
Agents today are complaining to me that Warner Bros isn’t going to hire screenwriters to embark on new projects for the rest of the year. “Warner Bros is saying it won’t hear pitches or buy specs until after January 1st unless it’s something close to greenlight. So writers are out of luck until then,” one top tenpercenter passed along which other reps confirmed. Interesting, because Warner Bros lately has been a very aggressive buyer of material and hirer of scribes. On the surface, this sounds like the usual, we’re out of money so we need to get re-funded in the new fiscal year problem many studios (Sony Pictures) suffer annually. But Warner Bros tells me, “Not true. We have money and are actively buying.” I love controversy.