The objects and materials of film productions are common material in auctions. Fans of classic (and not-so-classic) films and movies pay thousands or tens of thousands (or more) to get hold of actual recording products.
Costumes, props, official posters or prototypes… All kinds of objects have been seen in auction houses, and dashes originals, for their sentimental value but also importance (the cornerstone of every movie) are also the most sought after objects.
You are going to freak out with the amounts that some collectors have paid for auctioned scripts…
WRITERS STRIKE in Hollywood – Why does it happen, what are they demanding and how does it affect you?
Gone with the Wind – $244,500
David O. Selznickproducer of Gone with the Wind, the highest-grossing film of all time adjusting for inflation, gifted key cast and crew members, as well as a few friends, copies of the film’s final script, bound and personally dedicated.
Many of these gifts (whose recipients have already died) passed through hands and many have ended up at auction. One of them, the one dedicated to Clark Gable, was sold in 1996 for $244,500.
The script was signed by Selznick: “To Clark, who made the dream of 50 million Americans and one producer come true. With gratitude for an outstanding performance and happy association, David, Christmas, 1939.”
Many of Selznick’s signed scripts, including Vivian Leigh’s, have been auctioned. But Gable’s had an unexpected buyer.
Who was the one who paid such an amount for the script? Nothing less than Steven Spielberg! The director, at the peak of his career after the Oscar for Schindler’s List and the success of Jurassic Park, pushed big, because also bought Gable’s Oscar won in 1934 for much more: $607,500.
And what did he do with the Oscar? She donated it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “The statuette is the most personal recognition of good work, and it seems to me a bad sign of our times that this icon can be confused with a commercial treasure.”
The Godfather – $625,000
The $625,000 they paid at Boston’s RR Auction was not just for the script for Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, but for a whole shipment of material that belonged to Mario Puzothe author of the novel that gave rise to the trilogy, and who died in 1999.
Among all this was a 744-page draft of the novel, storyboards, thousands of documents such as notes sent to him by Paramount, and nine (partial) copies of the script, with Puzo’s handwritten notes (including the famous line “I’ll give you a offer you can’t refuse”).
Breakfast at Diamonds – $846,619
the script of Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) that was auctioned by Christie’s in 2017 set a record for the Highest amount paid for a script: $846,619.
It is a jewel for those who are passionate about Audrey Hepburnsince it was part of his personal collection: the script was the one used in the filming, and it has scenes that were deleted and his own handwritten notes.
At that auction, in London, other personal belongings of the actress were also auctioned, from clothes to jewelry, for a total value of 6,202,299 million dollars. Among them, a gold bracelet that Spielberg gave Hepburn in the 1980s, with an inscription.
Another screenplay by Hepburn, by My Fair Ladywas sold for $275,962.
Citizen Kane – $164,797
Citizen Kane is considered the best film in the history of cinema, and the script that Welles signed with just 25 years. It is not surprising that it is one of the most coveted objects by collectors… and it regularly appears at auction, with prices that, of course, vary from the highest bidder.
In 2013, for example, a copy of the final script was sold at Bonham por 35,000 dollars. A year later, a draft of the script reached $164,797 en Sotheby.
What is this price dance due to? There are many factors to consider, such as versions of the script (drafts, first version, final script), and particularly whether you have annotations in the handwriting of Orson Welles or co-writer Herman Mankiewicz.
For example, in 2015, the auction house Profiles in History sold three scripts: a first draft, when the film was called Americansold for $32,000 (written solely by Mankiewicz).
A second version sold for 25,600, but the final version of the script (the shooting script used in filming) sold for $44,900by including notes from Welles and signatures from the main cast members.
To Kill a Mockingbird – $126,562
If you want to get hold of one of these classic Hollywood scripts signed by stars, you recently had an opportunity: Heritage Auctions auctioned almost 250 objects from the personal collection of Gregory Peck and his wife, and among them there were many hyphens.
The auction took place on February 23, 2023, and bound scripts from Cape Fear, Spellbound, Duel in the Sun, and of course Kill a Mockingbirdthe film for which Peck won an Oscar in 1963.
The final price this script sold for (which includes stills from the film) is unknown, but you can currently bid on it and make an offer to its new owner on the Heritage Auctions website starting at $126,562. Compared to the others, how cheap, right?
Pulp Fiction – $1.1 million (for one NFT)
Welcome to the future? Quentin Tarantino had the idea of joining the NFT fever, in 2021, releasing the scripts for seven scenes from Pulp Fiction, accompanied by Tarantino audio commentary never heard before, and could legitimately only be heard by those who bought this NFT.
We are talking about scenes from the script, not the entire script. Do you want to know how much they paid for them? $1.1 million, for the NFT of a single scene, the “Cheese Royale”. Much more so than any of the entire (and tangible) scripts we’ve seen before.
And the rest? They were never sold, due to “extreme market volatility.” An issue that even led Miramax to sue Tarantino for taking advantage of his copyright, although they eventually reached an agreement. Was it worth it?