The Easiest Genres to Sell

There are genres that are much easier to sell than others. Below is a list of genres that are divided into three tiers.

by Steve Kaire

The easiest genres to sell are in Tier 1. More difficult genres are included in Tier 2. And the most difficult genres are in Tier 3. Writers can improve the chances of selling their scripts if they choose Tier 1 genres. Examples of recent films are given in each genre. Some films fall into more than one genre category.

Tier 1 Genres:

1. ACTION – Action films are the easiest to sell because they are popular in foreign markets since they are not dialogue driven. Examples: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Fast and the Furious 3,” “G.I. Joe,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Transformers,” “Live Free and Die Hard.”

2. ADVENTURE – “Land of the Lost,” “Up,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.”

3. THRILLER: Also known as suspense films. “Angels and Demons,” “Whiteout,” “Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3,” “Michael Clayton,” “88 Minutes,” “Disturbia.”

4. COMEDY & ROMANTIC COMEDY – “The Proposal,” “The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” “He’s Time for Action Clock To Inspire And MotivateJust Not in To You,” “Yes Man,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

5. CRIME – “RocknRolla,” “In Bruges,” “The Bank Job,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “The Lookout,” “Flashpoint,” “American Gangster.”

Tier 2 Genres:

6. HORROR – “The Happening,” “Quarantine,” “Saw V,” “The Collector,” “Last House on the Left.”

7. FANTASY – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Twilight,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” “Hellboy II: The Golden Army,” “The Golden Compass.”

8. SCIENCE FICTION – “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man,” “Fantasy Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “I am Legend,” “Spider-Man 3.”

Tier 3 Genres:

9. DRAMA – “21,” “Milk,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Atonement,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Sunshine Cleaning.”

10. MUSICALS – “ Fame,” “Mama Mia!,” “High School Musical 3: Senior Year,” “Cadillac Records.”

11. WESTERNS – “3:10 to Yuma,” “Appaloosa,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

12. PERIOD – “Sense and Sensibility,” “Across the Universe,” “ Becoming Jane,” “The Patriot,” “Jane Eyre.”

– Steve Kaire


SteveKaireSteve Kaire is a Screenwriter/Pitchman who’s sold 8 projects to the major studios without representation. The last project he sold, he’s Co-Producing for Walden Media. A screenwriter for over 30 years, he holds a Masters in Dramatic Writing and has taught writing classes at the American Film Institute.

Steve was featured on the Tonight Show’s, “Pitching to America” and was voted a Star Speaker at Screenwriters Expo three years in a row. His top rated CD, “High Concept – How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood” is a best seller. You can find his website here.

1 thought on “The Easiest Genres to Sell”

  1. Not meaning to devalue Steve Kaire’s categorisations here, but it is worth pointing out a couple of practical complications here that are relevant to beginners of the craft:

    For beginner screenwriters, you need to be mindful of the following:

    1) There is little point in writing and submitting a screenplay from an already-existing franchise (eg Fantastic Four, your version of Star Wars ep 8, even Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3) as you will not have the movie rights for these. And producers and production execs in LA will invariably ask if you do have the movie rights very early in the pitch process.

    2) While writing an original action flick on spec is a good idea, you need to be mindful of the scale of production budget that you can realistically marry with. If your script requires a platoon of US Marines with attendant helicopters and armoured vehicles, then you’re probably writing above your industry cred level (at least for now). Ditto if your script involves regular 10-car pile ups, heavy CGI war robots, etc.

    For beginner directors, themselves, there is an additional consideration:

    Your first funded feature – even if its funded with LA private dollars – would most likely have to be of the comedy, horror, drama, or contained-scope action genres. Which, clearly, is going to practically impact on your scriptwriting choices.

    I am not saying Steve Kaire is “wrong” here. Only that there are additional, very practical, complications to add to his essay here.


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