Spec one of highest-priced in recent years

DreamWorks — in a deal handled personally by co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg — has perked up the dry spec market with a guaranteed $3 million preemptive purchase of Dale Launer’s horror spec “Bad Dog.”

The price is one of the highest for a spec in recent years. It falls short of Shane Black’s $4 million for “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” but it equals the $3 million M. Night Shyamalan earned recently from Disney for “The Sixth Sense.”

The sale also was significant for “My Cousin Vinny” scripter Launer as his first agent-brokered deal, with Jim Lefkowitz of CAA. Launer usually reps himself in the negotiations. The scribe couldn’t be reached for comment about why he made the switch to a percentery. Launer also is attached to produce the pic, described as a werewolf-comic-horror-thriller.

DreamWorks nabbed the spec Friday with Katzenberg and Spielberg handling negotiations. DreamWorks production topper Walter Parkes was in a screening and new prexy of production Robert Cooper was out of town. So, responding to a time-sensitive offer from CAA, Spielberg and Katzenberg jumped into the fray with Launer and CAA.

Launer’s other feature credits include “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Ruthless People.”

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