Originally Posted by SoCalScribe
If you have a copy of a contract where a screenwriter was successfully able to withhold material rights from a straight screenplay sale, I'd love to see that agreement and I'll happily admit I was wrong. I've worked in business & legal affairs in the industry for years, and I've never seen the studio give that. So I'm genuinely curious if you have some proof of your first example (i.e. a screenwriter successfully negotiating to keep material rights on his side of the table), or if you're just citing movies and don't actually have the contracts to know for sure.
I don't mean any offense by that, it's just that you're arguing pretty strongly in favor of a screenwriter - at some point in their career - being able to walk into a studio and say, "I'm going to keep these material rights to the characters, etc." and the studio agreeing to that. I have yet to see a studio agree to that, so if you have concrete evidence to the contrary, I'm happy to be proven wrong.
Isn't that exactly what happened with Star Wars? The "all drafts" clause would clearly have included the sequel rights and yet the studio agreed to let him keep those rights, either on signing the contract or later.
Lucas was the screenwriter. He kept the sequel rights, the plot of which were in early drafts of the Star Wars script.
You can argue that "It wouldn't happen now", but it clearly happened then.