Today’s Variety reports that the makers of Final Draft have bought Script magazine and some related assets from Forum Publishing.

The deal probably makes sense for Final Draft. Rather than buy a big ad every month, why not just buy the whole magazine? Plus, Final Draft probably has a huge mailing list from its software registrations, which can help boost the circulation numbers.

Final Draft boss Marc Madnick is planning to redesign and relaunch Script in January. Given his company’s past record of upgrades — Final Draft 7.0, anyone? — here’s what I’d expect:

  • It will actually ship in 2008.
  • The staples will be in the wrong place.
  • An errant font will crash the magazine.
  • When you flip a page, the text will get jaggy.
  • Each issue can only be “installed” three times.

Can’t wait. Also…

Madnick said Final Draft is on track to sell about 35,000 software licenses this year.

That’s a lot of aspiring screenwriters. It also makes me wonder about the economics of screenwriting applications.

Final Draft’s list price is $229, but you can get it from Amazon for $169. Since we don’t know what percentage of their sales come from their own site and elsewhere, I’m going to pick $150 as their per-copy profit. That’s an arbitrary number, but it’s round, and we’re only looking for ballpark figures here.

35,000 x $150 = $5,250,000

Suffice to say, Microsoft won’t be going into the screenwriting software business. But for a lot of smaller software makers, that’s probably good money. Final Draft charges for tech support, so that’s not a big cost, and with online distribution, inventory costs are minimal. There’s certainly room for competing products.

But you won’t be reading about them in Script magazine.