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Eliezer,

"This is all trending into a completely different topic, namely agent failures and market failures in Hollywood. Movies routinely fail to make money due to lousy scripts, but this doesn't cause Hollywood to routinely pay more for better scripts."

Your analysis here is completely off. It is probably true what you say about locks in distribution and taste, but that is somewhat irrelevant, or at least not causing the continued use of bad scripts.

The real reason is that the market is working perfectly; it's just that it is and always will be more economically efficient to get and use bad scripts than to use good ones. First, people see movies in droves whether the scripts are good or bad. I'd even go so far as to posit that script quality has close to zero effect on sales assuming other elements ("buzz", marketing, star-power, etc) are present. Studios can and have countless times made terrible movies that feature some big names and had a marketing juggernaut behind them and been ridiculously successful. So one premise from you analysis, that script quality has any correlation to box office success, is flawed.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, bad scripts are cheaper and easier to get. There are far more terrible writers than good ones, and far more bad scripts than good. It's easier, then, to get bad scripts, and since it doesn't seem to matter what kind of script you use, why wait around for brilliant scripts? Just put your money into actors and CG and marketing and you'll likely make money anyway, and those variables are much easier to control than script quality.