When asked which elements sell projects to him, Ron Howard answered:
2. The dilemma of the protagonist
3. The context of the story
No mention of plot in his top three. He used to bear in mind which audiences might like a film. He says that he’s less worried about that now.
Have a listen to his 110 minute podcast on the USC website. He talks a lot about collaboration with agents and studio executives as well as with writers and crew members. He also answers questions on how he works with actors, cinematographers, editors and composers. Check it out!