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Real talk from Ron Meyer (pictured right), the president and COO of Universal Studios: "[A critical hit is] great when it happens. But we did 'A Beautiful Mind,' and I don't know that we'd do 'A Beautiful Mind' again. That's the sad part. It's great to win awards and make films that you're proud of and make money, but your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do." You mean the movie industry is actually a business? Quelle horreur!
Meyer was speaking at the Savannah Film Festival in Georgia on Wedensday, and as Movieline's Jen Yamato reports, he was in quite a chatty mood. As president of Universal, Meyer has released his fair share of bad movies, and he was only happy to admit which high profile ones he considered really bad.
"We make a lot of shitty movies," Meyer said. "Every one of them breaks my heart. We set out to make good ones. One of the worst movies we ever made was 'Wolfman.' 'Wolfman' and 'Babe 2' are two of the shittiest movies we put out, but by the same token we made movies we believe in. We did 'United 93,' which is one of the movies I'm most proud of. It wasn't a big moneymaker, but it's a film I believe every American should see and it showed you what people can do in the worst of times and how great the human spirit is and all that, so there are moments that can make up for all the junk that you make."
When Yamato pressed Meyer to get into specifics about some recent Universal flops like 'Land of the Lost' and 'Cowboys & Aliens,' he was only happy to continue his earth-scorching.
"'Cowboys & Aliens' wasn't good enough. Forget all the smart people involved in it, it wasn't good enough," Meyer said, apparently "without pause." "All those little creatures bouncing around were crappy. I think it was a mediocre movie, and we all did a mediocre job with it. 'Land of the Lost' was just crap. I mean, there was no excuse for it. The best intentions all went wrong."
He continued: "'Cowboys & Aliens' was a big loss, and 'Land of the Lost' was a huge loss. We misfired. We were wrong. We did it badly, and I think we're all guilty of it. I have to take first responsibility because I'm part of it, but we all did a mediocre job and we paid the price for it. It happens. They're talented people. Certainly you couldn't have more talented people involved in 'Cowboys & Aliens,' but it took, you know, ten smart and talented people to come up with a mediocre movie. It just happens."
The rest of Meyer's chat is just as eye-opening (he doesn't mince words when discussing Benicio Del Toro's performance in 'Wolfman'). Head over to Movieline for the full rundown. It'll be well worth your time.
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