Universal Studios head Ron Meyer is the longest-serving studio head around; he’s 67 and he’s seen it all. So when he was hanging loose at the Savannah Film Festival, he was really hanging loose, admitting that the reason a lot of Uni’s films failed at the box office was because…they stank.

“Cowboys & Aliens wasn’t good enough. Forget all the smart people involved in it, it wasn’t good enough,” Meyer said, 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,” he continued. “I mean, there was no excuse for it. The best intentions all went wrong.”

But not all box office films failed because of being crap!

“Scott Pilgrim, I think, was actually kind of a good movie. [Addressing a small section of the audience, cheering.] But none of you guys went! And you didn’t tell your friends to go! But, you know, it happens.

“Cowboys & Aliens didn’t deserve better. Land of the Lost didn’t deserve better. Scott Pilgrim did deserve better, but it just didn’t capture enough of the imaginations of people, and it was one of those things where it didn’t cost a lot so it wasn’t a big loss,” Meyer continued. “Cowboys & Aliens was a big loss, and Land of the Lost was a huge loss. We misfired. We were wrong.”

Although everyone is doubtless standing by cheering Meyers’ candor, he also says that BABE 2: PIG IN THE CITY is, along with THE WOLFMAN, “one of the shittiest moves we’ve put out,” and a lot of people would disagree with that. Maybe he got it mixed up with NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS.


  1. I didn’t think cowboys and aliens was that bad. I thought it was a lot better than Captian America. And I worked on that movie.

  2. Maybe Meyer might consider going back to the old method of developing scripts focused on characters instead of ‘high concepts’. The films he listed as disappointments all sound great as log lines with stars attached, but then, a lot of things sound great in a money ball meth induced mania. Where are the grownups? Oh, that’s right: we fired every writer over 40.

  3. “But none of you guys went! And you didn’t tell your friends to go!”

    I saw Scott Pilgrim 4 times in the theater, and harassed everyone I know to go see it. I did my part!

  4. Redd — Maybe you were too close to the subject matter. The pacing, action, acting and storyline of “Captain America” ran rings around “Cowboys and Aliens.” There was actually an odd lull about two-thirds through “Cowboys and Aliens” that had me fidgeting and looking at my watch. And the ending was generic and predictable. The box office didn’t lie: Cap had excitement and staying power; Cowboys was exciting in spots, but lacked the oomph it needed to hang around.

  5. BABE is one of my favorite movies ever. I’ll never get tired of watching that movie. BABE 2 sucked. Bedard out.

  6. “Per Roger Ebert, Babe is the Citizen Kane of talking pig movies.”

    True. But we all know how much Citizen Kane 2 sucked.

  7. I liked Cowboys & Aliens.

    The problem I see here is that they (studio, producers, etc) felt with an A list cast the movie would be out of this world. In my opinion, the premise just doesn’t work too well together. Think about it: Cowboys (wild west) vs Aliens. It just doesn’t seem to mix.

    Land of the Lost; no excuse. Movie was flat out crap.

    Scott Pilgram; couldn’t tell you. It seemed the marketing was aimed at a younger (teenage) audience. It seemed like Spy Kids.

  8. I don’t think Scott Pilgrim “deserved” better. I think it and Cowboys and Aliens are flip sides of the same Hollywood coin. Films that are intended to be big entertainment aren’t expected to be good and films that are good aren’t expected to be entertaining. So you get blockbusters where once the machine gets going, no one can stop or slow it down to point out and fix what sucks. And then you get quirky, clever flicks whose appeal is so narrowly focused it doesn’t matter how good they are.


  9. Cowboys & Aliens was stolen from Paul Power’s East Meets West concept so there was no connection to the original source material. It’s like if someone lifted your wallet & there’s photos in there. There wouldn’t be any sense of context – you wouldn’t know who they were or what that moment was about. That sums up the connection Cowboys & Aliens had to the ORIGINAL source material.
    Tad P

  10. “Cowboys & Aliens” (C&A) is crap. For one, the lead looks like he’s from Eastern Europe, not the western US. Two, the movie’s continuity is very amateurish. Too much assumption occurs and actors are too comfortable with each other when allegedly first meeting (and after hostile encounters, even!). The aliens are way overdone and complete idiots. What kind of so-called advanced species that can traverse vast distances of space, can make drone ships, yet doesn’t even have cameras or some “remote sensing” technology to augment their supposedly poor vision in the light? Give me a freakin’ break. And the woman who dies and then magically comes back to life after being burned?? Give me another freakin’ break! C&A is mediocre at best. I haven’t seen Attack the Block but it doesn’t sound much better. However, I’ll give it a shot now that I’ve heard of it in relation to the tripe that is C&A!