Producer Regrets "That's Good Enough" Attitude on Cowboys & Aliens

Illustration for article titled Producer Regrets "That's Good Enough" Attitude on Cowboys & Aliens

You’d like to think people spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a movie would care. Lots of times they do. However, on some movies studios think “That’s good enough” and producer Brian Grazer regrets that sentiment on the 2011 film Cowboys and Aliens.


Grazer, the legendary producer behind films and shows like Real Genius, Backdraft, Ransom, A Beautiful Mind, 8 Mile, 24 and Friday Night Lights just to name a few, recently talked to The Atlantic about one of his biggest regrets. It was coming onto the 2011 film which had an absolutely amazing amount of talent behind it.

I agreed to be part of a movie called Cowboys & Aliens. I don’t like cowboys, or aliens! But there were a lot of superstars involved with it—Ron Howard; Steven Spielberg; the director of Iron Man, Jon Favreau. I remember having this one meeting, an early meeting, and they’re talking about the title, Cowboys and Aliens. I said, ‘We aren’t really calling it that, are we?’ [The others said] ‘Yeah, of course we are!’ I was going, ‘I don’t get this at all.’

The film, which starred Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde, cost over $150 million and grossed only $100 million at the domestic box office, along with a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s considered a disappointment. Grazer continues:

Every once in a while I rationalize quality. There are so many decisions you make, and you’re trying to do excellence. We know what excellence is. We know what better food is versus not good food. But there’s a rationalizing process—‘That’s good enough.’ Anytime the light bulb goes, ‘That’s good enough,’ it’s shitty!

Hopefully that’s not Grazer’s attitude on his upcoming films. He’s currently got at least a half a dozen in various stages of production including two from long-time collaborator, director Ron Howard. Either way, it’s refreshing to hear someone as powerful as Grazer admit a mistake and own up to cutting corners.

[The Atlantic]



Maybe another take-home for he and any other producer, writer, or director out there should be this: If you don't like any of the source material, maybe you should pass on the project to let somebody who gives a damn take it, that way you're way less inclined to half-ass things right from the start.