Ron Meyer while speaking at the Savannah Film Festival to students and members of the public at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
His personal and therefore Universal's stance on 3-D:
"I’m not a believer that every film should be 3-D,” said Meyer, acknowledging his own fiscal concern over Universal’s expensive upcoming 3-D film 47 Ronin, led by Keanu Reeves. “I think there’s a place for it; I think certain films lend themselves to it. Warner Bros. did Journey to the Center of the Earth; that movie would have never worked had it not been 3-D. The only thing that made that film palatable at all was the 3-D aspect.”
“None of us would be able to do, or afford, what Jim Cameron was able to do with Avatar,” Meyer continued. “Avatar was everything money could buy, and we can’t afford to be in that business. He spent a lot of money, he did a brilliant job… you were inside that movie, and that’s what made it work. You were surrounded by that film. I think 3-D has a limited capacity, but a capacity. I don’t think all films should be 3-D and we should be careful about falling for that.”
On the well-publicized financial disappointments Scott Pilgrim, Land of the Lost, and Cowboys & Aliens?
Movieline put the question to Meyer: Why did the aforementioned Universal event films fail?
“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.”
“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. 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 Wolfman producer Stratton Leopold, who happens to be a Savannah native, showed up to wrap the chat.
Leopold, amiably introducing himself: “I’m Stratton Leopold…”
Meyer, good naturedly: “It’s one of those movies, the moment I saw it I thought, ‘What have we all done here?’ That movie was crappy.”
Leopold: “I said the same thing before the reshoot. I said, ‘Why are we spending all of this? Let’s shoot two scenes to create some sympathy for the [hero] and that’s it,’ but…”
Meyer: “We all went wrong. It was one of those things… like I said, we make a lot of bad movies. That’s one we should have smelled out a long time ago. It was wrong. The script never got right…”
Leopold: “The cast -”
Meyer: “—was awful. The director was wrong. Benicio [del Toro] stunk. It all stunk.”
Universal Pictures (sometimes called Universal City Studios or Universal Studios for short, or just perhaps simply Universal), a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, is one of the six major movie studios in the US, as of today. It was founded in circa 1912 by Carl Buttman, although it did not take major production until about 1915.
Being nearly a century old, it is one of the oldest continuously operating film studios in the USA. On May 11, 2004, the controlling stake in the company was sold by Vivendi Universal to General Electric, parent of NBC, the godfather of news. The resulting media super-conglomerate was renamed NBC Universal, while Universal Studios Inc. remained the name of the production subsidiary. In addition to owning a sizable film library spanning the earliest decades of cinema to more contemporary works, it also owns a sizable collection of TV shows through its subsidiary NBC Universal Television Distribution. It also acquired rights to several prominent filmmakers' works originally released by other studios through its subsidiaries over the years.
Its production studios are at 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Universal City, California. Distribution and other corporate offices are in New York City. Universal Pictures is the second-longest-lived Hollywood studio; Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures is the oldest by a month