Now that the summer is winding down and Hollywood is mostly through with its seasonal humping of the moviegoing public, it's time to take stock of which studios delivered blockbuster, headboard-splitting orgasms, and which ones sheepishly rolled over, muttering excuses about their performance problems. Today's LAT reminds us that last year's rock-hard stud can be this year's flaccid also-ran, making Warner Bros. chief Alan Horn answer for bonafide flops Poseidon, ATL, The Ant Bully, Misunderstood Visionary M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water and the disappointment-by-about-nine-figures that was Superman Returns. Explains Horn, admirably refraining from blaming too much whiskey for the studio's unsatisfying run:
Horn expects "Superman Returns" to eventually gross about $400 million worldwide, more than last year's hit "Batman Begins." Nonetheless, "Superman" fell at least $100 million short of his expectations.
"I thought it was a very successful movie, but I think it should have done $500 million worldwide," Horn said. "We should have had perhaps a little more action to satisfy the young male crowd."
Still, he's betting Warner has firmly reestablished the "Superman" franchise and is planning another installment for summer 2009.
Horn is more blunt about his disappointment with "Poseidon," a movie that critics skewered and audiences avoided. Warner and its financial partners sank $160 million into the remake about a capsized cruise ship, figuring that arming "The Perfect Storm" director Wolfgang Petersen with today's state-of-the-art special effects would wow moviegoers.
Then, Horn said, "I heard a 15-year-old girl say, 'I've seen a luxury liner go down. I saw 'Titanic.' " [...]
"I thought [Lady in the Water] was a good bet," Horn said. "Night Shyamalan is extremely talented, and my respect, affection and commitment to him is unchanged."
While somewhat chastened by the box office results of this season's bomb-riddled slate of releases, Horn stressed his resolve to make this year's choices make work in the future. Combining his internalization of the words of that unimpressed 15-year-old girl with his unshakeable confidence in the creative force behind Lady, he announced his early plans to give Shyamalan a $500 million budget for a 2009 Superman sequel in which the Man of Steel travels back through time to stop Lex Luthor's father from sinking the legendary ocean liner, a movie experience Horn assured would be "so action-packed that everyone will forget that Superman is gay."