"If Superman had done twice what it did, the whole summer would have looked different," said Mr. Robinov. "It's as much about perception as reality. Even with the failure of a movie like 'Poseidon,' we've had much smaller movies we've lost as much on."
Mr. Horn agreed. "I've seen movies that cost $15 million lose as much as $20 million," he said. "But when event movies don't perform well, it is very high profile."
It's a point well-taken, for any hack studio exec can easily fritter away tens of millions of dollars promoting the megabudgeted revival of a supposedly-can't-miss superhero franchise like Superman, but it takes a true visionary to select just the right $15 million labor of love on which to suffer an eight-figure loss.