Fox Boss Forgets Own 'Sci-fi Isn't Funny' Rule in Greenlighting 'Meet Dave'

Patrick Goldstein is getting kind of good at this blogging thing! After a busy week tipping the world off to the wit and wisdom of censor nonpareil Joan Graves and catching Alan Horn sharpening his ax for Where the Wild Things Are, he spent Monday afternoon taking on the Eddie Murphy Problem. "Murphy has pulled off an almost unprecedented achievement with Meet Dave," Goldstein notes. "He's delivered a movie that even 20th Century Fox couldn't market."

We've already elaborated on why we think this is, but Fox chieftain/upwardly mobile TV host Tom Rothman unwittingly proffered his own opinion on the matter last year in a chat with Goldstein:

Fox's reluctance to promote the film's sci-fi nature is actually in keeping with studio Co-Chairman Tom Rothman's long-held belief that sci-fi films and films set in the future are box-office poison. In 2006, the studio had Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey and filmmaker Jay Roach all signed up to do a big comedy called Used Guys, but got cold feet, killing the project.

Why? Rothman thought it was too expensive. But more important, the studio chief was worried about the subject matter—it was a sci-fi comedy about men living in a women-ruled world. Not long after the project was axed, when I was having lunch with Rothman, I asked him why he was so adamant about dumping the film. He threw a question right back at me. "Can you name one sci-fi comedy that's ever made any money?" When I couldn't come up with an answer, he said, triumphantly: "See!" (I was halfway home before I thought of the perfect comeback: Men in Black.)

First of all: Tom. Seriously. When are you going to invite us to lunch? We know you probably didn't see the whole "Goldstein blogs" thing coming either, but still. What's your Friday look like? Second: Actually, we have no second. Have we mentioned that nobody cares about Eddie Murphy? Sucks for Paramount, as Goldstein mentions, which has two Murphy vehicles (A Thousand Words and NowhereLand) on the way this fall. Alas, we don't make the rules. But we can make the reservations — call us, Tom!