Honesty is tough to come by in Hollywood -- but Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, took a real stab at it. “We make a lot of shitty movies," Meyer was quoted by Movieline as saying at a film festival in November. "Every one of them breaks my heart.”
"One of the worst movies we ever made was ‘Wolfman'," he said. "'Wolfman’ and ‘Babe 2’ are two of the shittiest movies we put out. … ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ wasn’t good enough. Forget all the smart people involved in it, it wasn’t good enough. All those little creatures bouncing around were crappy. … ‘Land of the Lost’ was just crap.”
Do you ever hear TV network executives speak this frankly? Meyer, whose studio produces TV shows -- mostly for parent NBCUniversal’s networks -- didn’t elaborate on that entertainment platform. Hmm...we wish he had.
The issue comes down to this: No one wants to hurt creatives' feelings. And then there’s the bigger issue of entertainment creative scarcity. There isn’t enough good talent go around. Though many have been looking to pare down some of their production slates, movie studios and TV companies have a big need for more entertainment.
Weirdly, Meyer came back recently to soften the blow by saying that while Hollywood makes a lot of “shitty” movies, it also makes some good ones. Not only that, but great directors, actors and writers make lot of crap (or any other word you would like to affix) and mediocre directors and writers can wind up making great stuff.
You may groan at reality-based TV stuff – or, most recently, branded entertainment stuff. We can all logically look at a bad and obvious placement of a soft drink, phone service, fast food or car insurance company and think: “Oh from a business perspective that make sense.” But from a pure emotional, quick-hit impression, much of it can suck.
Viewers don’t turn away from bad brand entertainment, or conniving “casted” reality show performers. They endure -- and they may not use Meyer's term of endearment. If bored, they can go to their smartphones or tablets.
As long as there are options, everyone will be satisfied -- even if some movies and TV shows can be shitty. And if you are an entertainment marketer or TV advertiser, that's enough.