Brian Grazer Regrets Producing Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

Brian Grazer has been producing television programs and feature films for over a quarter-of-a-century. In that time, he has produced a lot of gems, but he also admits to having "a lot of mulligans" as well. One such mulligan would be the 2011 sci-fi/western mashup Cowboys & Aliens.

"I agreed to be part of a movie called Cowboys & Aliens," Grazer said at the Aspen Ideas Festival while promoting his new book A Curious Mind. "I don't like cowboys, or aliens! But there were a lot of superstars involved with it—Ron Howard; Steven Spielberg; the director of Iron Man, Jon Favreau. I remember having this one meeting, an early meeting, and they're talking about the title, Cowboys and Aliens. I said, 'We aren't really calling it that, are we?' [The others said] 'Yeah, of course we are!' I was going, I don't get this at all.

"Every once in a while I rationalize quality," he added. "There are so many decision you make, and you're trying to do excellence. We know what excellence is. We know what better food is versus not good food. But there's a rationalizing process—that's good enough. Anytime the light bulb goes, that's good enough, it's sh***y!"

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The film was based onthe 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. It cost $163M to produce the film--minus marketing costs--and grossed $174M at the worldwide box office.

Bearing a mysterious metal shackle on his wrist, an amnesiac gunslinger (Daniel Craig) wanders into a frontier town called Absolution. He quickly finds that strangers are unwelcome, and no one does anything without the approval of tyrannical Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). But when Absolution faces a threat from beyond Earth, the stranger finds that he is its only hope of salvation. He unites townspeople, outlaws and Apache warriors against the alien forces in an epic battle for survival.