It's rare these days to see a big-studio movie truly bomb, and that's a shame, laments Tom Shone of Slate. Sure, we get our share of misfires like Jonah Hex or The A-Team, but few reach the depths of those glorious financial busts of yesteryear like Ishtar, Waterworld, and Cutthroat Island—"the swashbuckler that derailed the careers of Renny Harlin, Geena Davis, and Matthew Modine—and the last film to actually force a movie studio to close, Heaven's Gate-style."
Hollywood has simply wised up and abolished failure on that scale. Lots of films are "swirling in the same dust-cloud of disappointment that in the old days would have led to them being tagged 'flops,' only now, thanks to Hollywood's nose for the 'presold,' (they stand) a pretty decent chance of making their money back—painfully, arduously, slowly but surely." Which is too bad, because "failures can be just as revealing as successes, maybe more so."