Count Barry Diller among those who think they don't make good movies any more.

Diller -- whose career as a studio head for both Paramount (1974-1984) and 20th Century Fox (1984-1992) spawned classic films ranging from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Beverly Hills Cop" to "Die Hard" and "Wall Street" -- told Marketplace (via Deadline.com) that corporations have been the downfall of quality films.

"One of the reasons I think movies kind of stink is because they're now so low on the totem pole of greater corporate interests," Diller said. For example, according to Diller, 80 percent of Fox's revenue used to come from the films it produced; now that number is greatly diminished as Fox has become a "multi-diversified company."

Diller may have a point. Back in 2011, Universal chief Ron Meyer said during a Q&A at the Savannah Film Festival that the bottom line was his top priority.

"[A critical hit is] great when it happens," Meyer said. "But we did 'A Beautiful Mind,' and I don't know that we'd do 'A Beautiful Mind' again. That's the sad part. It's great to win awards and make films that you're proud of and make money, but your first obligation is to make money and then worry about being proud of what you do."

"A Beautiful Mind" won Best Picture at the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony.

Meyer isn't alone. In recent New Yorker profile of Ben Stiller, an unnamed studio executive was quoted as saying that taking risks on projects are frowned upon.

"Our owners don't need us to swing for the fences at all costs in hopes we can justify our existence," the anonymous executive said. "If we don't make smart decisions, they'll just reduce the number of films we make."

That's sad news for not only audiences, but creative people like Lana and Andy Wachowski. The siblings struggled to get "Cloud Atlas" financed, in part because it didn't fit into any pre-determined Hollywood box.

“The problem with market-driven art-making is that movies are green-lit based on past movies,” Lana Wachowski said. “So, as nature abhors a vacuum, the system abhors originality. Originality cannot be economically modelled.”

For more on Diller's current endeavors, head over to Marketplace.

[Marketplace via Deadline.com]

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  • "Heaven's Gate," 1980

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $44 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong> $3.4 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $40.6 million Director Michael Cimino had all sorts of cachet following his Oscar-winning work on "The Deer Hunter." His next feature? This costly mess, which is still synonymous with Hollywood hubris gone mad, 32 years after its release. Like "Cutthroat Island" did with Carolco, this film eventually led studio United Artists to shutter its doors.

  • "Ishtar," 1987

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $55 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $14.3 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $40.7 million The road to ruin. The Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman comedy (from director Elaine May) was rife with post-production woes, which led to bad pre-release buzz. <a href="http://www.filmlinc.com/fcm/ja06/elainemay.htm" target="_hplink">As Mike Nichols</a>, May's former comedy partner, said: "['Ishtar'] is the prime example that I know of in Hollywood of studio suicide."

  • "Cutthroat Island," 1995

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $115 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $18.5 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $96.5 million The movie that sunk (sorry) both Renny Harlin's directing career and production company Carolco, though who could be surprised? Even Harlin and star Geena Davis knew "Cutthroat Island" -- about a female pirate -- was bad news from the start. "We begged to be let go. We begged that we didn't have to make this movie," <a href="http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/tb/tb110912action_director_renn" target="_hplink">he told KCRW last year</a>. "We felt that a pirate movie with a female lead was suicidal, but we were contractually obligated."

  • "The 13th Warrior," 1999

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $160 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $61.9 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $98.1 million Directed by John McTiernan ("Die Hard") and eventually re-cut by author Michael Crichton (who wrote "Eaters of the Dead," which the film was based on), "The 13th Warrior" was another career-altering bust. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/news/wenn/2003-11-20#celeb8" target="_hplink">The film left such a sour taste in the mouth of co-star Omar Sharif that he retired from acting for four years</a>.

  • "Battlefield Earth," 2000

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $103 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $29.7 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $73.3 million Based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard, "Battlefield Earth" was one of the worst-reviewed films ever. Perhaps star John Travolta would have had better luck bringing "Dianetics" to the big screen?

  • "Town & Country," 2001

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $105 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $10.3 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $94.7 Thanks to star Warren Beatty's meticulous nature, this romantic comedy took three years and millions of dollars to produce. When it was finally released in 2001, audiences didn't care: "Town & Country" was an all-time bust and marks the last time Beatty appeared onscreen. <strong>CORRECTION</strong>: An earlier version of this slide stated that Warren Beatty was the director of "Town and Country."

  • "Pluto Nash," 2002

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $120 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $7.1 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $112.9 million From "Holy Man" to "Showtime" to "Meet Dave" to the recent release "A Thousand Words," Eddie Murphy is dependable for one thing: box-office washouts. "Pluto Nash" was his most notorious, a $100 million space "comedy" that couldn't even gross $5 million <em>total</em> at the domestic box office.

  • "Gigli," 2003

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $74 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $7.2 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $66.8 million Jennifer Lopez was right: It <em>was</em> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZyZbn5baJk" target="_hplink">"turkey time."</a>

  • "The Alamo," 2004

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $145 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $25.8 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $119.2 million Forget "The Alamo."

  • "How Do You Know," 2010

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $120 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $48.6 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $71.4 million How do you know this James L. Brooks romcom was doomed for disaster from the start? Look at the budget, which spiraled out of control after reshoots.

  • "Mars Needs Moms," 2011

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $175 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $38.9 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $136.1 million <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley" target="_hplink">Lost in the uncanny valley</a>. The Robert Zemeckis-produced motion-capture spectacle, "Mars Needs Moms," was such a costly mistake, <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/disney-kills-robert-zemeckis-yellow-167415" target="_hplink">Disney canceled the director's plans to remake "Yellow Submarine" in a similar fashion</a>.

  • "Green Lantern," 2011

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $325 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $219.9 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $105.1 million Despite over $100 million in domestic grosses, "Green Lantern" wound up being a write-off for Warner Bros. Worse, any hope to turn this fringe comic character into a franchise like "Iron Man" -- one that could produce income for the studio for years to come -- was lost. Hal Jordan wasn't kidding about that whole "blackest night" thing.

  • "John Carter," 2012

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $375 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $282.7 million <strong>Total losses</strong>: $92.3 million John Carter of flops. The costly live-action debut from Pixar director Andrew Stanton <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/john-carter-cost-disney-millions-301704">reportedly lost Disney $120 million</a>, this despite grossing almost $300 million worldwide.

  • "Battleship," 2012

    <strong>Cost</strong>: $210 million <strong>Worldwide gross</strong>: $303 million "Battleship" earned $300 million worldwide, but because of high costs, <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/battleship-universal-box-office-taylor-kitsch-327972">the film reportedly lost Universal parent company NBC $150 million</a>.

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