Departing Warner Bros. boss Alan Horn has revealed he initially passed on Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby - because he didn't think movie audiences would pay to see a woman fight.
The movie mogul, who retired last week (01Apr11), has opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about his 12 years as a studio boss, telling all about his hits and misses in Hollywood.
And he admits he got lucky with Eastwood's boxing drama, which picked up Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor Oscars in 2004 - because he only got another look at the script when rival studios also passed on the film.
He recalls, "Clint came to me... He had not cast anybody. I read it and I thought, 'Well, I just don't see it... I don't know if women want to see a woman fight.' He said, 'I wouldn't want the studio doing anything that it's not comfortable with.' So he took it around town and did not get a taker.
"He came back through his agent... who said, 'Would you kindly take another look at this...?'
"The movie killed me. I said, 'Does she have to die in the end?' Clint said, 'I'm afraid so.' I said, 'Does she have to bite her tongue off?' He said, 'That's the way we have to go.' I said, 'Does she have to lose the fight?'"
The success of the film, which starred Hilary Swank, taught Horn one major lesson: "No one knows anything."