Of course, Schliemann had his own personal scale of box office success, which he wrote out longhand and taped up whenever he thought people needed perspective (usually shortly before they were fired and/or promoted):

“Blockbuster” – The rarest of the rare, a flick that made way more than was invested in it. Due to the ballooning budget requirements to make 3D action extravaganzas and brush out Australian actresses’ blemishes, the margins on even the biggest pictures tended to be too narrow to qualify as a blockbuster by Schliemann’s standards.

“Hit” – A movie that made back its cost plus a healthy profit. It was usually the first step toward promotion or more work for the people responsible. Crucially, Schliemann’s formula allowed for “Hollywood accounting” which put even the most successful feature as a loss to swindle authors and rightsholders out of their cut.

“Sleeper” – Movies that the studio didn’t have a lot of confidence in but also didn’t have a lot of cash tied up in, which slowly made money over a long theater run or broke even in theaters before making a profit on video.

“Watertreader” – A flick that made back its budget. A few people might get chewed out, but no one was losing their job. Often the overseas grosses would be the deciding factor, which Schliemann called “The Reverse Marshall Plan,” whatever that meant.

“Flop” – Movies that did decent business but didn’t make any money. Usually they came and went fairly quietly, often with freshman directors, writers, or stars. They’d have a hard time getting more work, but most were freelancers anyway. A major name could withstand half a dozen flops before Schliemann started calling them a “has been.”

“Bomb” – Movies that didn’t even come close to making their budget back despite a big marketing push were slapped with this label, not just by Schliemann but the press.

“Disaster” – It wasn’t enough for a disaster to lose money, even a lot of money. It also had to be critically reviled, with toxic publicity and media ridicule. Heaven’s Gate. Gigli. It was almost an honor to earn entry to this select club.