Movie mea culpas from moguls? Not exactly…

Disbelief.

Our fishy manible hangs open in incredulity. Why? Today’s LAT quote from Sony / Columbia Pictures supremo, Amy Pascal:

“I think what we learned last year was you can’t sell bad movies. We can’t fake people out with marketing, no matter how good it is,” admitted Pascal, movie chief at Sony Pictures, which released the costly duds “Bewitched” and “Stealth” last summer. This year, her prospects for the season are better with “Da Vinci Code.”

So why is Pascal’s quote so incredibly damning? Because she’s the one who FIRED her marketing chief after films she greenlit, “XXX 2” and “Stealth” underperformed. geoff.jpeg.jpg

(At left: Ammer, back when he was still the Man Who Hung with Diddy.)

Pascal was among those studio folks talking about the corner that was turned over the weekend: Essentially, a schocky heap of crap called “Silent Hill” managed to grind out $20 million over the weekend, and in the process, as the Times Claudia Eller and Lorenza Munoz points out, reversed the year-to-year box office slump.

Viz, “So far this year, domestic ticket sales are up 6.7% over 2005, with theater attendance rising 3.4%.”

Our take? So what. This year’s box office is still loafing behind 2004 by 4.8%. Studios, like Pascal’s are still placing the same big bets they always have, waiting for huge stars like Tom Hanks or huge budgets like “Spider-man 3” to save them. When they come up a bit short on story, guess what? Economic agony.