At the Savannah Film Festival, Universal's head Ron Meyer said:
Cowboys & Aliens wasn’t good enough. Forget all the smart people involved in it, it wasn’t good enough... All those little creatures bouncing around were crappy. I think it was a mediocre movie, and we all did a mediocre job with it… Cowboys & Aliens didn’t deserve better. … We misfired. We were wrong. We did it badly, and I think we’re all guilty of it. I have to take first responsibility because I’m part of it, but we all did a mediocre job and we paid the price for it. It happens. They’re talented people. Certainly you couldn’t have more talented people involved in Cowboys & Aliens, but it took, you know, ten smart and talented people to come up with a mediocre movie. It just happens.
The only lasting legacy of Cowboys & Aliens appears to be the episode of Ancient Aliens, now in perpetual rotation on the History Channel. The amount of cynicism involved in purposely promoting a "crappy" movie, subverting a documentary series to hype a "mediocre" product is disheartening.