I’m respectfully sorry for Warren Beatty’s calamity. In my early October dreams I thought Rules Might Apply might eke out $15 or $20 million, and then linger in the conversation with a Best Supporting Actor nom for Beatty (who’s radiates a commanding wackjob quality as Hughes), and then perform decently as a streaming title along with DVD/Bluray. But that’s all gone now.

Yes, I’ll be vaguely irked for the rest of my life that he sidestepped me on the interview front despite my having pledged to write a neckrub piece that would gingerly avoid sharing my mixed feelings about the film (which is precisely what all the other interviewers did, flirting and basking while ignoring the elephant in the room), but I’m also truly sorry for that stomach-acid sensation that he must have felt last weekend, and may still be feeling this morning.

There’s a special Beatty tribute happening on Thursday night at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. There will be ample respect and affection in the room, of course, but everyone will be thinking about what’s just happened. Beatty’s only option will be to throw up his hands and laugh and tell a couple of jokes about having joined the legendary box-office flop club, like a good sport. It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.