Can Kevin Costner Stage a Comeback?

07/18/2003 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Kevin Costner was once the critics' and audiences' darling -- thanks largely to his 1990 Oscar-winning "Dances With Wolves" and hits like "Field of Dreams."

But since then he has literally been awash in box-office failures, starting with his 1995 sea-soaked fiasco "Waterworld."

From there, the Wall Street Journal reports, the temperamental leading man with the all-American athletic looks, 48, stumbled and fell further from grace with a steady series of turkeys like "Tin Cup," "The Postman," "Message in a Bottle," "3000 Miles to Graceland" and "Dragonfly."

Those unmitigated flops (as well as a messy divorce that reportedly chewed away at his female fan base), is why Costner is no longer a member of the $15 million-per-picture club, the Journal reports. So far, he has not received anything for his services as the star and director of the modest upcoming Disney Western "Open Range."

Costner will be paid based upon box-office results, says the Journal, which does not paint a particularly positive picture of the movie, which also stars Robert Duvall and Annette Bening. The film, about a roaming gunslinger turned rancher, is opening in the dog days of August, and the Costner name is not being heralded in the ad campaign.

Still, says Disney Studios CEO Dick Cook, "Having seen the movie, we're thrilled with it. (It has) wonderful characters, good values of right and wrong, and it's a genre he's very good at."

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