Nobody sets out to make a bad movie. Almost every terrible film you've seen was made with the sincere belief that what they were making was good. Not necessarily great or brilliant -- but at least good. Nobody's out there trying to showcase their incompetence.
Ridley Scott didn't go into Covenant thinking "I'm going to make such a lame f**king movie, just you wait." He told a story he wanted to tell as a filmmaker. It didn't resonate well with some audience -- but that doesn't mean he was trying to make a bad film or only thinking abut the money.
As for the formula comment, the entire MCU kind of shows that, no, screwing around isn't the regular course for companies trying to see if there's more money to be made. Rigidly adhering to a data-driven formula seems to be the preferred MO for film corporations at the moment. The number of risk-taking films is decreasing as the need to return higher profits increases.