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NYNEX
08-21-2009, 05:41 AM
rom left, Will Ferrell in "Land of the Lost," Denzel Washington in "The Taking of the Pelham 123," and Julia Roberts in "Duplicity."
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By BROOKS BARNES
Published: August 20, 2009
LOS ANGELES — The spring and summer box office has murdered megawatt stars like Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell.

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Can Brad Pitt escape?

A-list movie stars have long been measured by their ability to fill theaters on opening weekend. But never have so many failed to deliver, resulting in some rare soul-searching by motion picture studios about why the old formula isn’t working — and a great deal of anxiety among stars (and agents) about the potential vaporization of their $20 million paychecks.

“The cratering of films with big stars is astounding,” said Peter Guber, the former chairman of Sony Pictures who is now a producer and industry elder statesman. “These supertalented people are failing to aggregate a large audience, and everybody is looking for answers.”

Mr. Guber added, “Even Johnny Depp” — starring in the drama “Public Enemies” — “didn’t exactly deliver a phenomenal result.” (The A-list results may be damped partly because Will Smith, a regular summer powerhouse, had no movie open this season.)

Mr. Ferrell bombed in “Land of the Lost,” a $100 million comedy that sold only $49 million in tickets in North America. Ms. Roberts missed with “Duplicity,” a $60 million thriller that attracted $40.6 million. “Angels & Demons” (Mr. Hanks) was soft. The same for “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” (Mr. Washington and Mr. Travolta).

“Imagine That,” starring Mr. Murphy, was such a disaster that Paramount Pictures had to take a write-down. Mr. Sandler? His “Funny People” limped out of the gate and then collapsed. Some of these may simply have not been very good, but an A-list star is supposed to overcome that.

The gradual trend away from big-star vehicles in the summer has been under way for years.

At the start of the decade, summer still belonged to names: Cruise (“Mission Impossible II”), Crowe (“Gladiator”) and Clooney (“The Perfect Storm”) were the top three in 2000. But the three biggest films of this summer season, a crucial period from May 1 to Labor Day that typically accounts for 40 percent of annual ticket sales, have been “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Up” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

The biggest names attached to those films: Shia LaBoeuf, Ed Asner and Daniel Radcliffe.

The fading ability of Hollywood stars to command box-office attention, and why that is happening, has been a perennial topic in Hollywood. And economists and academics have long argued that marquee names are not worth their expense.

“Stars and success as a corollary is largely a myth,” said S. Abraham Ravid, an economics professor at Rutgers University who has conducted several studies on movie business practices.

But some of the same well-worn reasoning for declining star power has become even truer with time: people are harder to move off the sofa; a plethora of entertainment options competes for time and attention; the Web and paparazzi culture have made it difficult for stars to stand apart as rare and unique.

“Stars will always be important, but the industry is definitely seeing a transformation in their ability to open movies,” Marc Shmuger, the chairman of Universal Pictures, said in an interview last month.

How is Hollywood reacting to the power brownout? Studios, struggling to cut costs after a 25 percent drop in DVD sales, aren’t giving up on top-tier stars — their presence can make a huge difference overseas and factor heavily into the sale of movies to television channels — but they are trying to pay them less or looking for less-expensive alternatives.

These battles are normally fought in strict privacy — no stars want it known that their paycheck is in retrograde, and their agent wants it known even less — but studios are starting to become bolder.

This month, a salary spat between Mr. Washington and 20th Century Fox broke into public view. Variety reported — and two executives with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed — that Fox wanted to pay the actor about $16 million to appear in “Unstoppable,” a thriller about a runaway train. Mr. Washington, who normally makes $20 million a picture, said no. Fox also sought pay cuts from producers, other actors and the director.

Several days later the studio and star came to an agreement, but it involved Mr. Washington’s giving up millions of dollars in upfront payment.

There are also some specific explanations about the recent crop of failures. Several of these stars are aging while others have allowed their fans to move on by working infrequently (Ms. Roberts). Others may be suffering by refusing to do certain types of publicity (Mr. Sandler, Mr. Murphy) or wearing their routine too thin (Mr. Ferrell).

This weekend, Mr. Pitt has an opportunity to stop the bleeding. His “Inglourious Basterds,” an R-rated Nazi thriller directed by Quentin Tarantino, arrived in theaters Friday. Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company built the marketing campaign for the film almost entirely around Mr. Pitt.

And the actor may pull it off — kind of. Mr. Weinstein contends that Mr. Pitt’s drawing power is not remotely in question. “Brad Pitt is a super-superstar at the apex of his popularity, and he’s a large part of why people want to see this movie,” he said.

Indeed, services that track consumer interest in movies predict that “Inglourious Basterds” will sell an estimated $25 million to $30 million in tickets over its three-day opening. While anything could still happen, that result would be solid for this kind of movie (extremely violent, independently made) and on par with Mr. Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies, which blossomed into hits.

But a $25 million tally would fall in the middle of Mr. Pitt’s own opening-weekend track record when adjusted for inflation, on par with “The Mexican” from 2001. That would be enough to firmly keep Mr. Pitt’s wattage from dimming, but probably not enough to end the hand-wringing in Hollywood over star power, veteran producers say.

Talent agents argue that stars are not to blame, faulting script concepts that fail to translate to the screen, poor release dates, awkward marketing or ill-advised efforts by popular actors to stretch in new directions.

But many people think a new phenomenon has popped up in recent months to undercut stars. The surge in social networking services like Twitter and Facebook, not to mention text messaging, has made it much harder for studios to persuade consumers that the movies are worth their time.

“You look around the theater and can see the glow, not on people’s faces from watching the movie, but on their chins — from the BlackBerrys and iPhones,” said Mr. Guber. “They are immediately telling their friends whether it’s worth their time. And the answer to that, more often than not, seems to be no.”

Anagram
08-21-2009, 06:22 AM
So is this good news for screenwriters, or bad? Less money to enormous stars means more money to go around for everyone else involved in a movie?

Or does less money at the box office mean less money all around?

Also the success of a movie like Transformers has got to hurt the chances of movies that cater to particular niches.

Are horror and action the only safe bets left? Horror because it can be so low budget, and action because it's got such a wide audience?

Maybe I should scrap the big budget sci-fi thriller that I'm obsessed with and try to work on my graphic novel. :(

artisone
08-21-2009, 07:57 AM
“Brad Pitt is a super-superstar at the apex of his popularity, and he’s a large part of why people want to see this movie,” he said.

Okay, no. I guarantee that the larger percent of Basterd's audience is going to skew very male, obviously. And it's not because they want to see Brad Pitt. They want to see an action movie with an interesting premise. People did not go see Gladiator because of Russell or MI2 because of Tom (yes, we're on a 1st name basis). Gladiator was a good movie with great marketing and MI2 looked pretty damn cool leading up to it's release. I think it's the promise of entertainment that gets asses into the theater, not stars. Sure, for a small percentage of people the main attraction might be an actor, but I think the majority of the movie going audience wants to be entertained. If a movie looks entertaining, they will go. If it delivers, they will keep going (The Dark Night), if it does not, the audience will drop off (Bruno).

umo
08-21-2009, 08:19 AM
“Brad Pitt is a super-superstar at the apex of his popularity, and he’s a large part of why people want to see this movie,” he said.

Okay, no. I guarantee that the larger percent of Basterd's audience is going to skew very male, obviously. And it's not because they want to see Brad Pitt. They want to see an action movie with an interesting premise. People did not go see Gladiator because of Russell or MI2 because of Tom (yes, we're on a 1st name basis). Gladiator was a good movie with great marketing and MI2 looked pretty damn cool leading up to it's release. I think it's the promise of entertainment that gets asses into the theater, not stars. Sure, for a small percentage of people the main attraction might be an actor, but I think the majority of the movie going audience wants to be entertained. If a movie looks entertaining, they will go. If it delivers, they will keep going (The Dark Night), if it does not, the audience will drop off (Bruno).

If what you're saying is true, apparently the audience isn't as stupid as some in HW think. Thank God for that. :)

Ernie Santamaria
08-21-2009, 08:49 AM
You nailed it, Artisone.

As far as Pitt bringing me in to see IB, the opposite is true. That labored, off-putting drawl they permitted him to deliver (as seen/heard in the TV promotionals) would actually keep me away were it not for for the story and action promised.

Ernie

Jenny
08-21-2009, 08:58 AM
I'd guess if you asked somebody on the street if they were going to see IB, and they said yes, if asked why they'd say because it's Quentin Tarantino before they'd say Brad Pitt.

Is he really a draw these days? I just don't see it. I'd guess the newest Tarantino movie is a bigger draw than the newest Brad Pitt movie.

I kind of agree with the idea that tabloids/TMZ/etc. are making it harder for stars to be Stars. If you go to a Brad Pitt movie, do you see the character? Or do you only see Brad Pitt? I only see Brad Pitt. Brad with Angelina. Brad with their dozen kids. Brad insisting on the bachelor life in LA while Angelina summers in France. Brad and Angelina and kids on the cover of Star magazine. Whereas in movies like The Hangover without big stars, I see the characters first.

Ernie Santamaria
08-21-2009, 09:57 AM
I think "The Departed" shows the kind of absorption in the characters that's possible in some *ensemble* projects with, and in spite of the big stars (as contrasted with the several "Oceans" ensemble films).

Ernie

sc111
08-21-2009, 10:27 AM
I love the way the industry looks to assign blame to twitter overlooking the fact that what they're twittering about is: this movie svcks.

Can't possibly be the quality of the stories. Nooo. It's twitters fault.

They're upset because no longer can they fool audiences with a trailer that is essentially the best 10 seconds of a boring film.

Duplicity? Could it be they marketed it like a rom-com when it wasn't? No! Can't be. It's Julia's fault.
Taking of the Pelham 1-2-3? Must be Travolta and Washington's fault. Can't possibly be audiences are SICK OF REMAKES. Noooo. Can't be. It's Johnny Depp's fault Public Enemies didn't do well. Right! Has to be it. Couldn't possibly be the subject matter has been done to death.

I personally think the $20-million Actors Club does limit the type of films that are produced. But I don't think the A-listers are the reason why we end up with watered down, dumbed down movies.

People are staying home because, more often than not, TV & premium cable are offering more interesting fare than films these days.

And in a bad economy, people will continue to stay home unless a film offers something truly different.

artisone
08-21-2009, 12:33 PM
If what you're saying is true, apparently the audience isn't as stupid as some in HW think. Thank God for that. :)

You are right. I really do NOT think the audience is stupid. I believe they simply want to be entertained. That's why we all go to the movies, unless I'm wrong.

I believe the audience did not go see Transformers because they are dumb. I think they went because they wanted to see the spectacle of giant robots beating the crap out of each other. That's what the trailer promised and that's what Bay gave them. Did I want a better story, sure. But it's a Bay movie.

I think the prospect of entertainment is also why the audience made District 9 a "surprise" hit. And I put surprise in quotations for the benefit of the studios. Me, seeing the trailer, the marketing campaign and hearing the word of mouth coming out of Comic-con, I have to say I was not shocked to see that it kicked ass at the box office. Everything from that movie screamed, "You will have a good time if you come watch this!" And it did. If a movie can promise you a good time, and deliver - you're gold. In my humble opinion.

WriteByNight
08-21-2009, 12:41 PM
I agree with sc111.

You can't pin turd on the stars. Now Eddie Murphy is a different story. He's got to get out from under fast. And I'm afraid a Beverly Hills Cop sequel won't cut it.

roscoegino
08-21-2009, 12:57 PM
And its not simply a star thing. The article points out that the stars of 09's b.o. hits aren't big A-Listers. Well success really ties in with studios being so active in developing scripts that have built in branding fanboy value. The top box office films of 09 have just that: Star Trek, Harry Potter, Transformers, F&F, and so on. District 9's mirrors the fanboy mystique.

My grandma could be the lead in those movies and it would still soar.

The studios can not assume that a movie will do well simply because an A Lister is headlining the show. It's a fanboy's market.

WriteHandMan
08-21-2009, 01:12 PM
Concept and timing account for a film's success. It's never really been star power. Not now, not then. Harry Potter made Daniel now. Raiders made Harrison Ford then. Star Power is only a fraction of it. If the opposite were true, Cruise and Hanks and Roberts, etc, etc would never have a bomb.

The film makes the star and keeps the star shining. Never the other way around.

jkk808
08-21-2009, 05:14 PM
You really shouldn't cut and paste entire articles from other places and put them in the body of a post.

malfernan
08-21-2009, 09:44 PM
A lot of people already made good points so I won't repeat them. I've read probably dozens of Brook Barnes pieces, and I'm comfortable saying he's a hack. I remember researching a lot of his pieces back during the writer's strike. If you'd told me he was a paid studio shill, I would've believed it. He may have been, for all I know. He's a young, green guy so maybe he was easy to manipulate when he called the studios for "research", who knows.

Anyway, the majority of his articles cherry pick details to prove whatever point he wants to make meanwhile omitting points that would contradict his story. I believe even David Poland over at the Hot Blog has called out Barnes a couple of times for misleading articles.

Maybe this seems like a personal attack, and maybe it is. I'm still outraged that he was so anti-WGA when he himself had dreams (dashed of course) of becoming a screenwriter. :confused:

Why One
08-22-2009, 05:17 AM
I personally think that named actors do create some level of branding for movies. It definitely won't dictate a movie's success, but it is still a selling point. And that's what's it really all about -- pushing out selling points.

For example, Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart were unknowns prior to Twilight. But now that they're on audiences' radars, they can become selling points for future movies they will be in -- their names will flash up on trailers.

And people who are familiar and/or like their work may be -- no matter how subconsciously -- more attracted (even if it's just the slightest) to see their movies than if it didn't have them in it.

They do play a part of the equation. But not all. I'd say it varies from movie-to-movie. Who's to say that HANCOCK or I AM LEGEND would've done just as well at the BO if it didn't have the Will Smith brand behind them?

I think studios already know that. It's the reason they didn't need to push for more established actors in the first Transformers movie, or Twilight movie etc.

instant_karma
08-22-2009, 05:43 AM
I don't think I've ever gone to see a movie just because it's featured an actor I like. I find the idea that anybody does kind of weird.

The concept is usually my prime motivation for seeing something, with the exception of sfx/spectacle movies like 2012 which I'll probably go see even though I thought the script was pretty poor.

After that, the director is usually the next thing I'll take into consideration, but if the idea doesn't appeal to me, I'm not going to see it no matter how much I may like the director. I like Spielberg a lot and I like Tom Hanks, but I had no interest in seeing The Terminal.

I'm ashamed to say that I don't think I've ever gone to see a movie because of the writer involved. Most of the time I don't even know who the writer is. Hopefully this doesn't make me a pariah on this board, as I suspect that I'm not alone in this.

Ernie Santamaria
08-22-2009, 10:06 AM
Anyway, the majority of [Brook Barnes'] articles cherry pick details to prove whatever point he wants to make, meanwhile omitting points that would contradict his story. ... he himself had dreams (dashed of course) of becoming a screenwriter.
-----------------------------------------
Mal,

Ironically, what he's unethically doing when writing articles exactly parallels a screenwriting ideal he probably ignored when designing the storylines of his scripts: include the plot details you need to advance (prove) the story and omit plot points that don't.

Likely he has misdirected his temperament for creating dramatic fiction and now expresses it in marginally invented articles passing as journalism.

Ernie

Rantanplan
08-22-2009, 10:43 AM
The star system may be fading out a bit, and if that cuts down on the 20 million dollar salaries, I'm all for it, but I do think "Who's in it?" is still the first question most people ask about a film, especially genres like comedy, drama, romcoms. Obviously if a film is adapted from the most successful novel series in the history of publishing, that's not the question you're asking. Or if a film is about torture and dismemberment, not the primary question either. If it's not the concept and not the source material (built in fan base), it's usually the actors that draw in the crowds, with the director being the attraction in a few cases (Tarantino, Coens, Woody Allen etc). IMHO.

If I'm perusing the shelves of a video store and I come across something with Cary Grant and Katharyn Hepburn, or Boggey and Bacall, that's all I need to know to want to rent it. If I then see it was made by George Cukor or Howard Hawkes, even better :)

ColeBlackburn
08-22-2009, 10:52 AM
If the blame is to fall on anything in Hollywood,
I believe it is the reliance on "high concept" to
put butts in seats instead of "great stories."
Most of the great classic movies would not be
made if pitched in today's high concept only
market. Studios and producers are grabbing
high concept pitches and then trying to build a
story around them and in a lot of cases, a great
high concept doesn't make a great movie. Studio
logic seems to be audiences will come to a great
high concept film even if the execution isn't good.
They are finding out they are wrong. Twitter,
text, emails, just make word of mouth faster, and
are not a threat to a great film. Only to bad ones.
So, studios and producers can blame the actors,
director, audiences, high altitude weather balloons,
and Twitter etal for the spat of bombs, but the
reality is, blame lies on their own doorstep because
they could change the high concept runaway train
but they choose not to. The sad part is, a great
many wonderful, entertaining, superb stories will
never be made because they aren't high concept.
As an audience member who grew up with wonderful
choices to make, about which film of a half-dozen
great ones to see, the current dearth of viewable
films is disheartening.
When I entered this business as a lowly reader at
a small agency, my orders were to comb through
the hundred or so "actual" scripts that came in
each week, and find a good one. Nobody gave a
d*mn about high concept, they wanted a great
story. One that when you read it, moved you to
a better place.
For what it's worth.
The Cole

roscoegino
08-22-2009, 11:07 AM
HANGOVER proved that you can do well without big gun stars and well known source material. And I'm sure it wasn't a fluke. By the same token we know HUDSON HAWK failed miserably and PLUTO NASH, ISHTAR, DUPLICITY, BATTLEFIELD EARTH, WILD WILD WEST, ZOHAN, THE GURU and on and on.

Yes, folks do care who stars in it and there are diehard fans who will see a particularly actor in just about anything. But concept wins a good chunk of the time.

trujosh
08-22-2009, 03:00 PM
I've read probably dozens of Brook Barnes pieces, and I'm comfortable saying he's a hack. I remember researching a lot of his pieces back during the writer's strike. If you'd told me he was a paid studio shill, I would've believed it.

I found his analysis during the strike always spot on. Many reporters were warning that the strike was detrimental and a waste of time because WGA would have never obtained what they were asking for.

And so it was. The strike was a disruption to the industry that acheived nothing.

You shouldn't be mad at the messenger.


I'm still outraged that he was so anti-WGA when he himself had dreams (dashed of course) of becoming a screenwriter. :confused:

Don't worry, I have no screenwriting dreams.

maralyn
08-22-2009, 11:57 PM
Times are a changin'.

I agree, they're not into stars at all anymore. If anything, they seem to have developed a contempt for them and their lifestyles. And the press has had a lot to do with it.

The assasination of Jesse James couldn't even recoup half its budget despite Brad.

They actually seem to dislike him a bit. Too pretty and smug.

And Johnny Depp lost all of his cred in those Pirates films.

DavidK
08-24-2009, 03:29 AM
And Johnny Depp lost all of his cred in those Pirates films.

Not.

Knaight
08-24-2009, 07:16 AM
Stars still have their place. I think it's easy for people who know a lot about the industry and have seen a lot of movies (like us) to forget that the general public only sees a handful of movies a year. A big part of why they go is definitely the stars.

If the tabloids are ruining star-power, then the tabloids shouldn't be selling as well either. But they are. They're still flying off the shelves at check-out lines. Why? Because women want to read about Robert Pattinson. Do you really think they'll miss out on his next movie?

There is one big difference between star-power ten years ago and star-power now. While stars can still open movies, it's got to be good or have some other seriously awesome hook for it to stay afloat. There is no question that the ease of communication we have now has made it a hell of a lot harder for a movie to have a good second weekend. If a movie's not any good, most people know about it within a few days.

I do think you'll begin to see a drop in some stars' salaries. While their name might be worth $5-10M, I think the cases where they bring in enough to be worth $20M are going to be few and far between. These days, if a movie's making money past the opening weekend, it's probably because it's a good movie - the result of lots of peoples' hard work, not just the star's.

For political reasons, I'm sure it'll be a couple of years before we see that drop, but I do think it's likely. Will that free up a few dollars for screenwriters? I'm not holding my breath. But I do think some of it will go into story development. It's hard to make a good movie that makes lots of money, and the fact that it happens at all means that someone's doing something right. I'm guessing that the people in power are coming to the same realization as us: When it comes to making money at the B.O., story matters more than ever.

Knaight
08-24-2009, 07:18 AM
And Johnny Depp lost all of his cred in those Pirates films.


Maybe to a few people who only liked him in his artsiest of movies, but to the general public, Pirates is what made him a star.

maralyn
08-25-2009, 01:10 AM
Pirates made him a star in the world of children's films. That and Charlie and the chocolate factory et al. But that audience won't be going to see Public Enemy.

Depp is a fish out of water in the thriller world.

nic.h
08-25-2009, 02:27 AM
My second year writing students (university) wrote a spoof about various stars stuck on a desert island.

Johnny Depp was cast as The Dinosaur. I felt so old. :o

maralyn
08-25-2009, 02:30 AM
They haven't been getting behind new stars.

Longterm sustainability requires investment.

Scripted77
08-25-2009, 09:45 AM
And Johnny Depp lost all of his cred in those Pirates films.

Wrong.

Depp would have lost his cred if he gave a bad performance. But he created a great, fun character.

What else do you want from an actor? To only choose roles that YOU respect?

maralyn
08-25-2009, 02:13 PM
I certainly don't "disrespect" those roles. At all. I mean, maybe a bit fluffy for my palette, but I don't disrespect it.

But actors, like writers, put out product.

And when you start out with product for a certain audience, and then suddenly put out a completely different product, especially something as "out there" as a commercial trilogy for children, well then you've changed labels. Switched teams. He's irreversibly branded himself. He lost his mystique with it, he gave it all away.

But, why NOT retire to the Cote d'Azur with a pretty model.

:whistle:

And, doesn't he have children himself? Well, then, he has their futures to think about as well. How far does the income of an "artsy" actor go?

Just he shouldn't expect to be able to leap back to what he was doing before. Or worse, step into a genre that was never his.

We're all just product.

Just he's now children's product.

And if he's ever in a movie that gets a look in at boxoffice that's not a children's film, well then I'll eat my computer.

Rantanplan
08-25-2009, 04:03 PM
I certainly don't "disrespect" those roles. At all. I mean, maybe a bit fluffy for my palette, but I don't disrespect it.

But actors, like writers, put out product.

And when you start out with product for a certain audience, and then suddenly put out a completely different product, especially something as "out there" as a commercial trilogy for children, well then you've changed labels. Switched teams. He's irreversibly branded himself. He lost his mystique with it, he gave it all away.

But, why NOT retire to the Cote d'Azur with a pretty model.

:whistle:

And, doesn't he have children himself? Well, then, he has their futures to think about as well. How far does the income of an "artsy" actor go?

Just he shouldn't expect to be able to leap back to what he was doing before. Or worse, step into a genre that was never his.

We're all just product.

Just he's now children's product.

And if he's ever in a movie that gets a look in at boxoffice that's not a children's film, well then I'll eat my computer.

I'm pretty sure Depp has a bright future ahead of him with both commercial and critical success. I'm sure he will navigate quite comfortably between stuff like Pirates 4 and stuff like Sweeney Todd for which, incidentally, he was nominated for an oscar.

And I'm not at all worried about this kids' future :) Even when he was only making "artsy" films he was pulling in more money than any of us here could ever dream of...

NYNEX
08-26-2009, 12:30 AM
Movies in general are geared towards young people, so Depp didn't go wrong with something like Pirates of the Caribbean. Frankly, "dramas, and other grown up films" tend not to do well at the box office.

The film industry caters more towards the taste of young males, and so what if Depp can fulfill that?

roscoegino
08-26-2009, 12:44 AM
The word "cred" can't quite contain Depp. His roles are too varied for anyone to place a label on him.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 01:06 AM
Oh well, when he does something that gets an audience other than children and families, then, you can throw broomsticks at me.

DavidK
08-26-2009, 03:17 AM
Oh well, when he does something that gets an audience other than children and families, then, you can throw broomsticks at me.

He's done that many times. Perhaps you're just out of touch with his work. Do you have a preferred make of broomstick?

Sinnycal
08-26-2009, 03:48 AM
Did any of you guys see the controversy on ScriptShadow when Carson dared to unfavorably review a script Robert Pattinson is attached to? His comments section was bombarded by dozens of angry fangirls passionately ranting about how Carson must have criticized the script out of jealousy and a lot of other nonsense. I don't even know how they found the site. It's like they all stumbled upon it on the 35th page of google hits for the guy after spending all day digging for absolutely every last bit of press he got that day.

That's the current state of stardom. Because of Robert Pattinson, millions of borderline obsessed girls will line up to see a stuffy period piece that would probably make eighty bucks and change otherwise. You can still capitalize on an actor's star power, but you have to be more savvy and you have to move quickly. The standard practice of an actor slowly moving up the payscale until he is forevermore worth $20 million a picture isn't how it works anymore. Robert Pattinson has been in one popular movie (okay, and a small part in a Harry Potter movie, too), and I would say he's worth as much or more than any A-lister at the moment. And if it lasts more than a couple of years, I'll be surprised. But the way Hollywood works, they'll start giving him A-list money only after he's long since peaked as a legitimate draw.

Beyond those rare cases of devoted fanbases ripe for the picking, stars have always been and will always be overrated. You put the biggest name in the biggest movie and then point to the name when the big movie opens big. Look what's happening now with Shia the Beef. This article mentions his role in Transformers 2 to make a point that the movie didn't have any big stars, but then Hollywood will turn around and imagine that they can replicate Transformers 2's box office take by putting Shia in more movies. He'll become an A-lister based on the box office totals of movies that opened huge in spite of him.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 06:25 AM
He's done that many times. Perhaps you're just out of touch with his work. Do you have a preferred make of broomstick?

Okay, well, maybe I haven't kept up to date, so which movie has he been in since Pirates 2 that attracted a large adult audience?

I mean, as opposed to children and families.

And I'm also going by what a house full of teenage boys tell me, which is that he's an idiot.

(disclaimer: not language I encourage or approve of)

Brad is a "gimp". (Ange is a "prissy bitch")

Leonardo is the WORST. Ben Afflec and Mat Damon are gay for each other and Orlando is a girlie boy.

sc111
08-26-2009, 09:56 AM
Johnny Depp did these types of characters like - forever.

Edward Scissorhands & Cry-Baby for example, which didn't stop him from doing "serious" films after.

Sinnycal
08-26-2009, 12:42 PM
Okay, well, maybe I haven't kept up to date, so which movie has he been in since Pirates 2 that attracted a large adult audience?

I mean, as opposed to children and families.

And I'm also going by what a house full of teenage boys tell me, which is that he's an idiot.

(disclaimer: not language I encourage or approve of)

Brad is a "gimp". (Ange is a "prissy bitch")

Leonardo is the WORST. Ben Afflec and Mat Damon are gay for each other and Orlando is a girlie boy.

Do you live in 1997?

I remember when guys tended to write off Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio as pretty boys, but now most men I know like both of them. You've heard of Tyler Durden? One-Punch Mickey, Aldo Raine, the scene-stealing bit parts he's had in guy movies like True Romance? Are you kidding? And Leo won the male crowd over with the likes of Gangs of New York and The Departed.

ihavebiglips
08-26-2009, 02:02 PM
Maralyn, you are ridiculous.

Johnny Depp has rocked serious dramatic adult roles for years, prior to Pirates and since, from DONNIE BRASCO and BLOW to PUBLIC ENEMIES.

Throw in his collaborations with Burton, his relationship with Hunter S. Thompson (and work with Gilliam on FEAR AND LOATHING), and all of the smaller "deviant" roles he has brought some truth to - such as WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE, CHOCOLAT, DEAD MAN, etc)... this is all adult fare.

PIRATES is obviously the exception to the rule. And he MADE those flicks. Take away the Richardsesque freak angle he put on a pirate and what do you got? Orlando Bloom and some CGI.

Not to sound "gay" for the dude, but Depp is awesome.

sc111
08-26-2009, 02:05 PM
Do you live in 1997?



I truly suspect Maralyn has not watched an American film in the theatre since before 1997.

Richmond Weems
08-26-2009, 02:16 PM
Yeah, I'm not sure what Maralyn has against Depp, other than she's implied that he's somehow sold out? Did she see the character he played in Pirates? That, to me, was the only reason to even see the flicks (as Lips has pointed out, too). I mean, he wanted Sparrow to have syphilis and a nose made out of copper!?

And why are your children always the poll group, Maralyn? I mean, if I listened to my kids, I'd be eating chocolate cake for breakfast, and watching Scooby Doo all day. Wait. I already do that. Nevermind.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 02:27 PM
"I" don't call them any of those things. I just have to listen to "them" call them those things.

Depp was amazing in Gilbert Grape. And Scissorhands. And Leo was great in Catch Me If You Can. Although maybe I can see what they mean about Afflec and Damon. And Orlando.

But teenagers can be so disrespectful and fickle.

I don't know, they weren't impressed with The Departed. Knowing is the only film recently I've heard them speak highly of. As in, recommending it. They wouldn't sit all the way through There Will Be Blood, and No Country for Old Men was "sh#t".

Tough crowd.

Although, now I think of it, they did like Blow.

Maybe there's just no logic to them.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 02:47 PM
Ah-ha! See.

They still liked him in Blow.

It was Pirates that made him lose them.

Rantanplan
08-26-2009, 03:11 PM
Depp was also in a charming, delightful film called Don Juan de Marco with Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway.

And I've only watched about three musicals in my entire life, but I enjoyed Sweeney Todd quite a bit.

ihavebiglips
08-26-2009, 03:11 PM
Depp was also in a charming, delightful film called Don Juan de Marco with Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway.

And I've only watched about three musicals in my entire life, but I enjoyed Sweeney Todd quite a bit.

Shoulda mentioned DON JUAN DEMARCO. Love that film.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 03:15 PM
And it's completely irrelevant what "I" think. I'm a 40 and a bit year old woman. I'm not the target audience.

What "I" go to see at the movies is of absolutely no interest to anyone.

What "they" go to see is what all of this is about. They're the buyers. So I don't think I'm a fool to listen to them. I think you're a fool if you don't.

jkk808
08-26-2009, 04:16 PM
Knowing is the only film recently I've heard them speak highly of.

Wow. Teenagers are even dumber than I thought they were.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 05:08 PM
Actually, they're more intelligent than adults.

Between about 12 and 19 their brains experience a blossoming. Like a pot of boiling water bubbling up. They have more brain capacity and activity than they will at any other stage in their lives. At about 19 it settles down and the wiring stabilises. (hopefully)

That's why they're so impulsive and distant and careless and moody and hard to communicate with. There's actually too much going on up top.

trujosh
08-26-2009, 05:11 PM
Wow. Teenagers are even dumber than I thought they were.

No. Just Maralyn's.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 05:21 PM
But also, that's why they start disrespecting their parents, and why they critisise their society. And why in their eyes no one knows anything.

They're actually sort of right. Adults are teenagers who believe their own publicity.

I mean, don't you remember the intensity of the teen years?

And that's why I hate drugs so much.

Society grows by being challenged by its teenagers. We stop growing and stagnate if that all goes up in smoke.

maralyn
08-26-2009, 05:27 PM
And this is the last I'll say about it, but when a civilisation stagnates, it festers and then decays.

We actually need to be challenged by teenagers for our survival.

Madbandit
08-26-2009, 09:11 PM
They haven't been getting behind new stars.

Longterm sustainability requires investment.

So true. I mean, who's going to be the next Will Smith or Denzel Washington?But for your other points, don't rely on all teenagers on the future of humanity, rely on the samrt ones.

Furious Anjel
08-26-2009, 09:20 PM
So true. I mean, who's going to be the next Will Smith or Denzel Washington?

Lil Wayne!:D

Johnny
08-27-2009, 12:49 AM
Duplicity was terribly marketed. It was a clever spy movie with the romantic elements as part of a twist. It was not a romantic comedy. It was not a bad movie, but I think the marketing blew it's B.O. potential to bits.

maralyn
08-27-2009, 01:40 AM
So true. I mean, who's going to be the next Will Smith or Denzel Washington?But for your other points, don't rely on all teenagers on the future of humanity, rely on the samrt ones.

Well, they're all smart in one way or another. But alas, all unbearably stoopid in some ways as well.

Still, whether we like it or not, one day they'll be in charge.

Fingers crossed they'll be nice people.

:ernie::bert::heyfool::dunce:

Anagram
08-27-2009, 02:30 AM
Duplicity was terribly marketed. It was a clever spy movie with the romantic elements as part of a twist. It was not a romantic comedy. It was not a bad movie, but I think the marketing blew it's B.O. potential to bits.

Hmm, well that's interesting. I specifically avoided it because I did think it was a romance/drama.

WriteByNight
08-27-2009, 03:10 AM
Duplicity was terribly marketed. It was a clever spy movie with the romantic elements as part of a twist. It was not a romantic comedy. It was not a bad movie, but I think the marketing blew it's B.O. potential to bits.

I'll rent it then. The spots were on non-stop during its run. But I thought it would be some celebrity pomp espionage form of Notting Hill or Runaway Bride. To be honest, Erin Brokovich (sp) is the only Julia film I cared for. I did like Closer as well.

sc111
08-27-2009, 01:04 PM
So true. I mean, who's going to be the next Will Smith or Denzel Washington?

So many up and coming actors who showed a lot of promise 5 years ago seemed to have virtally disappeared? Is it a studio tactic to lessen the power of stars?

Furious Anjel
08-27-2009, 02:28 PM
So many up and coming actors who showed a lot of promise 5 years ago seemed to have virtally disappeared? Is it a studio tactic to lessen the power of stars?

What about the bad choices some of these actors are making? Can someone hold an intervention for Kate Hudson?

maralyn
08-27-2009, 02:56 PM
Well, everyone's running scared.

Anyway, I think there will be a whole new wave of great American cinema as the outcome of all of this. Mind you I often get called an optimist.

But I think it will be good for indie to find it's own footing again, the process of natural selection, and there will be more defined niche markets. And that's what it needs.

Don't panic.