Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

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  • Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

    Why pay an actor $20 M?

    With the news of Paramount's "enough-already- dismissal of Tom Cruise, I returned to considering an issue that has always sort of perplexed me...why do studios continue to hand out absurd paychecks to mediocre (but attractive to a certain demographic) talent?

    Who is calling the shots here? Oh yeah...agents. But...

    Scanning the Box Office Mojo list of the All Time Domestic Grossers (not adjusted)...

    http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/domestic.htmIndependence Day...although that could have been the movie that put Smith in that category. The first solid example of a mega-million star making a blockbuster would be Bruce Willis (who ironically started the whole mega-million salary race with Die Hard) with The Sixth Sense at No. 21.

    You don't need a name actor to make a successful movie.

    Granted, a name will usually guarantee a fairly solid return on the studio's investment, but is the pain really worth it? To paraphrase David Mamet, actors are nothing more than stubborn props. Why give them more of an edge? From accounts, Jim Carrey took a remake of a movie - Fun with Dick and Jane - that had no demand for a remake and managed to ratchet the budget up over $100 M with his prima donna demands. The film returned $110 M on domestic, but was saved by an international BO of $91 M.

    The film could have been comfortably been made on just Carrey's $25 M salary with lesser expensive/known actors getting a shot at the golden ring. Hell, if you want to go with names with more talent than Carrey and costar Tia Leone, actors like Steve Carrell and Tina Fey could have been cast for under $10 M...combined.

    It seems to me that the studios would be better served grooming unknown or more modest actors and getting out of the rut of spending $30 to $50 M just to cast the picture. When was the last time that you paid to see a movie only because a certain actor was in it?
    "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

    My YouTube channel.

  • #2
    Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

    Originally posted by Signal30
    Granted, a name will usually guarantee a fairly solid return on the studio's investment
    you've pretty much just answered your own question.

    if you go to boxofficemojo and see carrey's per movie average it's ~$100 million. studios see that as "jim carrey + comedy = cha-ching!".
    Aiming for mediocrity and falling well short =)

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    • #3
      Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

      So they see his $100 M average and dump $100 M into his next vehicle?

      Not a good business plan in my opinion, unless they're just using him to cook the books.
      "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

      My YouTube channel.

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      • #4
        Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

        that's $100 million domestic. roughly the same for international, factor in DVD sales and broadcasting rights and the film's in the black pretty quick. all for a bad comedy that someone forgot to add the funny to.

        more than anything else attaching a big name star will help producers get a movie made. if they go to the studios saying "we've got this great script and jim carrey wants to do it" it's gonna get greenlit. attach a no name actor and the studios might walk, even if the script is great, because it's too much of a risk financially. they want a sure thing, and carrey is pretty much that (as long as it's not artsy independent stuff ala ESOTSM).

        most people who go to see movies decide based on either the trailer, the poster, or the star. i can't tell you how many bad movies i've been dragged to because of "well so-and-so is in that one let's go see it".
        Aiming for mediocrity and falling well short =)

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        • #5
          Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

          There was a time when a movie star's name carried a lot of cachet at the top of a marquee. The audience today is far more jaded and needs to see a compelling trailer in order to get their butts into the theater. They have to be intrigued—the first Matrix trailer did that very well—by something they haven't seen before.

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          • #6
            Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

            I think Bad Boys' $140M worldwide BO take on a $23M budget might have had something to do with Will Smith's rise to mega-star. Well, that and his hiphop career and wildly successful sitcom.

            And Jim Carrey is a hell of an actor as The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine clearly show. He won Best Actor Golden Globes for the first two and should have had an Oscar nom for the latter.
            http://confoundedfilms.com

            http://www.myspace.com/confoundedfilms

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            • #7
              Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

              Originally posted by creativexec
              Recent precedents have been set and the tide is slowly turning.

              Studios are starting to play hardball and are willing to walk away from a project if the above-the-line is too high - regardless of the talent involved.
              AKA The "Used Guys" Effect.

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              • #8
                Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

                Stars don't make blockbusters, blockbusters make stars...

                Then why isn't Jeff Goldblum a major star?

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                • #9
                  Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

                  Originally posted by Landis26
                  Stars don't make blockbusters, blockbusters make stars...

                  Then why isn't Jeff Goldblum a major star?
                  AKA the "Jeff Goldblum Effect."

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                  • #10
                    Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

                    Originally posted by Joe Unidos
                    AKA The "Used Guys" Effect.

                    And RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT. That's two Jim Carrey vehicles scrapped within, like, seven months of one another....
                    Last edited by MacG; 08-23-2006, 03:37 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

                      Which means more money for the writers....right?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Stars don't make Blockbusters, Blockbusters make stars...

                        Originally posted by MacG
                        Which means more money for the writers....right?

                        ...and a leading role.
                        Felicitations, malefactors! I am endeavoring to misappropriate the formulary for the preparation of saleable screenplays. WHO WILL JOIN ME!

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