Do we even have more movie stars?
Real movie stars?
I mean, obviously we have actors At the movie theater.
But it’s not quite the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago – although I guess we still have some of the same actors from a long time ago. The first “Mission Impossible” came out in 1996 and Tom Cruise continues to make sequels, which people keep paying to see, which I think is pretty impossible.
I mean we lose the certainty that people will go to see a movie based uniquely on a specific actor being there. For a long time, this was an effective angle used by Hollywood to sell movies. They would try to tie Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mel Gibson or Julia Roberts to a movie to get interested. Hollywood wasn’t hiring them just for their ability to act, stunt, or look good, but for their marketing power.
It went far beyond just putting an actor’s name on a poster, but also depended on their participation in talk shows, interviews to sell the project. It was all part of the machine.
I remember when Tom Cruise was a big deal in 2005 that he completely stole all the media attention at the premiere of “Batman Begins,” a movie he wasn’t even in. Cruise was dating one of the stars. Maybe Cruise’s appearance was just a ruse so Batman could sneak up on him unnoticed.
But now we are in franchise cinema mode.
The biggest movies are based on comics or sequels of existing things, from “Avengers” to “The Matrix” to “Fast 9”. These are all reboots, prequels, and adaptations. Sure, there are notable actors in some of these movies – but is anyone going to see Gal Gadot’s new movie, or are people watching “Wonder Woman 1984” to see, you know. , Wonder Woman?
It’s pretty obvious that today the character matters more to people than the actor who plays them.
These franchises to do must be sure that they are not mistaken, but the biggest advantage is the brand as a whole. Hardly anyone has gone to see Angelina Jolie’s “Those Who Wish Me Dead”, but her next “Eternals” will probably do well as it’s a Marvel movie and has exploding volcanoes, winged demons and a guy shooting. the breath of Godzilla from his eyes. Pretty much all of Chris Hemsworth’s vehicles bomb at the box office – except when he’s Thor. The importance of talent and the adaptation of the character to films in general is clearly important, but the idea of a “movie star” having the power to draw crowds to other films, this has diminished.
The next generation of Hollywood can’t count on something like this returning.
None of this is to say that we still don’t have star power in another way. There are other places where stars catch the eye of our eyes i.e. social media and interviews etc. In an odd twist, studio officials are now using the cast of the Avengers films to promote Jimmy Kimmel, rather than the other way around.
Here is another example.
Margot Robbie’s faltering success as Harley Quinn has increased the box office returns of these films because the social media community is rallying behind her. The secondary market for films is clearly different, as DVD sales are not what they used to be. Streaming numbers can be kept secret. As for Robbie, the studios clearly recognize that there was something there and have given him three movies under the Harley name and cleared rumors of a fourth.
So audiences clearly like certain actors’ shots of certain characters. It becomes fairly clear which versions have autonomy and which do not. People hate the idea of seeing someone play Gandalf other than Ian McKellen because he’s such a good actor, was well chosen and did a great job. Reaching all of these brands is important for such an iconic role. The studios cannot let the strength of the brand carry the project. When the right fit is there, it strengthens the connection, but more importantly only to that particular performance.
The point is, the landscape has changed.
People don’t flock to see Hugh Jackman movies the same way they once went to see Tom Hanks. Hanks had a much more consistent draw in the 90s than Jackman did in the 2000s. Although for a long time, Hanks did not do multiple portrayals of a single character.
Well, not live, anyway.
Hanks eventually fell into franchises when “Toy Story” – and ultimately “The DaVinci Code – got a bunch of sequels. Still, his four times as Woody and three times as Robert Langdon are far less than Jackman’s nine times as Wolverine.
So people didn’t flock to see Jackman in “Kate & Leopold” as opposed to Hanks in “You’ve Got Mail” (sorry Meg Ryan …). Some characters work very well even if they have never had a sequel.
People love them from one movie.
It’s just not allowed anymore, of course, so Hollywood will eventually find a way to make a “Forest Gump vs. Wolverine” movie.
And that will bring in a billion dollars.
Oliver Graves is an award-winning stand-up comic and columnist. “Oliver’s World” takes place every two weeks in the Argus-Courier. Learn more at OliverGraves.com or on Oliver’s Facebook page.