Death Of The Movie Star – R.I.P. (1920-2009)

Take a look at the top five grossing films of the year.

1.    AVATAR
5.    UP

Did you happen to notice there isn’t a ‘Marquee’ name amongst them? Sure people are familiar with the name Daniel Radcliff, and Robert Pattison. Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are famous, but none are ‘Movie Stars’. The appeal of most of 2009’s biggest hits were the films themselves. Whether it was the CGI spectacle of ‘Transformers 2’ , the 3D worlds of ‘AVATAR’, the love triangle in ‘New Moon’, or the ridiculous comedic situations in ‘The Hangover’. Audiences went to films in record numbers during 2009 spending over $10 billion in domestic ticket sales, aided by the highest grossing film of all time (in unadjusted numbers) for ‘AVATAR’.

To be fair many top stars had either no films slated for release or films that were pushed back to 2010. Top draws such as Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and Leonardo Dicaprio were absent from screens last year. Brad Pitt had a nice hit with ‘INGLORIOUS BASTERDS’, but that has to do more with Tarantino’s fan base than Pitt’s star power. Johnny Depp and Vince Vaughn had solid hits in ‘PUBLIC ENEMIES’ and ‘COUPLES RETREAT’, respectively. But Tom Hanks stumbled with ‘ANGLES & DEMONS’, which grossed half of its predecessor’s 2006 ‘DA’ VINCI CODE’. Bruce Willis crashed with the expensive flop ‘SURROGATES’ and Adam Sandler’s ‘FUNNY PEOPLE’ barely cracked the $50 million mark.

Maybe audiences are growing tired of aging actors. Young up and comers navigated a number of films to box office riches. Channing Tatum helped ‘G.I. JOE’ open to $54 million and a worldwide gross of $300 million. Shia LaBeouf’s sizeable fan base and Megan Fox’s sex appeal propelled ‘Transformers 2’ to over $400 million domestically and into the top ten grossing films of all time. The biggest opening weekend of 2009 goes to ‘New Moon’. A media frenzy detailing Pattison and Stewart’s relationship and Lautner’s abs sold many magazines which in turn generated an amazing amount of interest in the modestly budgeted film. It’s easy to forget because of ‘AVATAR’s phenomenal box office run, that ‘New Moon’ still holds the record for largest single day in the history of box office tracking at $73 million. That’s nearly what ‘AVATAR’ made in its entire opening weekend! It’s no wonder Paramount has signed Lautner to a multi-picture deal. Reportedly to star alongside Tom Cruise in a quasi sequel to ‘TOP GUN’ currently titled ‘Northern Lights’. Further down the ladder is Zac Effron who delivered solid business for ’17 AGAIN’ doing over $60 million domestically. Which is especially impressive considering that film wasn’t an event picture or sequel released during the summer or holiday season. Rather a ‘BIG’-type knock off released in the typically barren spring season. I saw girls taking pictures next to the poster on separate occasions last March; this kid is going to be around for awhile.

Several actresses scored major hits in 2009. Among them was Katherine Heigl who expanded on her ’27 Dresses’ success by scoring with ‘The Ugly Truth’, which grossed nearly $90 million domestically. Meryl Streep also continued her hot streak, with two films ‘Julia & Julia’ and ‘It’s Complicated’ grossing over $110 million domestically apiece. But no other star burned brighter in 2009 than Sandra Bullock. After a few years absence, she returned to the screen and audiences welcomed her back in droves. First pushing last summer’s ‘The Proposal’ to over $160 million domestically, ranking it as the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time. Then there was ‘The Blindside’ which astonished analysts by grossing close to $250 million in the U.S. alone, ranking it as the bestselling sports film of all time.

Will the stars shine at the box office again? With new releases from Tom Cruise, Leonardo Dicaprio, Russell Crowe, Adam Sandler, and Robert Downey Jr., it will be interesting to see how well they rebound in 2010. The numbers never lie.

30 thoughts on “Death Of The Movie Star – R.I.P. (1920-2009)

  • June 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    more like kids and teens vs adult movies
    quality vs quantity
    CGI vs actors and amazing scripts

    hot teens are nothing outside their popular franchise..their movies flop
    look at actors outside their superhero flicks except Downey but his movies
    outside Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes dont do well

  • April 7, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    In order to be a big movie star nowadays you need to do some mindless blockbusters which are the only movies that are making tons of money at the box office. Most People will no longer go see a great real film about real problems, they want giant robots and lots of CGI and no plot. Most true actors are not willing to do such rubbish films and instead choose to do smaller indie films even thought those films will not be hits at the box office. If It’s a wonderful life or Casablanca or Some like it hot or Psycho came out today they would flop at the box office because the masses are no longer interested in those kinds of films. The only actor who does those kinds of real well written films consistently and still is a bankable star is DiCaprio.

  • April 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    It’s because today’s actors don’t care about being movie stars, they just want to be thespians. Look at the likes of Day Lewis and Theron and Sean Penn and others like them, they turn down potential hits and instead do low budget gritty stuff that obviously won’t do well in the box office. The days of film artists caring about being as famous as possible are long gone, now they want to be remembered as being great actors rather than being famous people with hit films.

    Oh and Chuck, DiCaprio is widely considered a great actor, even by people who know far more about acting than you…. the likes of Scorsese and Spielberg and Day Lewis.

  • April 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    It’s not only spam protection but also idiot protection!

  • April 5, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    God (if she exists! LOL) bless them, there will always be movie stars. We may just be in a fallow period. BTW, have to laugh at the posting requiring math skills – that is the first time I’ve seen this. LOL.

  • February 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    On the debate as to whether having a major star in a movie is a good thing or a bad thing, it really just depends. Certain movies might suffer from having a face so familiar that it inhibits you from fully immersing yourself into the movie. Other movies though need that familiar face to bring a certain feeling that is already associated with than actor. Many action stars fall into the latter category. People would watch and enjoy an Arnold or a Stallone movie simply because they were the stars. The audience for these movies has a certain expectation about what the movie stars bring to the film.

  • February 5, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Correction, yes the first Conan movie was two years earlier, I just noticed, so I may be wrong on the point about Schwarzenegger, maybe he was a star by the time Terminator came out, at least among the science-fiction/fantasy audience, if not the general public.

  • February 5, 2010 at 4:18 am

    to clarify, I meant that when these films first came out they were not carried by big star names.
    Jaws -known actors with a track record but not stars,
    Star Wars – a bunch of unknowns,
    Alien – same, plus a couple of known faces but not really stars, Raiders -in 1981 Harrison Ford was not HARRISON FORD!, he was “that guy from Star Wars”.
    The Terminator – Arnold was an a bodybuilder with some film credits hadn’t made him a star by then (The Jayne Mansfield Story?), Conan came out in the same year, so would seem he was just on the threshold.
    Nobody went to see these films because of who was in them.

  • February 5, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Its a good post. Looks like i am back in on this. Lets talk again about generations (see David G post above) and for me I love Boko’s post above. No new stars, who went forward. Check out the list lets move through it Star wars (Harrison Ford)Jaws (Dreyfuss, have a look at the body of work.
    and for the older generation Schneider)Raiders (Harrison is a movie star)

    Alien (Introduces someone called Sigourney Weaver, for newbies Avator, for others working girl ghostbusters etc,and my apologies to the new range of the woman generation as it requires more space)The terminator Nope no movie star generated here. Perhaps the biggest star for five years. “Although they became stars” nice

    Well, lets have a look lets move to who I think are “movie stars” now. Actually lets not. I will throw some names in the mix. These are gone now p[may they rest in way my friends Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchet, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt. Who RIP who are the new stars. Condition is they need 3 good movies to there name. Go (ok its friday night)


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