Why Do We Do It?

Hollywood is driven by actors. Ask anyone, the most pampered part of the movie machine is the Actor. We bend over backwards to get them, and then bend further back to keep them happy.

This isn't going to be a rant about how actors are no more important than anybody else on the planet. (It easily could be but...BORING!) I'm attacking the fact that Hollywood covets their movie stars, while the box office projects a different picture.

If Actors are king (because they put butts in the seats) then the World's biggest movie stars are...

1. Johnny Depp
2. Tobey Maguire
3. Daniel Radcliffe
4. Mike Meyers
5. Shia LaBeouf
6. Gerard Butler
7. Dan Castellaneta
8. Bruce Willis
9. Patton Oswald
10. George Clooney, with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and others

But we all know that's not true. People didn't line up for SPIDY 3 because of Tobey. In fact, the recurring rumor of replacing Tobey with Jake Gyllenhaal was met with a collective shrug.

Of the 10 biggest films this year (and congrats to everyone who can figure out the titles based on the above list) only #8, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD could be called a bonafide One Star Showcase. To that I say, if Willis is such a draw, where were his fans when PERFECT STRANGER, ALPHA DOG, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, 16 BLOCKS and HOSTAGE opened?

By the way, continue down the list and you get more of the same.

11. The cast of FANTASTIC FOUR. (You tell me who the biggest star is.)
12. John Travolta...WITH Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence
Three movie stars that can no longer open a film just by themselves.
13. Nicholas Cage
This is the first film to validate the Actor as King theory. Cage headlined a little known comic book that became a mostly crappy movie and the film made over $220 million Worldwide. That's star power.
14. Rowan Atkinson (Everywhere but America)
15. Seth Rogan
16. Eddie Murphy
Our second Actor/King took original material, created one of the worst comedies of all time, and collected almost $160 million.
17. Matt Damon

Also co-headlining #10 (OCEAN'S 13) and THE DEPARTED. He may be our biggest movie star right now. He doesn't just star in franchises...he creates them.

Now, here's the same top 10, but the way it should read...
The Biggest Stars in the World Right now are...

1. Captain Jack Sparrow
2. Spider-Man
3. Harry Potter
4. Shrek
5. Transformers
6. Spartans
7. Simpsons
8. John McClane
9. Pixar
10. George Clooney, with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and others

Which goes to show 3 things...

1. Our biggest stars right now are not Actors, but recognizable Brand Names. Actors are simply part of the machinery and should not be treated any better than the director, the Writer or the Prop Master. (Guess I was made that argument too.)

2. If you want to keep your movie star egos in check, have 2-13 of them in your film at once.

3. If you are looking for a star, start with Matt Damon.

I can think of only one actor who can open an original film from any genre everytime he tries...


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