Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Topic Of The Day: Why Some Actors Are Labeled Box Office Poison

Hello, Bloggers, for today's Topic Of The Day, I figured I'd discuss something I have meant to for quite a while. There have been plenty of actors over the years that have from time to time been labeled "Box Office Poison" because they have had trouble opening a film on their own. So, I figured I'd provide my own insight as to why that may be.

   The first actor I will discuss is someone who has had quite a spotty track record in recent years: Johnny Depp. Now, before he became Jack Sparrow, he was more of a critical darling than a box office draw. But when he became Jack Sparrow and made more films with Tim Burton, all audiences wanted to see him as was the eccentric-Jack Sparrow type and that didn't allow him to challenge himself which could do some damage to an actor that catches the fire while it is still hot. If they stick to the same role in their prime, then by the time they run out of steam, they have difficulty finding a mainstream audience because now that audiences have seemed to move on to other actors and that Depp continues to do the Jack Sparrow routine, he hasn't become the draw he used to be. A similar case can be made with Robert Downey, Jr. except while he can still pull in a crowd, it is only when he has the Iron Man suit on as The Judge's box office numbers have pointed out. Also like Depp, RDJ was a bigger critical darling before he became a franchise powerhouse. Now that I think about it, this has me fearing for Jennifer Lawrence, another critical darling turned franchise powerhouse, once she is done with Katniss and Mystique.

   Now, for the next case study, I will go into an actress who has still proven herself to be a big draw to prove why actresses like her bring in tickets while others haven't had much luck: Sandra Bullock. While I am a fan of hers, some may wonder why she fills seats. But it is because she appeals to both genders. Women like watching her acting and that she isn't trying or never tried to sell sex while she also does films that appeal to the male demographic as well as to females. Same reason audiences have loved Julia Roberts and even Cameron Diaz. While they are all strikingly beautiful, they hardly ever take roles that focus solely on their beauty. That's why names like Demi Moore, Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and to a certain extent, Scarlett Johansson have had spotty B.O. track records. A good chunk of the roles they have taken were based solely on their looks and as a result, had given them a more limited audience.

  A similar case to Bullock can be made with actors, like Channing Tatum. In 2012, which was his breakout year, he proved he can handle romantic dramas for females (The Vow), raunchy comedies (21 Jump Street), and comedy-dramas (Magic Mike). Plus, he has done action with White House Down and will tackle the role of Gambit in X-Men: Apocalypse and in an upcoming solo film. There is also Bradley Cooper, who has done comedies, action, dramas, indie fare, and even voice work while still managing critics cred. Their succeses might have me hopeful for Paul Rudd, who is normally known for comedies, but is slightly changing things up by demonstrating his superhero chops with Ant-Man and even doing smaller indie films. So, the reason that artists like Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, and Bradley Cooper have become big draws is because of their ability to successfully tackle different genres and appeal to different crowds.

  So, my theory as to why some actors receive the unfortunate label of box office poison is because they either limit themselves to one role or genre or only have franchises keeping their profile afloat. If you have your own theories on this topic, please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!