Sunday, October 2, 2016

Topic Of The Day: Why Movie Stars DO Matter


We now live in a day and age where some of our biggest movie stars are fictional people in capes or tentpole brands. But looking at some of our latest new releases has me realizing that having an actual movie star in your film still does matter.

For example, the film Sully starring Tom Hanks recently came out and has already made $100m stateside, proving Hanks' bankability. If it had starred any other actor in the lead role, it likely would not have done as well and the everyman role of Sully is tailor made for Hanks' best skills since Hanks has built a career out of playing an everyman.

You also have Magnificent Seven which stars Denzel Washington. The film is a Western which is said to be a difficult genre to sell but it still opened in first place with $35m. The fact that it's in a difficult genre yet still performed well on its opening weekend shows that if you're doing a commercial film with a difficult genre, a difficult or confused premise, or even a film that is an unneeded remake, you need some star power.

Before Michael Fassbender was officially cast as Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs, names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Bradley Cooper were in the mix. Understandably so because with all due respect to Michael Fassbender who's a terrific amd well-regarded actor, the aforementioned names would've attracted more commercial interest in what is a rather uncommercial film. Also, they've guaranteed big box office openings while Fassbender still sadly has not.

I did an earlier blog post about what makes a movie star and discusses how the Ben-Hur remake underperformed because it didn't have any star power. If it had someone like Russell Crowe, whose been pretty reliable when it comes to period dramas, it would've done much better than it had.

So if you're doing a film that is uncommercial in terms of its plot or its genre and/or are doing a film that is a remake or based off an old television series and whatnot, it needs star power so it can guarantee a decent return. We may live in an age where people like Superman and Spider-Man have become big stars and even bigger than the actors portraying them. But when it comes to real-life movie stars, they still matter.

Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!