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Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

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Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

Post by Katiedot on Tue Apr 09 2013, 12:52

So true about the difference between a movie star and a celebrity. I'm still not convinced by the 'it isn't just the money they make for the studios' argument though. I think that does have a lot to do with whether an actor is considered a star or not, but hell, I don't want to live in a world where Shia Leboeuf is a star and George Clooney isn't.

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Is the age of the movie star dead?



Truly, we live in a golden age of movies (he said sarcastically).

Consider Forbes' list of most bankable actors, the ticket-buyers' "people's choice." Apparently, the top three male movie stars of the century are Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter).

Twilight's Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart also make the list. Take heart, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. At least the paparazzi and ET still consider you hot stuff -- at least as hot as any Kardashian.

Of course, none of those three has shown they can carry a movie outside their franchise (raise your hands, both of you who saw Pattinson in Cosmopolis). But if you don't need $25-mil a-picture A-listers to make billions, the writing may be on the wall for the very existence of the traditional "movie star."

Ironically, in a little more than a century, Hollywood may have come full circle on this issue. When the first studios started, the owners were dead set against releasing the names of the actors in their films, reasoning that actors with a fanbase would want more money. A Canadian, Florence Lawrence -- a public sensation as The Biograph Girl -- effectively went on strike to become the first bona fide movie star.

End of history lesson.

Money was the issue then, and it's the issue now. With downloading and Netflix and other pressures on the business model, mid-priced movies are being forced out of existence. There are mainly only nine-figure budgeted blockbusters and seven-figure indie films (where the likes of Pattinson, Stewart and Radcliffe are employed these days).

And the Hanks, Clooneys, Pitts, Depps and Cruises of the world? Hanks' last hit was in his own mini-franchise, the Da Vinci Code sequel Angels and Demons (which came with its own pre-existing audience, via the Dan Brown books). Pitt's Killing Them Softly died at the box office. His zombie apocalypse movie World War Z might bring his average up, but it's been a reportedly troubled project. And even if it's a hit, will it be certain that Pitt was responsible any more than LaBeouf was responsible for Transformers success?

Depp has yet to do much when not dressed as a pirate. And Cruise's cred seems pretty much used up since Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol (again, a franchise).

We live in a world where Kevin James [who? - Katiedot] is a bigger box office draw than George Clooney. And he will be until he demands too much money.

As for actresses, big names are on the "least bankable" list, including Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore and Sandra Bullock.

Who needs movie stars? Sure, Robert Downey Jr. fronts two franchises (Iron Man/Avengers and Sherlock Holmes). But again, they're franchises. And beyond him, the Avengers are a pretty unfamous lot. Mark Ruffalo? I doubt many Avengers fans subsequently checked out his acting chops in The Kids Are All Right.

In five years, I predict the biggest grossing actor will be, "y'know, that guy."

Jim Slotek:

Movie stars are defined by their fans. Certain actors have some ineffable quality that the camera captures and the public recognizes, and while star quality is hard to define, there's no question that it exists.

It isn't always related to earning power.

Despite what Mr. Slotek writes, 'most bankable actors' is a category worked out by a mathematical formula. The top of the heap among women is Natalie Portman, and that's because Black Swan was an indie film that cost $13 million to make and went on to earn $329 million. Small outlay, big return. You can do the math. The pencil lickers in Hollywood may like the ratio of cost to profit, but it has nothing to do with real star power or movie star-ness.

You'd think that the sorry state of the business would affect a movie star's general profile, but it doesn't always work that way. Regardless of their fee, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are indeed movie stars, as are Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig. So is Julia Roberts, which sort of underlines how the criteria for all this are a mystery.

Like Greta Garbo, all these actors could walk tomorrow, and they'd still be movie stars to a whole generation of filmgoers.

The movies need movie stars. Such actors as Ryan Gosling, Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain, all of whom made an immediate impact with their first dramatic movie role, appear to be movie stars in the making. Kevin James is completely adorable and his movies make lots of money, but he is not a movie star and despite what Slotek says, he's not a bigger box-office draw than George Clooney.

'Bankability' and 'movie star' are not interchangeable terms. Mr. Slotek points out that Robert Pattinson, Daniel Radcliffe and Shia LaBeouf are 'the most bankable' actors, and bully for them. Slotek then says this makes them the top movie stars of the century, which is incorrect.

Slotek says this is all about money, and we would never argue that. We'd say, in fact, it's about more than money -- it's about greed. That's why crap blockbuster after crap blockbuster is the only thing available at the box office, when audiences are clearly hungry for more than that. If mid-priced films are being forced out of existence, it could be because the $200 million CGI extravaganza has sucked every dollar out of the system. The bigger the budget, the greater the hysteria over the take on opening weekend, and round and round it goes.

But never mind. The blockbusters might be where the industry is right now, but movie stars are here to stay. It's like the difference between fashion and style. Daniel Craig and Mark Ruffalo were established for their acting skills long before anybody got Hulkified or went off on Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Maybe "Y'know, that guy," will indeed be the biggest grossing actor in five years, or maybe it will be Kim Kardashian or some other famous person. Those earnings can make you rich and they can make you a celebrity, but they don't necessarily make you a movie star. There's talent involved in that title, and it's not something money can buy. It's conferred on you by the movie audience, and it's not because they're buying a $12.50 ticket.

It's because they're buying what you're selling, and they always will.


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Re: Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

Post by theminis on Tue Apr 09 2013, 13:04

To me being a true movie star as opposed to a celebrity, has more to do with that certain charisma that all the greats have, that appeal that is never fading, that quality that keeps on attracting the fans regardless of box office hits/failures, charisma, sophistication, the ability to completely transfix you - its the whole package of who they are not just on the screen too. Oh well that's just my opinion however inarticulate - Paul Newman had it, Robert Redford has it, Al Pacino, De-niro, Elizabeth Taylor, Dicaprio and yes George Clooney definitely has it.

Some of the bankable stars are only there as they were lucky enough to sign up for movies that were part of franchises or 6 part novels, Harry Potter, Transformers, Twilight etc - made a lot of money but I'd never consider any of them movie stars - though I think in years to come Robert Pattinson may just do it.


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Re: Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

Post by Joanna on Tue Apr 09 2013, 14:28

....and our lovely other Robert too !!
Tha main one actually....Lol

George Clooney fan forever!

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Re: Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

Post by NotAvailable on Tue Apr 09 2013, 14:42

You are right, theminis. Actors whose films bank more do not necessarily become a hit movie star. They have to woo the fans just like the older crew of real movie stars do and have done. Real talent and real charm/charisma, are learned and used properly. They either have it, or they don't. Laughing

More than a little bit enthusiastic about Clooney

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Re: Is the age of the movie star dead? George Clooney mention

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