Saturday, February 7, 2009

The movie star bites the dust

Christopher Goodwin from The First Post thinks that the $20 million deal is over. He dregs up exhibit A, B, C, and D - the impending clusterfuck of doom recession, union disunity, plummeting DVD sales, and the "inability of any major star to guarantee that a film will make a profit". However, I don't fully agree with this hair on fire assessment:

Final proof that star power means nothing in today’s Hollywood came when Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith, who many had called Hollywood's last movie star, foundered at the box office when it opened just before Christmas.
This is hardly proof. At least not in Will Smith's case. Will Smith had a smash hit with the weirdness that was Hancock last summer, and Seven Pounds isn't the first film of Smith's to crash and burn. He bounced back after the Bagger Vance nightmare stronger than ever. Were it any other star I would be inclined to agree with Goodwin 100%. But not when he cites Will Smith.

Goodwin writes that Hollywood is not going in the direction of the star, but rather that of the franchise:
These days it's the franchises owned and controlled by the studios - series like Batman, Harry Potter, Transformers, Mission Impossible and next summer's Star Trek and X-Men sequels - which are the big money earners.

A good example of the kind of starless film Hollywood is increasingly betting on is the adolescent vampire romance Twilight, based on the popular book series.

So what's the future of movies according to Goodwin? It's grim:

As the recession bites and audiences look to the movies for entertainment and a way out of the gloom, Hollywood is looking forward to clearing heavy-duty Oscar movies out of the cinemas so it can slot in more starless franchises and comedies like the current US box office champ, Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

God help us all. I'd rather watch Seven Pounds on loop. If the future of mainstream cinema is Paul Blart, Hollywood cannot be surprised when people illegally download its middling wastes of celluloid.

What do you think people? Is it over for the movie star? And if it is, which movie star would you like to see go away?

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