Gavin Polone strikes again. Gotta love this guy’s brain:
Polone: Why There Are No Sure-Thing Movie Stars Anymore, But Hollywood Pretends There Are
by Gavin Polone
The problem with the idea of the “movie star” is that film studios buy into it. This results in good movies not getting made because they haven’t attracted a star and bad movies going into production because they did get a big name to sign on the line that is dotted. On almost every film I have produced, the final hurdle to being green-lit was getting a studio-approved actor to say “yes.”
On several occasions, studio executives have suggested that we should reimagine and rewrite the lead character of a movie, to the detriment of the film, just so we would have a better chance of securing a star; usually this involves making that character older or younger and on occasion changing its gender or race, which inevitably undermines the story. Studios see having a “star” in a film as an insurance policy against loss, but that’s like a policy written by a company with no capital behind it.
A 1999 study done by Rutgers University economics professor S. Abraham Ravid found that “there is no statistical correlation between stars and success.” And this study looked at movies released between 1991–93, a time when stars were regularly demanding far bigger salaries than they are now . Studios willfully refuse to accept this fact, needing everyone to believe in a star system, because it gives them an important wall to hide behind when a film bombs: “It isn’t my fault, I got Russell Crowe to do the movie.”
Bottom line, as paraphrased by David Lieberman at Deadline.Com:
Well, hey, we’re certainly up with the “driven by stories” thing. (But “directors…?” Gonna have to think about that a bit.)