When Talking Movies first aired 20 years ago, A-listers like Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts had enormous clout; they were able to command huge box-office numbers just by appearing in a film. Nowadays the landscape is very different. Although big stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio exist – they’re far from infallible.
“The movie star’s power has been supplanted by the franchise’s power,” explains Ben Fritz, author of The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies. “Consumers consider themselves loyal to a certain franchise and brand rather than to a movie star.”
Some savvy actors such as Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr have aligned themselves with successful franchises, which has helped them retain their influence for longer. And there are still a handful of exceptional stars who prove a big draw at the box office.