We did this for the first time last month, and I think it's a perspective worth offering at the start of each month, particularly during a season when the stakes are so financially important to the industry as a whole.
For the purposes of this conversation, it's important to start from a common definition of movie star. There's several different metrics you can use. There are people who are positively incandescent when they show up in front of a camera, and you can't get enough of just looking at them. They were born to be photographed. Light bends differently off of them. In a case like that, you could say someone has “movie-star charisma.” That is a necessary quality for a movie star, but that's not all that is involved.
For someone to really qualify for the term, they have to be able to attract a certain-sized audience for whatever they are in. They are the reason you are buying a ticket, and that's exactly what the industry wants from them. I can't tell you how many times, when I was working the box office at the various theater jobs that I had, people would walk up and say something like, “I'd like one for Eddie Murphy.” They had no idea what he was doing in the film. All they knew was they saw him on the poster outside, and they wanted to see him.
The people we have on the hot seat in these articles each month are people who are either wrestling with how strong they still are, commercially, or how successful they might be if things continue the way they've been going or who are totally unproven, but with all the heat in the world on them at this particular moment. These are either movie stars on the wane, movie stars on the rise, or people who would make the industry very very happy if they turn out to be someone they can look to for a guaranteed return.
June's interesting because we've got one of the biggest living movie stars on the planet in the mix, as well as some folks who have never really had a hit to call their own. Curious to see which of these you agree with, which ones you wan to argue about, and how all of this shakes out in the end.
We'll be back at the start of July and August to do this again, so there's a lot of summer left to enjoy.
Check out the six hot seat stars in the embedded gallery at the bottom of this post. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.