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July 16, 2006

Hollywood Cuts Salaries Of Top Stars

It's about time, really. There is a whole crop of second-tier stars who are more interesting than those on the A-list. Johnny Depp, Vince Vaughan, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, etc. (PS: How funny is it that tabloids now routinely call Owen Wilson "The Butterscotch Stallion"? And how funny is it that he showed up on Jon Stewart baked off his Butterscotch Stallion ass?)

Why pay Tom Cruise $30 million when you can pay, say, Clive Owen $7 million? Why pay Harrison "Block of Inanimate Rock" Ford $20 million when you can pay Kurt Russel $8 million?

What I think is odd is that these a lot of these high-cost genre pictures started starring A-list stars with their requisite A-list celebrities. When I was a kid, big, dumb movies like War of the Worlds never starred someone like Tom Cruise. They always had an "all-star cast," which usually meant a list of old-Hollywood faded stars and cheap younger talent like (at that time) Gene Hackman, plus O.J. Simspon, for some reason. O.J. Simpson was in every genre picture made in the 1970's.

If you're making a Juraissic Park, it's smart to put Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum in as its stars. They're not really stars with drawing power, but they're good actors, and no one's going to see Juraissic Park to see big-name celebrities anyhow, for crying out loud.

It's also annoying that the top Hollywood earners are also kinda lame actors, isn't it? With a few of exceptions, like Sean Connery and Denzel Washington and a few others, movies would be better if all the A-listers were summarily fired and replaced en masse with their B-list betters. The only guys really earning their big paychecks are the comedy guys like Jim Carey and Adam Sandler (and yeah, even Eddie Murphy), because in comedy, the star is prety much the whole movie.

Celebrity "Journalism" And Stars On The Cheap: I wonder if the huge celebrity "journalism" industry is making it easier for Hollywood to mint new stars. They are voracious in their need to print scoops about anyone who's ever been on tv or in a movie, and maybe they're doing Hollywood a service by keeping more lower-tier "stars" in the public eye, thus reducing the "celebrity premium" on someone like, say, Tom Cruise.

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posted by Ace at 06:20 PM

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