The Independent’s Mark Hooper writes:
It’s been an extraordinary few months for Hollywood’s A-list actors: embarrassing outbursts, drunken tirades and – here’s the real issue – their films tanking spectacularly at the box office. Are we witnessing the last generation of true movie stars?
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The isolated incidents with major stars hint at a much larger truth: the business of movie-making is undergoing a major shift, one that will be felt a long way from California. The reality is stark and impossible to ignore. Box-office figures are down: the returns from 2005 – due to high-profile flops such as The Island and Kingdom of Heaven – were the lowest for 15 years. DVD sales, so lucrative during the past few (omega) years, have flattened. Piracy is rampant: according to industry experts, illegal copying now accounts for $1.3bn annually in lost revenue in the US alone. All the while, the stars want more money for their performances. In 1995, the average cost of making and marketing a movie was $54.1m; by last year, it had spiralled to $96.2m.
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So, what does this mean for the stars? Film magazine Premiere recently claimed that we are witnessing the demise of “the last unironic movie-star generation”.(omega) Certainly, Russell Crowe and the rest had better get used to considerably deflated salaries. In another high-profile case, 20th Century Fox and Universal clashed with the mighty Peter Jackson, Oscar-winning director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, over wage demands – the Jackson-produced Halo, based on the video game of the same name, has since been halted.
At this point, do I even need to say it?