August 30, 2006

Duh Report

A growing cadre of academics – yes, that would be a cadre of them - studying how movies are made, financed and distributed, are finding that the studio’s assumption that big stars will increase a movie’s bottom line is simply wrong.

“There is no statistical correlation between stars and success”

Once other factors influencing the success of a film were considered, a star had no impact on its rate of return. Employing a star had virtually no discernible impact on the box office itself.


“Looking across a sample of more than 2,000 movies exhibited between 1985 and 1996, they found that only seven actors and actresses — Tom Hanks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jodie Foster, Jim Carrey, Barbra Streisand and Robin Williams — had a positive impact on the box office, mostly in the first few weeks of a film’s release.”

(Hello? Where is Julia Roberts hiding when you want to give a Duh Report?)

Update: Speaking of Julia Roberts, she of the proudly hairy armpits: seems Ms Roberts has an increasing number of hairy hygiene habits that the rest of us tend to eschew. She recently discussed how she hates washing her hair, and likes to stretch a salon done hair-doo to the very limits of decency and humanity. “After he does my hair, I won’t do anything to it for two weeks,” she gushed. “I can go a good 10 days before it gets greasy.” Or smelly, or messy, or dandruffy, or plain eeeewwwwy.


  1. Surely you don't mean to suggest that intelligent scripting, artful cinematography, thoughtful editing, nuanced performances, considered direction, and thorough production values could have any influence on a films success whatsoever? That's crazy!

  2. Well, just call me crazy!

    Oh, you did.

    Carry on, as you were.

  3. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Sorry. But I'd go to a Hezbollah bunker under attack in southern Beirut for a DVD screening hosted by Nasrallah himself if it was Pretty Woman. Or that Notting Hill thing. In fact anything with Julia Roberts in it.

    We all have our tastes. And weak points.

  4. Anonymous8:58 PM

    And ride the bicycle to keep the power flow up to the DVD machine.

  5. I can't think of a single movie that I watched because any of those stars was in it. I watch a movie for the story, not the ditzy actors.

  6. Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock! I have never met one person who claims to be a big fan. Not one! Where did this aura of immense popularity spring from?

  7. In fact, I've never met one person who claims to be a fan, let alone a big fan.

  8. Anonymous10:21 PM

    Too much Fan..dango Too much fan.dango
    Well that old demon-he won't set me free.
    Tooooo much fandango
    Tequila amd tango
    Well that old demon
    Made a fool out of me.....

  9. That list is intriguing James, no question about it.

    Robin Williams? Jeez, go figure. I like some of his work, with the emphasis on "some", but would never see a film purely because he is in it, in fact, that would be a reason to stay away, more often than not. A bit the same with Sandra Bullock.

    How does Michelle Pfeiffer find her way onto that list, when did she last make a film? Looks fabulous, always has, always will, but I can never name a film that she's been in, and she's done more than a few. Memorable for being anything other than an enviably gorgeous woman? I don't think so.

    Tom Hanks - easy peazy: he's every man, he's the blank page on which everything and nothing can be projected, the wall paper in every room, the perpetual filler for gaps in the conversation, or the script, the ever reliable spak filler, if you like.

  10. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Yeah you're right about Michelle Pfeiffer Caz.. She is gorgeous but you know , can't for the life of me remember a single one of her films..

    Oh I tell a lie .. There was one with ole' smilin' Jack Nicholson. Think he turned ino a wolf or something!

  11. I didn't see it, but wasn't
    Pfeiffer in one of the Batman movies? And what about that dinosaur, Barbra Streisand. When was her last movie?

  12. Too lazy to look it up, but wasn't Pfeiffer Catwoman?

    Foster was great in Silence of the Lambies, and Hanks has been good in several things, but I'd never go see a movie just because they were in it. The rest of 'em--particularly Sandra Bullock--yurch.

    timt, since Glenn Ford just died I'll nominate "Gilda" as a movie with all those weird qualities you mentioned.