Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Never mind the Bullock

There’s a slightly scary truth at the heart of Forbes magazine’s recent list of the best-paid female actors (thank you, Irish Times style book). We’re not talking about the news that Sandra Bullock has made it to the top spot. …

Thu, Aug 5, 2010, 12:51

   

There’s a slightly scary truth at the heart of Forbes magazine’s recent list of the best-paid female actors (thank you, Irish Times style book). We’re not talking about the news that Sandra Bullock has made it to the top spot. She’s a hard worker and a good sport. More to the point, The Proposal and The Blind Side were genuine breakout hits.

Actual photo of Sandra Bullock not getting out of bed for less than $56 million.

No. The slight chill comes from the knowledge that the remaining places in the top five are taken up by, in order: Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against any of these actresses… sorry female actors. But, consider the most recent¬† film each of them has made: Four Christmases, Knight and Day, The Bounty Hunter,¬† Sex and the City 2. It’s a fairly gruesome bunch (though this week’s Knight and Day is reasonably diverting). More importantly, all of these films performed below the studio’s expectations. Look back further in the top five’s CV’s and financial triumphs remain elusive.

Next in the list is Julia Roberts, who hasn’t had a proper hit since the 17th century. After her, we get Angelina Jolie — number two, you might have predicted — who actually has delivered two successes recently: Salt did okay; Wanted was a minor smash.

Here’s my point. If the most highly paid female actors (groan) in Hollywood can’t bring in the bucks then surely nobody can. It looks as if the star system is dead — or, like Monty Python’s parrot, is “all shagged out after a long squawk”.

Male stars have only a tiny bit more pulling power (mainly in Rest of World). Consider this year’s worldwide box-office top ten. It’s not exactly coming down with star vehicles. Is it?

1. Alice in Wonderland
2. Toy Story 3
3. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
4. Shrek Forever After
5. Iron Man 2
6. Clash of the Titans
7. How to Train Your Dragon
8. Inception
9. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
10. Robin Hood