The Regimen‘s latest podcast O Stars, Where art thou? (you can take a listen on our site or on iTunes) laments that stars of today aren’t really the same as the stars of yesterday. The franchises and intellectual property (famous characters from comic books, TV shows and best sellers) are more important to audiences than stars. Except when it comes to comedies and I argued that is the only genre where audiences gravitate to stars.
And the box office chart from this weekend perfectly nails our theory: #1 Toy Story 3, #2 Grown Ups and pulling in third is Knight and Day. So, popular sequel went first, then a comedy starring Adam Sandler and the fun action movie with superstar Tom Cruise pulled up last. Por que?
Few obvious reasons:
- Pixar as a brand is the best in the business. We will see anything with their name on it. It’s not just little kids flocking to see this stuff.
- Is Cruise’s star fading? In this genre, Yes. Cruise has been so famous for so long (25 years at least) and the ripple effect of “jumping the couch” has finally settled.
- So Adam Sandler is a bigger star than Tom Cruise? Yes, and no. Yes, in a generic “Adam Sandler comedy” he will do better here in the US than a “Tom Cruise movie”…but overseas Cruise’s brand is as strong as ever. Sandler’s movies have a ceiling. They do between $100M and $120M. Cruise’s range is much bigger.
PS – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse will do better than Sandler and Cruise.