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Category:    Home > Essays > Filmmaking > Film Business > News > Analysis > Overpaid Actors or Overpriced Movies?

Overpaid Actors or Overpriced Movies?


By Nicholas Sheffo



A new list of the most overpaid actors was recently announced and it has some names we expected and a few we did not.  There was Drew Barrymore, still reeling from the disaster that will always be Charlie’s Angles – Full Throttle and producing more projects as shallow or dull, making her a sad #1 on the list.  Perpetual tax write-off Eddie “I’ll skip the Oscars” Murphy was #2 and only likely missed the top spot because one of his latest overproduced, overpriced disasters was so bad, said studio kept delaying it and the goofy, overhyped Tower Heist thankfully missed its mark, but when you have an awful director like Brett Ratner around, expect catastrophe every time.  The Oscars have been spared bigtime!!!


More miss-than-hit Will Ferrell made #3 and is also a reliable tax write-off, but the studios hope he’ll have another hit, but the horrid remake of Land Of The Lost has rendered permanent damage on his ability to have the occasional hit and it is likely to get worse.  #4 went to Reese Witherspoon, who can deliver good work when she takes on a challenge, but that is very rarely and she is not going to be the next Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock at the box office no matter what the studios do, so she had better try better scripts or expect to disappear soon.  But then came #5 and it was somewhat of a shocker: Denzel Washington.


The two-time Oscar-winner has done some poor films, but his recent output has not been nearly as bad as the above or some of the below.  He is the victim of two things.  One, studios over-betting on big names without promoting their better films properly and timing for his recent releases not working out.  Book Of Eli was not as big as I Am Legend, but was the better film and made money, Unstoppable was more fun than anyone wanted to admit but it was bashed by critics who just could not enjoy it (though its visual style and some of the darkness in the style of Eli might have held both back at the box office) and at least did some business.  Then there is the remake of Taking Of Pelham 1, 2, 3 which could not be promoted as it might have been as co-star John Travolta’s son died and he was suddenly not available for the big push the film needed.  Thus, Washington is blamed for some things out of his control.  We’ll see where and if he ranks on the next list.


As a matter of fact, only Will Smith is considered consistently the one star the studios can bank on, a sad statement to how Hollywood has surrendered to annoyingly flashy ad campaigns with no point, really bad scripts and hype, not to mention a shallow obsession with digital visual effects that usually look a few years old by the time they hit the big screen.  Washington at least strives to make films that are interesting and different, even when they are meant to be big hit movies.


Too bad more actors these days do not have as much integrity or care as much about their work or careers, which is why so many films these days are so bad and no new stars seem to really be rising and taking hold.  We’ll have to see where this goes.


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