Home > Uncategorized > The Great Assumption of the “Star System”

The Great Assumption of the “Star System”

This particular chapter of the book only reiterated something that I already long recognized about the entertainment industry’s assessment of successful projects. The movie industry in particular has always operated under the assumption that having a well-established star in a project will spell automatic success. Movie producers believe that a film project carries less financial risk if there is a marketable “star” to bring in revenue. As is seen time and time again, there are always exceptions to this star system of assessing success in the entertainment industry.

Take for instance this year’s supposed guaranteed blockbuster Green Lantern (2011) starring Seth Rogen. From a producer’s standpoint, this film should have easily garnered profits immense enough to cover the total cost of production (nearly $325 million in marketing and production cost).  Surely the producer believed that by having a comedic star such as Seth Rogen, who has written a number of huge hits from Pineapple Express to Superbad, that their remake of a once very popular comic book would be a blockbuster success. Unfortunately for the movie’s producers, the film failed to bring in nearly enough to cover the outrageous production costs despite producing nearly $220 million in gross revenue. What seemed to have gone wrong?

The makers of Green Lantern made a couple of huge assumptions that cost them nearly $105 million dollars. The first of which being that thought that they were guaranteed a huge revenue from remaking a once immensely popular comic book, following in the footsteps of the makers of blockbuster comic book remakes such as the Spiderman and Batman series’. The book describes this as “Art Imitating Art,” and greatly stresses the point that success if not guaranteed by following this model as seen with previous box office blunders such as Land of the Lost and Sahara. As with these projects, prior success does no always translate into hit as people’s interests and wants change greatly over generations. The second assumption that made this film fail so miserably was the producer’s investment in Seth Rogen. Although his previous films have developed cult following, it was quite easy for Seth Rogen fans to see right through the premise of this film. I know this because I was one of those fans. I loved all of the movies Seth Rogen has written and starred in, yet I knew from the moment I saw the Green Lantern trailer that this role was not going to be right for him. Rogen plays the loveable idiot that everyone can relate to, as opposed to the legendary superhero that our parents loved. In this way the producers of the Green Lantern were destined for below-average success.


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