Feature

Are Hollywood stars worth the money?

A string of megastar flops this summer fuels the suspicion that A-listers aren't worth their paychecks

Stars are falling to earth in Hollywood, said Brooks Barnes in The New York Times. "The spring and summer box office has murdered megawatt stars like Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell." Economists "have long argued that marquee names are not worth their expense," but don't expect the studios to give up on their biggest names -- they'll only try to pay them less.

That's what Hollywood gets for relying on star power to fill theater seats, said Gawker. The real problem this summer was that the movies "sucked." So instead of complaining about how the Internet is destroying their business and how the A-listers need to take a pay cut, maybe the studio bosses should consider focusing on better scripts and making "a product that's entertaining."

The megastar blockbusters have fallen short so far this year, said Nicole Sperling in Entertainment Weekly, but the losing streak will probably be broken this weekend, when director Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds -- a World War II revenge fantasy starring Brad Pitt -- hits theaters. (watch the Inglourious Basterds trailer) The film has generated tons of buzz, and the studio that produced it -- Weinstein Co. -- is betting on it for a much-needed financial shot in the arm.

"Brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein need a strong showing" from Quentin Tarantino's bloody Inglourious Basterds to stop rumors of their studio's demise, said Ronald Grover in BusinessWeek, but they're not alone. "This is shaping up to be a long, hot summer" for a lot of people in Hollywood. With big-budget films fizzling "like a wet firecracker" and DVD sales flat, it might be the movie moguls who end up losing their jobs.

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