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Power failure: Mega movie stars struggling to keep audiences engaged

When you think Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger, you think about movie stars that make 20 or 30 million dollars per movie and are a sure fire, box office draw no matter what they attach their name to for any given project.
As bankable as those aforementioned celebrities have been for the duration of their careers, they're part of a growing list of proven superstars that now are consistently failing on the grand stage that is the silver screen.
Depp is the latest of these with his most recent movie "Transcendence," which bombed over Easter weekend and won't come anywhere close to its budget domestically but could potentially recoup or break even once the film hits the market overseas.
Before "Transcendence," Depp and Disney couldn't recreate the same magic they had with the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise with "The Lone Ranger," another massive swing and miss for Depp.
Smith and his "After Earth" didn't click with audiences in the United States, and Schwarzenegger, since returning to acting after his stint as governor, has seen his movies come and go quickly.

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Cruise hardly would consider his career on cruise control with "Jack Reacher" and "Oblivion" both failing to reach the expected $100 million mark domestically.
No one can take the iconic status away from these actors, even with their recent missteps at the movies. The question as to why they haven't been successful recently doesn't necessarily have a right or wrong answer but plenty of theories abound.
First, acting and superstar status has a shelf life, and that's been proven for years. Cruise, Smith, Depp and others like them losing steam isn't unheard of as Hollywood has a way of making even the most likeable celebrities feel overexposed and tired, except for certain recurring roles or franchise movies.
And that's the key in all of these discussions.
Schwarzenegger as an aging cop in 2014 doesn't sell. But the moment he attaches himself to a "Terminator" movie, he's box office gold. Cruise and his "Mission Impossible" franchise is untouchable, as is Smith's "Men in Black" or Depp and his Jack Sparrow role.
Maybe years ago, these legendary actors could make money no matter what movie they starred in, but as they get older, they lose that Midas touch and the realization washes over them and movie studios alike that they're no longer a slam dunk money maker but rather much rely on pigeon holed performances.
That isn't a bad thing per say but just the harsh reality of how stardom and fame really works. That's not to say that Cruise or Smith, Depp or Schwarzenegger might not have another string of sensational movies left in them, but the safe money is having these men suit up in character costumes that we all know, love and won't hesitate to see over and over again.

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