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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – Grown Ups Friday

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73 Responses to “BYOB – Grown Ups Friday”

  1. Nick Rogers says:

    I’ll repost here, more appropriately than before.
    Speaking of Sandler, check the directors to whose oeuvres Armond White lovingly compares “Grown-Ups,” currently rocking an 8 percent on the Tomatometer:
    Mike Leigh, Paul Mazursky, Jean Fucking Renoir.

  2. CleanSteve says:

    Fucking Hollywood Reporter can’t even get names right. It’s Pete Quaife, original bassist for The Kinds who died yesterday. Not Paul. They call him Pete in the article but nobody noticed the mother-fucking headline.
    Your link calls him Paul, too, Dave. This may mean little or nothing to anyone else here but The Kinks rank, along with Ramones, as my favorite bands of all-time. Village Green Preservation Society might be my favorite album of all-time.
    If it was some douche from Fallout Boy the name would be accurate. But not a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, bass player on some of the greatest songs in rock and roll history, and back up singer on Waterloo Sunset.
    Waterloo fucking Sunset!!
    For shame!!

  3. Geoff says:

    Watching Hal Sparks on Showtime – he is hysterical! Similar age, similar edgy frat-boy look – why isn’t he as big as Dane Cook???

  4. Tofu says:

    So, Inception seems to have come $40 million under budget. That feat aside, I think WB is just pumping that remainder back into the marketing. Banners at baseball games, television spots during the finals, and an impressive poster campaign. All a month out.

  5. LYT says:

    Geoff — could it be that people are sick of him being on every VH1 Top Ten show ever made?

  6. scooterzz says:

    tofu — at yesterday’s press conference for ‘inception’, nolan was quite smug about coming in on-time and under budget…. hopefully, that’s an oscar category because it won’t be winning anything else….

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    So a predictable $40 million opening weekend for Sandler. Another $62 million for TS3. Tom and Cameron looking at a $20 million three-day. International take going to rescue the (apparently) $117 million Knight & Day?

  8. IOv2 says:

    Scoot, you seem pretty smug with that answer. I also hope Inception at least gets some noms because Nolan is a rare bird of a filmmaker and they might as well throw him a bone instead of treating him like some diseased cricket.

  9. Whois67 says:

    I’d like to nominate the “anime” link on the drudgereport as the slimiest link of the year.

  10. movieman says:

    Did anyone see “The Last Exorcism” at LA Fest? I’m just wondering if it’s as good as the Variety stringer claims.
    I’m intrigued by your pan of “Inception,” Scotter, especially since they’re not showing it to us in Cleveland until Tuesday the 13th (which is pretty typical in these parts).
    Please tell me that it isn’t as long as “TDK.”
    While I’m not convinced that Nolan is Hollywood’s Great White Hope, the wildly eclectic cast is a definite hook–for me anyway.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Well here’s my contribution to what I hope will be a spirited weekend discussion. Right now, who would you say is the biggest movie star in the world? Not necessarily the best actor or actress, and not necessarily the most popular in the U.S. But in terms of drawing power throughout the entire planet, on a consistent basis, in a variety of genres: Who is the biggest movie star in the world today, right now, in the year of our Lord 2010?
    My guess: Will Smith. Yours?

  12. Blackcloud says:

    Unless it’s some Bollywood type nobody has heard of, it’s Will Smith. I didn’t think there was much debate about that.

  13. mutinyco says:

    The answer is actually Johnny Depp. By nearly $2b in ww grosses.
    If you add up JD and WS’s ww grosses since 2005 (I didn’t count Parnassus for Depp, and he actually has 6 movies to WS’s 5), the totals are:
    Depp: $3.871b
    Smith: $2.039b
    Depp is also the only lead with 2 movies that passed $1b. Smith’s biggest was $624m.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    Mutiny: Depp actually was my original guess, given the Pirates movies and, more recently, Alice. But when we discussed this in one of my classes this spring, a student made an interesting argument: If we define a movie star as someone who draw audiences for a variety of different pictures, Smith has the edge. I checked a bit, and she does have a point. Think about it: Even Seven Pounds wound up making $168 million worldwide. And Hitch, a romantic comedy, made $368 million. Again: I agree with you that Depp is, hand’s down, the biggest total moneymaker. But the most consistent moneymaker?

  15. mutinyco says:

    Alice (children’s fantasy): $1.02b
    Public Enemies (period drama): $215m
    Sweeney Todd (musical): $146m
    Pirates 2&3 (adventure): $2b
    Charlie (children): $472m
    I think Depp appears in a wide variety of roles. The other thing to consider is that Will Smith usually plays “Will Smith.” He develops a lot of his own projects and generally gives the audience what it wants. Whereas Depp is basically a character actor with a lead’s good looks, usually in bizarre make-up and never looking the same.

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Mutiny: I think you win this one.

  17. Stella's Boy says:

    movieman I didn’t see The Last Exorcism but my boss Ryan Turek at Shock Till You Drop did. He says it’s mediocre.

  18. David Poland says:

    Will Smith has been, in spite of Depp’s parade of Pirates and Tim Burton movies, the clear winner of this argument.
    In between the blockbuster machine movies, Depp has failed to blow up anything else… including those numbers for Public Enemies and Sweeney Todd… both being good numbers, but not a show of undeniable superstardom, which starts at $100m domestic and $100m international.
    Smith broke the racial boundary and a movie like
    The Pursuit of Happyness doing over $300m is a mighty, mighty stat.
    That said, it looks like Smith will go almost 3 years without a movie before MiB3 lands in 2012. He’s abdicated the throne.
    Depp is still a more muscular version of Nic Cage in National Treasure. He is a great actor, but he hasn’t opened anything on a level that is remotely a surprise. Alice is a worldwide phenom… based on Alice, one of the great figures in history, combined with Burton’s eye… and yes, some Depp.
    When Depp gets a Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to $50m or makes Shantaram a $100m domestic grosser.. or more simply, does a smart romantic comedy that grosses $250m worldwide or more… THEN he will be the level of star that Smith achieved, as Cruise before him, as Schwarzenegger before him, as Harrison Ford before him. (Or some other order for those three.)
    Depp makes great commercial choices… including doing Pirates 4, which should top off his bank account so he never has to do anything again… I do fear a Brando moment is coming.
    But it wasn’t ID4 and MiB that made Will Smith the biggest movie star in the world for years. It was the stuff that he actually drove the box office for and wasn’t built to be as big as he made them.

  19. movieman says:

    Thanks for the input, Stella.
    That Variety review seemed remarkably sanguine for an “end of sticky season” Lionsgate release.

  20. mutinyco says:

    So, Dave, does Cruise doing both Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia back to back — which, combined made less than $100m domestic in ’99 — mean that he wasn’t the biggest star in the world at the time?
    The difference between Smith and Depp is that Depp is actually an actor. Smith is just a star. As well, both Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise were both serious actors, even if nobody took Cruise seriously as an actor.
    When Cruise and Hanks were on top part of their model was to consistently work with the best directors: Kubrick, Spielberg, Zemekis, Anderson, Demme, etc. — and, in doing so, they took real chances. Smith, for the most part, works with with unknown quantities and makes vapid films. He’s sort of a smart, savvy version of Burt Reynolds, in that he relies more on star power than lasting quality.
    Joe’s question was who’s the biggest star worldwide. In terms of pure numbers the answer is: Depp. By a wide margin.

  21. Dr Wally says:

    Depp, no question. Leaving aside Burton/Disney, his achievement in getting a dark and complex movie like Public Enemies to $100 million domestic in the middle of Summer was a bigger result than many people thought. Consider that this is a time when such star-driven studio thrillers (Green Zone, Body of Lies, State of Play etc etc) are dying on their asses too.

  22. David Poland says:

    As you know, Mutiny, statistics lies. Samuel L Jackson would have been the biggest star in the world for a while if it was otherwise. Bill Pullman. Etc. By your standard, Daniel Radcliffe is a much bigger star than Depp.
    Your feelings about Will Smith as an actor are utterly irrelevant to his ability to put asses in seats.
    As for Cruise, the years he spent on EWS were the beginning of his end as the biggest star in the world. From then on, it was Spielberg twice, a modestly successful Michael Mann movie, a sequel, and The Last Samurai, which tripled its domestic gross overseas.
    The biggest star in the world – easily – in 2008 was Will Smith, as he was for 3 or 4 years. It wasn’t Men in Black that confirmed his position… it was the risky films. And whether you like Pursuit of Happyness or not, to suggest it wasn’t as risky is just intentionally missing the real world.
    But there is no Will Smith movie in 2009… or 2010. So he is not the biggest star in the world right now.
    So by default, right now, it’s Depp. No other male is even in the game. Not Downey. Not DiCaprio.
    The difference between our arguments is that you want to crown Depp for being a great actor and I actually want to consider real measures. Depp is King because there is no one else to challenge him. But until he does a $100 million Vanilla Sky, no, he is not in the same mega-star range that Cruise and Hanks and Smith have been in.

  23. bulldog68 says:

    I’d have to throw my vote behind Will Smith. Depp has made great commercial choices but his major hits have most always been collaborative extravaganzas. Can anyone truly say that those movies made $1B worlwide on Johnny’s name alone. Pirates was a Bruckheimer summer fest that delivered on all counts with a breakout performance by Johnny, that helped propel the other two. It was an accidental fortune. Depp without Pirates and Tim Burton and what do we have? People are lining up to see the Depp/Burton latest visual feast.
    When Depp takes a droll role like Seven Pounds, a paint by numbers weeper like Pursuit of Happyness, an original untested, not from previously known source material superhero without a built in fanbase like Hancock, can get the girl in Hitch, and be the only thing on screen for almost 75% of the movie in I am Legend, and turn all of that into Box office gold, then I’ll tell you that Depp is his box office equal. The one thing all these movies have in common is that they were all sold, and lived or died, on Will Smith’s name. No big name visionary director, no real money shot earth shattering special effects. Everyone of these movies would not have done the numbers that they have done at the box office if Will Smith’s name was not above the title.
    I’m not saying that Pirates or Alice or Charlie would have done the same amount of business without Depp, but I think they would have all been successful anyway. Seven with Johnny Depp would have done $20M tops. Pirates with Will as a black pirate, would have done the same numbers, maybe more. He could have been cast as Blackbeard. (That was too easy.)

  24. mutinyco says:

    Default? My ass. Top star is the top star. Right now it’s Depp.
    I’m not trying to crown anything. Joe asked a question, I looked up some numbers, did some math — and that was the result.
    Will Smith was #1 for most of the past decade, overlapping with Cruise at the beginning, overlapping with Depp at the end.
    But, contrary to your claim that EWS was the beginning of Cruise’s end, after ’99 he came back with M:I2, which was his highest-grossing domestic movie ever at the time. His split from Kidman, I think, started his image problems. But even then, he made Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai, Collateral and War of the Worlds — all of which did over $100 domestic, with WOTW becoming his highest domestic ever. He basically imploded at once right then.
    I’m not trying to take down Smith, even though I think his career is vapid. But, obviously, at this moment, Depp is riding high and Smith’s next movie is a sequel to a movie from 9 years ago…

  25. mutinyco says:

    The problem for somebody like Smith is that his career is basically designed for hits. Whereas somebody like Brad Pitt or even Depp can segue between smaller idiosyncratic movies and big hits without missing a beat, you get the feeling that when Smith misses it knocks him off-balance, like with Pounds.

  26. bulldog68 says:

    But Mutiny, you’re calling Wills’s hits hits in hindsight, like they were destined to be hits. Pursuit did $163M on his name alone. This isn’t a discussion about range of an actor, this is about whether having an actor’s name above the title can bring in seats, and if that actor is a box office god then Parnassus should have done $75M. Everyone of Depps hits have been either from established source material, a la Charlie and Alice, or of cource the aforementioned Pirates which constitutes thus far 3 out of his 5 top grossing hits, so its connected with one series. Look at how many differing titles Will has that has crossed the $100M mark. MIB is the only sequel. Bad Boys 1 was his early days, it wasn’t a tremendous hit and the sequel still cleaned up. Plus he has had more R rated and non-family friendly hits than Depp, Hancock, Legend, BB11, Hitch, non of these relied on repeat viewing by the kiddies, or a happy meal, so you can’t say that he is playing to the most popular demographic out there and bringing in the kiddies in spades. You go to these movies because Will Smith is in them. That’s a movie star.
    Depp is an actor, no question about it, probably the finest one working today, but box office king he is not.

  27. mutinyco says:

    Depp… A non-movie star whose movies since 2005 have made nearly twice as much Will Smith’s at the ww box office…
    Happyness was Smith’s Jerry Maguire.
    The question isn’t: Why didn’t Parnassus make a lot of money? The question is: Where is Smith’s Parnassus? Or Eyes Wide Shut? Or Fight Club? Movies starring stars consciously making non-star movies.
    I’m not questioning Smith’s star power. I’m simply saying that right now Johnny Depp is unquestionably #1.

  28. mutinyco says:

    There’s usually a specific moment when people realize somebody’s #1.
    For Cruise, it was when he first had five $100M movies in a row in the ’90s.
    For Smith, it was when Happyness turned into a quiet success.
    For Depp, it’s being the only star with two $1b ww movies.

  29. David Poland says:

    Like I said before, if all you know are the grosses, you don’t know much about box office.
    And like I said, if your standard was firm, $5.4 billion for Daniel Radcliffe since 2003 would crush Depp’s under $3.5 billion. Even more so because Depp wasn’t the lead in Alice!
    “his career is basically designed for hits”
    Just bullshit.
    Smith has, simply, achieved what Depp has not. He has made major international hits out of a number of genres. He has broken the color line internationally.
    As for the box office hits, he did almost $400 million with Hancock, an original action idea which was sold almost exclusively on his big head.
    Depp’s “big head” movies were Public Enemies and Sweeney Todd. They did very nicely. But not blockbusters by any means.
    If either of these two can be accused of taking the safe road, it’s Depp. Alice in Wonderland, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, 3 Pirates movies. All benefited greatly from his presence and performance. But all were built to do the kind of business they did, albeit not with quite as high an expectation as an outcome.
    As for Cruise, it’s your sense that things just implode in one moment that is askew. I went through the same list you did.

  30. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “For Depp, it’s being the only star with two $1b ww movies.”
    Orlando Bloom says “Hi!”

  31. mutinyco says:

    Orlando Bloom isn’t a star and neither movie was sold on his name. Just like Sam Jackson being a bit player in a bunch of successful movies and claiming to be a huge star. And Radcliffe’s grosses are the result of a single series with nothing else to go on.
    Depp was the star of Pirates. Even got an Oscar nom for the first one. And, even if he wasn’t technically the star of Alice, it was certainly sold with his presence at the top.
    Like I said, I’m not knocking Will Smith’s star power. But right now, Depp is #1 worldwide.
    Doesn’t matter if his movies were a trilogy or collaborations with Burton (they’ve been working together for 20 years and their early films were hardly blockbusters).
    Right now, Depp is #1. Could change tomorrow.

  32. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Moving goalposts says “Hi!”
    His name was top-billed with Depp’s on Pirates. He had the same proportion of screentime (solo and group) in RotK as Depp had in Alice.
    By every definition other than some vague “he’s not a star”, Bloom qualifies for the same box office as Depp. Exactly the same for Daniel Radcliffe.

  33. mutinyco says:

    There are no moving goal posts.
    Depp was the functional star of both movies. They were sold on him. He got the press. If you asked the average person who the star was of Pirates and Alice they’d say Depp.
    It’s like saying Sam Jackson gets equal credit for Die Hard 3 being a hit, when every movie in the series was a hit with Bruce Willis.
    Johnny Depp is #1 right now. No big deal.
    I’m not in his corner anymore than I am Will Smith’s. I usually don’t watch either of their movies — I’ve never seen a single Pirates, no Alice, no Happyness or Legend…

  34. IOv2 says:

    Team USA blows it again. These guys either have to get better or we have to get kids from the inner city to realize there’s a lot… a lot… of money in soccer.

  35. Foamy Squirrel says:

    That is moving goalposts because it’s not what you originally said. You didn’t originally argue who had sold the movie, nor who most people identified as the star, nor who got the press. You just said “the only star with two $1b ww movies”.
    And by that plain definition, Orlando Bloom qualifies – which goes to DP’s point, that just Box Office Gross is a bad way to gauge the success of a star.

  36. mutinyco says:

    If I’m saying he’s the only star with two $1b films, then by default I am saying he was the star of those two films — whether you want to quantify that by how it was sold or whom the public perceives as the star. He was “the star” of both movies. And Pirates 4 will be a hit without Bloom.
    No moving goal posts. I think we’re just arguing semantics here.

  37. Foamy Squirrel says:

    But it’s important semantics, because you’re removing data that doesn’t agree with your position.
    “Depp has the higher box office” – unless you count Daniel Radcliffe.
    “Depp is the only star with two $1b ww movies” – unless you count Orlando Bloom.
    Those two counterexamples undermine your argument, but don’t undermine your position. You may not be wrong – you just need a better argument, otherwise you’re saying “If you ignore the data that disagrees with my position, then the data agrees with my position”. Which is just silly.

  38. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Er… “If you ignore the data that disagrees with my *argument*, then the data agrees with my *argument*”.
    The difference between “The moon orbits the earth” (position) “because it’s radiocontrolled by the Illuminati” (argument). The position is correct, but the argument is flawed.

  39. mutinyco says:

    I’m getting mind-cluttered right now switching between this and trying to watch Collapse, which to be fair, is more interesting.
    I think the thing that’s muddying the waters in this debate is that we now have these big event films that are sort of considered star-proof. The argument is that Will Smith’s movies are traditional star vehicles that are centered around him and sold on him, whereas Depp’s movies fit more into the new event-type. It’s different models.
    But, you could also say that after the model established by Cruise, where every movie is supposed to be a hit, which Smith follows, that created a new model from the old where big stars weren’t expected to be huge each time out. Does that make the old model stars lesser?
    With regard to both Bloom and Radcliffe, I think the argument, for me against the former, is that neither movie was sold on him being The Star, and for the latter, we’ve been trying to define a star as somebody who’s successful in multiple films across the spectrum, not one series.
    Ultimately, let me pose this question, assuming this is just between Smith and Depp. If one of them was spotted walking down the street somewhere, who do you think would cause a greater excitement?… I think Depp.

  40. mutinyco says:

    Here’s a theoretical, since we’re talking ww b.o.
    If an international production (foreign) needed a big star, who do you think the producers would prefer: Depp, Smith or Brad Pitt (to add one more large international name)?…

  41. IOv2 says:

    That would be Depp.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    I’ve been off-line for the last few hours while driving from Houston to Dallas. (I’m seeing It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! tonight.) And all I can say is: Holy crap! Hey, guys, I didn’t mean to start a fight.

  43. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Prior to Pirates 4 I would have said Depp, but Depp’s deal is apparently $33mil up front plus backend. If Forbes is to be believed Smith tops out at around $25mil all in, making him better value.
    That’s just producers though, I’m fairly certain Depp is the preferred choice for directors.

  44. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Joe: forum troll extraordinaire! 😉

  45. bulldog68 says:

    The ironic thing about Depp’s five blockbusters are that in all five stories his character serves as service to the main story. It is the power of Depp as a performer that has character’s story being on the same platform as the main story. The main arch of Pirates revolves around Bloom and Knightly, just the titles of his other two blockbusters also give that away, Charlie and Alice. I know that this may be a bit off the path of the box office discussion but I see it relevant in a periphery kind of way. When has Depp been in a blockbuster that was solely about his character? I am Legend, Hancock, Hitch, Pursuit was all him, no strong supporting cast, Seven Pounds was all about Will’s journey. I will still maintain that Depp has a lot of help in getting to where he gets.
    The other thing tells me that Will is #1 is when Seven Pounds failed to cross $100M, people put it down as a disappointment, expecting the phenomenal numbers they have become accustomed too. But when The Libertine does $6M, Finding Neverland does $51M, and with Oscar Buzz, and Secret Window does $47M, all in 2004, one year after Pirates, supposedly on Depp’s shoulders does $300m, and nobody questions Depp’s box office clout, it tells me that Will is king.
    One other thing, also in a periphery kind of way, do you honestly think that Karate Kid would be making this kind of coin without Will’s name attached to it somehow.

  46. hcat says:

    Have to say I’m late to the thread but loved what I read.
    Smith is king, took the crown from Cruise and is holding off Downey, not Depp. Sweeney and PE were strong hits for Depp but seeing that POTC, Wonka, and Alice shoot for easy money with the family audiences, I go with Smith until he hits another Bagger Vance mishap.

  47. The Big Perm says:

    Yep, mutiny is fucked up here…he’s getting preferences and quality issues mixed up with “biggest star.” He obviously likes Depp, and keeps mentioning how Depp does better choices and makes better movies whatever…doesn’t matter. John Wayne played the same role over and over and he was the biggest movie star, perhaps ever.
    DP is right…Depp’s HUGE hits are sequels or Tim Burton collaborations, which is a potent mix that audiences love, to be sure. But if he stars in Pursuit of Happyness, it makes 40 mil tops. Biggest star based purely on dollars? Let’s talk about Jeff Goldblum who surely must be able to take much credit for TWO huge Jurassic Park movies AND ID4, right?
    Will Smith is such a huge star right now that he doesn’t even have to be in movies any more, he pimps his kid and helps turn THAT movie into a hit. I put Karate Kid in his checklist…Jackie Chan, as much as I love the guy, can’t open a movie in the states unless it stars Chris Tucker.

  48. The Big Perm says:

    Here’s another thing…ugh, I have to stop reading Jeff Well’s site. There’s an article about Fincher’s new Facebook movie and everyone’s dismissing it out of hand because they’re such rebels that they refuse to even look at Facebook. How can those fuckers love movies…if you can’t give FINCHER the benefit of the doubt, who can you give it to?

  49. mutinyco says:

    Yeah, Perm, read up. I don’t usually watch either of their movies.
    Depp is bigger than Smith right now.

  50. The Big Perm says:

    You talked a lot about quality of work and choices they made, so you were putting in your opinions. You might want to re-read what you posted, my man. You’re the kind of guy who will keep changing your argument as long as it allows you to keep arguing.
    Like DP said, Smith hasn’t made a movie in a few years. Depp is bigger by default. Hey, technically so is Seth Rogen and Josh Brolin.

  51. First off – my vote goes for Smith. He is the only star who can make people see something (Seven Pounds, Pursuit of Happyness, etc) that they otherwise would have no interest in. If The Secret Window or The Soloist had done $100 million, then we could have discussed Depp and Downey Jr. If you want just box office, Orlando Bloom has six(!) $300 million grossers in the US. And yes, the last two Lord of the Rings and the three Pirates of the Caribbean films were at least partially sold on his (or his character’s) popularity.
    Second of all, while I don’t give Jackie Chain tons of credit for The Karate Kid, I think his casting (and the buzz surrounding his work) was a big factor in terms of making the film appealing to casual moviegoers who were old enough to remember the original. It was a ‘of course!’ casting coup that made the movie more than a joke and into a genuine curiosity. Anecdotal evidence: Everyone I know, including myself, went to see The Karate Kid purely for the opportunity to see Jackie Chan give a solid performance in a ‘real drama’. I can only speak for myself and my peers, but without Chan apparently shining in that iconic role, I never would have considered seeing the film so quickly.

  52. hcat says:

    Just to comment on the above question on who would get mobbed in the street. You would have to take into account Depp’s gypsy chic – I’m so uncomfortable in my prettiness I ignore my hygiene aesthetic. Any fan that gets within six feet would find that he stinks like a frenchman thats been left in the sun. Smiths jovial everyman demeanor is much more approachable.

  53. Geoff says:

    Have to jump into the discussion here and I have been saying this, for years – Smith is the biggest star in the world and has truly accomplished what even Cruise and Hanks could not accomplish at their peaks: making a series of blockbusters out of diverse genres completely sold on him.
    Think about this:
    2003 – Bad Boys II, eight year sequel to R-rated action comedy = $145 million domestic
    2004 – I Robot, sci fi thriller about freaking robots based (sorta) on obscure novel = $145 million domestic
    2005 – Hitch, romantic comedy released in February = $175 million
    2006 – The Pursuit of Happiness, true story weepie about a homeless man looking to realize his dream = $165 million
    2007 – I Am Legend, apocalyptic (pseudo) zombie thriller where Smith spends most of the screen time talking to himself = $255 million
    2008 – Hancock, snarky superhero satire action comedy based on original screenplay = $225 million
    That is just an incredible streak, no matter how you slice it. And hey, I like Depp, but sorry he has his “Depp” persona, too – quirky characters like Willy Wonka, MadHatter, Jack Sparrow, and even Sweeney Todd were all kind of cut from the same cloth. Sorry, if the Alice campaign was marketed on a “normal” looking Depp not being all brash and in your face, it would not have worked. His blockbuster persona is just about as consistent as Downey’s at this point.
    And yeah, we can all talk about how Will Smith is taking this big breather, right now, and abdicating his throne. But sorry, his FREAKIN’ SON has just successfully (with enormous help from dad, did you guys see the credits?) launched a new blockbuster franchise and a $40 million kung fu drama remake is about to make $175 million domestic on his name. DAMN impressive.
    And sorry, ten years ago you could have said that Depp was the better actor, by far – he was incredible in Donnie Brasco and awesome in Blow. But seriously, does anything think that Depp might be phoning it in a bit, lately? Say what you want about Smith and his choice of directors (which admittedly, is a little hit-or-miss), but he has definitely grown as an actor the past decade – his work in Seven Pounds and I Am Legend was truly underrated stuff.
    Suck it, haters!

  54. IOv2 says:

    Smith might be a good guy but did any of you hear or see him on Oprah? That guy and his wife and his kids came across as the biggest douchebags in the history of douchebaggery. Depp would never ever be caught did acting like such a douche and that makes Depp the man. Why? He’s not a douche. The end.

  55. IOv2 says:

    “Did” is the southern pronunciation of DEAD but seriously Geoff, Smith is not Depp and has never once in his life given a single great performance. People like giving Michael Cera crap for always being MICHAEL CERA but when is Will Smith ever not Will Smith? Even in Seven Pounds he was WILL SMITH but WITH A TWIST! Depp has provided performance that will last lifetimes. While Smith has provided performance that are roughly the same now over the last 20 years. Again, the winner, is Johnny Depp.

  56. IOv2 says:

    Oh yeah throw an S with performances because apparently an edit function is too good for us. Five years Mr. Poland, five years is long enough without an edit function.

  57. The Big Perm says:

    Smith has given some pretty great performances. He does generally lean on his “will” personna but Men in Black would not have worked with someone else and he was great in I Am Legend. If you want to say that doing the same general type of character means a good performance was not given, then John Wayne never gave a great performance, or Bogart…hey, why didn’t he ever use an English accent or anything?
    I pretty much prefer Depp any day…I think he’s more interesting and if I had a choice to hang with one of them I’d definitely choose the guy I could discuss Hammer films with…but because I prefer one doesn’t mean the other has to suck.

  58. IOv2 says:

    Did I state Smith sucks? No, I did not. I have liked Will Smith since he rapped and generally enjoy everything that he’s in, but Depp is on another level from Smith. Smith has yet to be a character other than himself, which is pretty damn good on it’s own, but it’s not what Depp has been able to do.
    Oh yeah, John Wayne gave a crap load great performances that are so nuanced and so freaking ballsy that he has yet to ever been duplicated. The freakin Duke gets a bad rap. He really does.

  59. bulldog68 says:

    Thought this discussion was purely about box office prowess. But trying to avoid any personal views on acting, but just looking at the tale of the tape, depp only has one more Oscar nom than Smith, and both with no wins, even though Depp first film credit was 84′ and Smith is 92′. Smith has been at this acting thing for still less than two decades.
    Ironically, Smith’s Oscar noms both brought losses to two powerhouse African American actors in Denzel in Training Day and Whitaker for Last King of Scotland. Smith’s performance in Ali was tremendous, and without taking anything away from Denzel, I just didn’t see the Academy giving the first leading actor award to an African American since 1963 to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air over the body of work of Mr.Washington. And as I recall, there was even talk of an Oscar nom for Six Degrees of Separation.
    Depp is in my mind, more versatile, disappears more in his characters, and everything he attaches his name to will be greenlit, but he is perilously close to becoming a caricature of himself. All these quirky, fast talking, eccentric performances will soon begin to blend into each other. Was the Mad Hatter and Willie Wonka that much different as characters? Depp has still proven time and time again that he has the ability to bring gravitas to any role he takes, but when he does, and it isn’t the offbeat stuff, his box office retreats into the norm. At the end of the day, he still only has one film that has crossed the $100M mark outside of Pirates and pre sold children’s classics, Sleepy Hollow, in 2004, which barely got there with $101M, and even Public Enemies, which did $97M had a budget of $100m according to wikipedia.
    And IO, don’t know what you mean by “he was still Will Smith with a twist.” We know Will to be this smart mouth, quick comeback, witty oneliner type of guy, where was that in Seven Pounds, or I am Legend, or Pursuit of Happyness. Sure he is trademark Will in Hancock, Bad Boys, I Robot and Hitch, but the same can be said of Depp for Pirates, Alice and Charlie. When are we gonna see a Depp drama get to $163M, or a romantic comedy to $177M?

  60. IOv2 says:

    Bulldog, Depp got a drama to some good money and he does not need to do romantic comedy. It would seem at this point in his life, he wants to go big and be different than any one else who ever starred in these huge freaking blockbusters.
    That aside, yes, Willie Wonka and The Mad Hatter were very different characters. The Mad Hatter suffered great and horrible pain and he broke. The whole backstory of the Mad Hatter in Alice literally rips me apart because there have been few times where that portrayal of a man, when he breaks, worked that well. You see the Hatter broken and destroyed. If that’s a caricature then give me more Mad Hatter and less BIG WILLIE STYLE! Seriously.

  61. IOv2 says:

    Oh yeah, I am not doing Will Smith any favours by forgetting I Am Legend. A film he easily does his best acting in his entire career and easily could be put right next to anything Depp has done, so my bad Will for forgetting your awesomeness. I will even throw in Hancock because I do like that film but Depp is still better to me unless we bring in Denzel, then it’s Mr. Washington for the win.

  62. The Big Perm says:

    I have trouble believing that Depp’s The Mad Hatter portayal literally ripped you apart, IO. I think that’s actually impossible.
    Depp has gotten dramas to good money…but not to Big Willie drama money.

  63. LYT says:


  64. Foamy Squirrel says:

    *Monty Python*
    I got better.
    */Monty Python*

  65. Joe Leydon says:

    I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of anyone being designated anything “by default.” It sounds a bit too much like those folks who insisted that the Houston Rockets were NBA champs for two consecutive years only “by default” because Michael Jordan wasn’t playing for the Bulls those two years. Like, the Rockets wins should have big asterisks next to them.

  66. Monco says:

    I have to go with Depp. You have to give him credit for turning the Pirates franchise into what it has become. There was no hype for the first Pirates movie until word of his performance turned it into a must see. It would have been a Prince of Persia without Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Out of all the ww billion dollar grossing franchises only one is completely dependent on an actor. That’s the Pirates franchise. Take Radcliffe away from Potter and it still grosses the same amount of money. Pirates 4 will still gross around 900 million ww without Bloom. So will the Hobbit. The Radclife and Bloom arguements are horrible analogies. I would venture that if you asked the majority of moviegoers who plays Harry Potter or who Orlando Bloom even is and they would not be able to tell you.

  67. The Big Perm says:

    You put the right actor in the right blockbuster project and you get magic…also see Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. People would have gone to see that movie anyway, but his performance put it on another level, like Depp did. Difference between Dep and Smith is Depp can’t get huge openings or grosses for anything that isn’t a blockbuster action movie. Will Smith can, and does so over and over. Now we can argue that’s because of the choice of movies and roles, as Depp prefers quirkier stuff…but that’s on his head if he chooses not to be #1. I’m sure Depp’s just fine with that.

  68. chris says:

    Brother. That Knowles quote on the MCN cover today is like a pyromaniac, bemoaning how hot the fire he set is.

  69. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “The Radclife and Bloom arguements are horrible analogies.”
    That’s because you’re making a different argument than we are.
    If you’re saying “Depps movies have grossed more” then by the “grossed more” standard Radcliffe and Bloom beat Depp hands down.
    If you’re saying “Depp has added more to the gross through his involvement” then you have to include the $8mil for Dr Parnassus and the $5mil for The Libertine.
    By either of those standards Depp is not the biggest star, so you need a different argument if you want to make the case for Depp. You could try press mentions – Depp is running almost three times as many links as Smith on Google News for 2010, beating even the Twilight crew.

  70. Cadavra says:

    Well, just to be annoying, I’ll throw in Ian McKellen–major, if not starring, roles in all three RINGS, all three X-MEN and DA VINCI CODE, among others. That’s gotta be close to 5B right there.

  71. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Well played, good sir! I’d definitely work with McKellen in a heartbeat – in my opinion, the best star choice if you want to signal to audiences that quality is a key factor in your project.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon