I’m wary of all conclusions drawn about media in the scarcity age, including the idea that people went to see movies because of movie stars. It’s not that Will Smith isn’t charismatic. He is. But I suspect Will Smith was in a lot of hits in the age of scarcity in large part because there weren’t a lot of other entertainment options vying for people’s attention when Independence Day or something of its ilk came out, like clockwork, to launch the summer blockbuster season.
The same goes for the general idea that any one star was ever the chief engine for a film’s box office. If the idea that people go see a movie just to see any one star was never actually true, we can stop holding the modern generation of movie stars to an impossible standard.
Eugene Wei on scarcity.
While there are certainly actors I like—and I’ve certainly not seem films because they feature an actor I don’t like—I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched a film specifically because of who was in it…1
- Directors, yes… but even still, that’s pretty rare. [↩]