The New King Of Hollywood?

13 Aug

According to G2 magazine, there is a new king of Hollywood although his identity really isn’t that surprising at all: what is perhaps even less surprising is who he has replaced as the man at the top:

Yeah okay, it was even less surprising than predictable, right? Leonardo DiCaprio is now sitting squarely at the top of the Hollywood pile while Tom Cruise is described as its “court jester”. Ouch! That’s gonna hurt. Er, actually if “Knight and Day” is your latest “Blockbuster” then maybe your glory days really are over:

Poor Tom.

Seriously, we have to bear in mind that Mr. Cruise is helping to run the day-to-day aspects of United Artists in between filming, so maybe that means his performances and choice of films have become a little bit suspect in the last few years, as my handy little chart shows:

As you can see, I’ve been fair. It doesn’t all go steadily downhill for Cruise. In fact, he’s had a fair deal of commercial and critical success in the last decade. What’s really stifled him is probably the strange antics that he’s been up to in the the last five or six years. You know what I’m talking about…. that Oprah Winfrey business…. and the scientology…. *cough*

But I think we have to gauge what we’re using as a marker for this title. If it’s acting, then DiCaprio would probably win because he wants his image to be as a “serious actor”, engaging in projects that are perhaps a bit more gritty and “intelligent” than your average Hollywood fare. Working with Martin Scorsese always helps this cause, and DiCaprio has seemingly replaced DeNiro as his filmmaking muse. Cruise, on the other hand, has indulged himself in a variety of performances ranging from the serious of “Rain Man” and “Jerry Maguire” to all-out action man in the “Mission: Impossible” series and even the soon-to-be-flop “Knight and Day”. You could be a bit even-handed and say that Cruise has more “range” than DiCaprio but “range” doesn’t really cut it if the performances are all a bit weak instead of consistently strong in a specific genre.

If we’re talking Box Office success, then Cruise, despite his takings of nearly $7bn over his entire career, hasn’t been king for years. In fact, if you use this scale then Johnny Depp or Will Smith would trounce him. If you think about their films (“Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Alice In Wonderland” or any other film by Tim Burton, “I Am Legend”, “Independence Day”, “Hancock”) then they’ve brought in far more than Cruise in the last ten years. They’ve got the puling power, if you will. Relatively, DiCaprio is languishing behind all three with $4.2bn taken over his lifetime but in terms of critical success he certainly smashes Smith and Depp into the ground.

So in some respects Cruise has yet to be toppled, but in others he is becoming something of an afterthought. His last truly successful film was probably “Tropic Thunder”, a movie where he was barely recognisable in his role. DiCaprio, on the other hand, is very much visible in all his movies but his choice of movie has meant that he has yet to touch the pulling power of Cruise.

But what do you think? Is Cruise really resigned to being the court jester or is there still life in him yet?

P.S. I was trying to get the “Knight and Day” trailer on here but if there’s a big white space instead of a video, you’re not alone. Just try to imagine one of those TV spots instead. If it does work, please tell me so I can stop panicking pointlessly!


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