OK, OK, Hollywood Reporter — we get it. The trade paper today took 1,600 words, three pie charts, two line graphs, and a half-dozen adorable floating-head info boxes to confirm the long-suspected word on the street that — are you ready? — the star system is dying. Jim Carrey can't open! Brad Pitt's last film did $4 million! Julia Roberts hasn't broken $70 million since 2001! Shriek!
What's replacing them isn't that surprising either, but the mind reels nevertheless when we see it in print:
[T]here's a sense now — evident in multiple boxoffice metrics and comments uttered privately by the dozens of agents, managers and producers interviewed for this report — that the interplay among consumers, celebrities and entertainment dollars is changing. The new dynamics are a challenge the next generation of up-and-comers — Shia LaBeouf, Seth Rogen, Emile Hirsch and Katherine Heigl often are cited — could face.
"As audiences get younger, they don't care about movie stars in the same way," Sony Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper says. "The idea of seeing a beautiful movie star on the big screen just isn't the same to them."
Yikes! Katherine Heigl will pretend she didn't hear Culpepper — the man responsible for the recent no-name hit revival of Prom Night, incidentally — just say that. Meanwhile, we're looking at Speed Racer's sluggish tracking and wondering if fledgling leading man Emile Hirsch isn't facing that challenge as we speak. On the bright side, his generation already has Orlando Bloom, so he doesn't have to worry about plunging into that niche. Sky's the limit, kid.