Gigli came to destroy Ben Affleck's career right at the time when the poorly-received Pearl Harbor and Daredevil had put in question his meteoric rise as blockbuster lead material. Fortunately, it rebounded by the end of the decade when Affleck embraced his talent as a writer/director to great acclaim, first with Gone Baby Gone, followed by such features as The Town and Argo. His career took a dent yet again in the late 2010s after Live by Night crashed and burned, and his quite public exit from the DC Extended Universe didn't help. Though it should be stressed he's not been in a shortage of acting projects since, and even got critically acclaimed for his meta role in The Way Back and was cast in Ridley Scott's The Last Duel reuniting him with his old pal Matt Damon. His departure from the DCEU would be brief as he would soon return for The Flash. Gigli's director Martin Brest wasn't as lucky, though; he later retired from filmmaking due to this film constantly suffering from Executive Meddling.
Tim Allen's career outside of Home Improvement, Last Man Standing, the Toy Story franchise, the first The Santa Clause, and Galaxy Quest has been made up of many critically bashed films, along with his highly publicized DUI incident in Michigan that turned him into a walking joke. However, he still kept getting lead roles until Wild Hogs, which, despite being a financial success, was savaged by critics and seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back as the only mainstream film role he's gotten since then is reprising his voice role as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3 and 4. Other than that, he's been doing independent films and also went back to TV in Last Man Standing, as well as providing voice-overs for Michigan tourism commercials.
Aziz Ansari has had a lot of success as a TV actor but he tried to become a movie star by snagging the second lead role in 30 Minutes or Less. However, after that movie underperformed at the box office, he has mostly stuck to acting on TV, except for voice roles in Ice Age 4: Continental Drift and Epic and a cameo in This Is the End. It didn't help that he was ensnared in the #MeToo movement when a woman accused him of sexual misconduct in 2018 (though whether his actions fit the definition of sexual misconduct was heavily debated, even among feminists).
Tom Arnold became well known mostly for being Roseanne Barr's husband, and with supporting roles in movies like True Lies and Nine Months, Hollywood tried to make him a movie star. This soon started falling apart with a string of flops in 1996 (Big Bully, Carpool, and The Stupids), but the final blow came the following year when he did the film version of McHale's Navy. His acrimonious divorce from Roseanne also resulted in her using her clout to blackball him from many major productions. He has hardly been seen in a mainstream film since and has done mostly independent or Direct-to-DVD movies. He's had more success as a TV presenter, especially on Fox Sports' The Best Damn Sports Show Period.
Big Bully was also the last theatrical live-action movie that Rick Moranis would star in, though it was less to do with this movie and more to do with his wife's passing.
The box-office failure of The Edge knocked Alec Baldwin off the A-List. He eventually had a comeback in the form of 30 Rock, albeit as a character actor, where he has arguably had more success than he had as a leading man.
To quote Michael Beck: "The Warriors opened a lot of [acting] doors for me, which Xanadu then closed."
Superhero Movie and College are the only theatrical movies Drake Bell had a lead role in. After both underperformed at the box office, he's only done Direct to Video and TV movies (and some TV shows here and there).
Roberto Benigni followed his Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful with a live-action version of Pinocchio (2002) with himself playing the title character (keep in mind that Benigni was 50 at the time), which earned a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 0%. He has barely worked in film since then, with only The Tiger and the Snow (another directorial effort) and a turn in Woody Allen's From Rome with Love to his credit. He is still a name performer in his native Italy, however, with his biggest post-Life Is Beautiful success the one-man stage show TuttoDante.
In fact, Benigni had almost killed his then-unknown career in America almost a decade before. His performance as Jacques Gambrelli, Inspector Clouseau's illegitimate son, in Son of the Pink Panther was unanimously mauled by critics, and the film completely flopped in theaters overnight and earned Benigni a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star. Had it not been for Life is Beautiful and Down by Law, American audiences would've viewed Benigni as a talentless celebrity.
J. Evan Bonifant was a child actor who did mostly guest appearances on TV shows, with the exception of playing Tum Tum in Three Ninjas Kick Back. Then he got a role that could've potentially made him a big star, Blues Brothers 2000, but the movie flopped with both audiences and critics and it led him back to mostly doing TV work (with the occasional short film here and there).
For a good length of time, David Bowie held a reputation as one of the best non-actor actors out there (despite being actually trained in acting and mime), being acclaimed for his roles in films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Then came 1986, which featured Bowie starring in the absolutely campyAbsolute Beginners and Labyrinth. Though the films are cult classics today, they were massive box office bombs and were lambasted by critics. Combined with the general mess that was Bowie's career in the 1980s, the failures of these two films put the kibosh on people ever taking the man as a serious actor for the rest of his life. Following 1986, the biggest roles Bowie could get were cameo appearances and a guest spot in the much-maligned "Atlantis SquarePantis", with the rest being spots in critically panned, no-name movies. However, his cameo appearances were typically in somewhat-loved projects like Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Zoolander, and The Prestige.
Zach Braff in The Last Kiss. After the success of Garden State and the popularity of Scrubs, much was expected from him. Then this film (which he was given near-complete creative control over in an attempt to create another Garden State) fared so badly with critics and audiences that he more or less disappeared after the cancellation of the latter and little has been heard from him since (he only had three film projects in the six years after The Last Kiss). His role in Oz the Great and Powerful in 2013 might have brought him back from oblivion, but then he followed it up with Wish I Was Here, for which he had to turn to Kickstarter just to get the funding (which soured his reputation further, as most assumed he was rich enough to finance it himself or find a legit backer), and which opened to mixed reviews in limited release.
After starring in the hit Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Russell Brand seemed to be on the road to being a successful comedic actor. Unfortunately, most of the movies he starred in after Sarah Marshall where he didn't star as Aldous Snow, didn't manage to get the same critical acclaim or box-office numbers did. But after Hollywood tried to make him a movie star with a 2011 remake of Arthur (1981), he seems to have disappeared from movies almost entirely, as the only movies he was in since were Rock of Ages, Despicable Me 2, and the independent film Paradise. After his TV show Brand X With Russell Brand flopped, he seems to have disappeared from Hollywood entirely. His tabloid marriage with Katy Perry probably didn't help.
In the early-mid 2000s, Spencer Breslin was an up-and-coming child actor who was in many mainstream movies like The Kid, The Santa Clause 2, and Raising Helen. But his career seems to have been killed by three movies in 2006 — Zoom, The Shaggy Dog, and The Santa Clause 3. After those movies, he stopped appearing in big Hollywood films and has done mostly independent work, with the exception of The Happening. Ironically, his sister Abigail's career kickstarted the same year his career died.
Somehow, Adrien Brody signed up for In-APP-ropiate Comedy, his first American theatrical release since Midnight in Paris. Torn to shreds by critics, it could be his last for a while. That being said, the fact that Brody had been doing many Direct to Video films before has shown that he didn't have much of a career before that.
Saving Christmas finished off what was left of Kirk Cameron's career post-Growing Pains. After the cancellation of his short-lived sitcom Kirk in 1996, Cameron, whose born-again religious conversion during production of Growing Painsled to many of that show's late-period troubles, retreated to making religious films to keep his career afloat and began stoking controversy for his statements regarding homosexuality and the theory of evolution. Then came 2014's Saving Christmas, which ended up getting negative reviews for its poor production values and its questionable messages. Cameron wound up playing the victim card and urged his followers to increase the film's user score on Rotten Tomatoes to counter the "anti-Christian" critics who had panned it. This plan backfired spectacularly when people who had never heard of it before went to see it and realized that the critics had a point, turning Cameron into a laughingstock by the general public and evaporating whatever goodwill he had left from the Christian Right. He's still making films, but he has not had the same impact prior to making Saving Christmas, now considered one of the worst films ever made.
Country music star Glen Campbell jumped into film in 1969 opposite John Wayne in True Grit, which was hugely successful. Campbell's follow-up project, the Vietnam-era dramedy Norwood, was a failure, and he was later relegated to supporting roles until he took on the voice of Chanticleer in Don Bluth's animated film Rock-A-Doodle, a legendary critical and commercial failure. Fortunately, it didn't impact Campbell's already successful music career. He retired in 2012 and died from Alzheimer's disease five years later.
Nick Cannon's career as a movie star began with Drumline and ended only three years later when Underclassman flopped at the box office. He's had far more success in television since enjoying a good career producing and hosting TV shows like America's Got Talent.
Jim Carrey's first film, Once Bitten, was also almost his last. At the very least, his film career hit a speed bump that he wouldn't recover from for several years. He would later hit another snag with the critical failure of Dumb and Dumber To in 2014, which was widely viewed as an inferior sequel to the 1994 comedy hit. Carrey retreated from the spotlight for the next few years, pursuing a new career as a painter (of art critical of then-president Donald Trump) and making appearances in a few lower budget films. In early 2020, however, he starred as Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog. The film received good reviews (especially for Carrey's hammy performance as the villain) and was a financial success, proving that Carrey was on a rebound.
Grease 2 derailed the then-promising career of Maxwell Caulfield, who is on record as saying that it took him ten years to recover when no one would hire him after the movie. Michelle Pfeiffer's career wasn't so damaged, but it did take a beating (Brian De Palma initially refused to consider her for Scarface because of it).
Cedric the Entertainer became successful when he was in the hit Barbershop films. They then tried to make him a star with Johnson Family Vacation, which was a modest box office success. However, he then starred in the remake of The Honeymooners, which flopped at the box office. Then he starred in Code Name: The Cleaner, which flopped so hard, it didn't even crack the top 10 on opening weekend. After that movie, he has still popped up here and there in supporting roles, but he has never been given another chance to star in a major mainstream film.
For years, Jackie Chan was a popular action star in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia. However, he became popular in America with the Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon series. His other efforts to become a movie star in America, including The Tuxedo, The Medallion, and Around the World in 80 Days (2004) didn't work out so wellnote The last one of these is part of a string of Disney flops that turned into a Creator Killer for soon-to-be-ex-CEO Michael Eisner , but after Rush Hour 3 became a modest success thanks to its worldwide gross, Hollywood tried to make him an American star again. However, that ended when The Spy Next Door flopped at the box office, and while he remains an icon in Asia, he has hardly done any films in America since (The Spy Next Door also annihilated the theatrical career of director Brian Levant, who already had a two-decade-long string of critical busts on his resume by this film's release).
Throughout The '70s and The '80s, Chevy Chase was a big star, but by the '90s, movies like Nothing but Trouble had turned him into a walking joke. But he was still getting lead roles until Vegas Vacation, which killed his status as a leading man in Hollywood. His only big role since has been on Community, which he left after numerous clashes with the show's creator, Dan Harmon, something not uncommon with the notoriously difficult-on-set Chase.
Michael Chiklis starred as John Belushi in the 1989 biopic Wired, which was universally panned by critics and bombed at the box office. While it effectively derailed his career in films, Chiklis ended up carving out a respectable career for himself on TV, where he headlined two successful, long-running shows (The Commish and The Shield).
Sacha Baron Cohen become big in America after the controversial Borat became a hit. His follow-up Brüno (2009) didn't do as well critically or financially and most people saw it as a Borat rip-off, but it was still a modest success. Then he did The Dictator, which did even worse critically and financially and caused him to resurrect his Ali G character for television as opposed to doing another movie. His only subsequent starring role, Grimsby, was a Box Office Bomb that seems to have finished him off. Luckily, his career seems to have rebounded on streaming in 2020 with the success of his films Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The Trial of the Chicago 7. He received Oscar nominations for co-writing the former's screenplay and for his supporting role as anti-Vietnam War activist Abbie Hoffman in the latter.
Sean Connery had been enjoying a long-term career resurgence ever since The Untouchables won him an Oscar in 1988. Then, in 1998, he played a villain in The Avengers (1998) (based on the TV show, not the comics) and the film and Connery's performance were so badly lambasted that many critics predicted the end of the veteran actor's career. The mixed response to his next film, Entrapment didn't help (though it was more popular than Avengers thanks to the chemistry between Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones'). Connery was able to redeem himself with critics with the 2000 drama Finding Forrester, but after his very next film, 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tanked again, Connery retired for good. During the last few decades of his life, Connery wrote a memoir titled Being a Scot and took on a few voice-over roles (including a Role Reprise as James Bond for the video game version of From Russia with Love).
After starring in Employee of the Month, Dane Cook went on to have supporting roles in Dan in Real Life and Mr. Brooks, and leading roles in two other movies, Good Luck Chuck and My Best Friend's Girl. The latter two movies seem to have derailed his screen career, as he didn't act in another movie until his supporting role in Detention three years later. This would become a trend for him, as most of his post-My Best Friend's Girl film work have been supporting roles in independent films. The only starring role he's had since was a voice-acting role in Planes, which came out in 2013.
Stardust was intended to launch Charlie Cox's career as a cinematic leading man, but it failed to propel him to the A-List like the studio intended. However, Cox admits that this was for the best as it meant he spent the next few years taking on a variety of roles that he would never have been able to as a leading man. This included an acclaimed run as Owen Sleater on Boardwalk Empire. Getting this opportunity to develop his dramatic skills eventually led to his critically-acclaimed turn as Matt Murdock in Daredevil (2015), which turned him into an international star. Cox's performance as Matt is also considered to be one of the consistent bright spots within the hit-and-miss nature of Marvel's Netflix shows. He also had a prominent supporting turn in the Oscar-nominated The Theory of Everything.
Superdad was the beginning and the end of Bob Crane's career as a leading man on film, as he was unable to translate the success of Hogan's Heroes to the big screen. (Disneyshelving the film for a year also didn't help.) The film's critical and box office failure was so great that he only appeared in one more film before his murder in 1978. His downfall story is told in the Paul Schrader film Auto Focus.
Throughout the late '70s to the '90s, Billy Crystal was a highly successful comedian and actor. But that pretty much ended once Analyze That failed to repeat the critical and commercial success of its predecessor. Since that movie, he has acted scarcely, sticking mostly to voice work, TV work, and independent film. He attempted a comeback in 2012 with Parental Guidance but, while it did well at the box office, it was blasted by critics, which probably ensured he wasn't going to go back to being a leading man anytime soon.
In The '80s, John Cusack made many hit movies like Better Off Dead and Say Anything.... His career cooled off a bit in the '90s, but he still had some hits like Grosse Pointe Blank. However, in the 2000s, most of the movies he made were critical (and even sometimes commercial) flops. The Raven (2012) was the last straw, as he's mostly done only independent films since then, with the exception of a cameo in The Butler. Disillusionment with working in Hollywood (particularly its treatment of women and child actors) also played a part, causing him to pull back from larger films and prefer working on independent projects like Love & Mercy.
Rodney Dangerfield became a breakout star after Caddyshack, following it up with some hits like Easy Money and Back to School. Then he made Meet Wally Sparks, which flopped at the box office. After that movie, he never starred in another major film again and most of his movies went straight to video, before his death in 2004.
Drug problems had already put a damper on Brad Davis' post-Midnight Express career when he did Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Querelle (in which Davis played a gay sailor who dabbles in drug-dealing and murder), described as "career suicide" by at least one commentator. (This was before Ellen DeGeneres' coming-out in 1997 made audiences more comfortable with seeing openly gay actors and characters onscreen; Davis came out as bisexual years before Ellen broke that taboo.)
Though he had a few starring roles in the late '80s, Patrick Dempsey didn't really hit it big until he got the role of Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd in Grey's Anatomy. Due to his sudden burst of popularity, they tried to make him a movie star again in the '00s. First, he got the male lead in Enchanted, which proved to be a big hit. Unfortunately, he followed it up with Made of Honor, which didn't do well either critically or financially. After that movie, he's been relegated primarily to supporting parts.
Matt Dillon was a big star in the '80s, but laid rather low in The '90s and did only supporting or bit parts. He had a Career Resurrection with Crash, which got him nominated for an Oscar. However, his career then fell not soon after when he starred in You, Me and Dupree, which, despite being a box office success, got terrible reviews. After the movie, he's gone back to doing supporting roles or indie/arthouse films like The House That Jack Built and even some TV work.
In the early 2010s, Hollywood tried to make Josh Duhamel a movie star with movies like When in Rome, Life As We Know It, and New Year's Eve. However, it seems that Safe Haven killed his career as, despite doing well at the box office, his next movie after it was a Direct-to-DVD Planes rip-off called Wings and he never really had another major role again. However, he still managed to score supporting roles in Transformers: The Last Knight (granted he was already part of that franchise) and Love, Simon.
Ansel Elgort, who became a popular teen heartthrob by starring in adaptations of the Divergent series and The Fault in Our Stars, broke into more adult fare with Baby Driver in 2017, which, in addition to getting good reviews, was a decent box office success amidst a summer season with multiple franchise films. His ascent was abruptly halted when he starred in 2019's The Goldfinch, which bombed critically and financially (costing a total of $50 million combined for production company Amazon Studios and distributor Warner Bros.). He seemed poised to make a comeback with a new adaptation of West Side Story initially due for release in 2020, but a combination of delays due to COVID-19 and some ugly allegations of sexual harassment directed at him might have put a pin on that.
Dan Fogler is a Broadway award-winner who was tapped by Hollywood executives to headline several major comedy films, including School For Scoundrels and Balls of Fury. The final straw, however, came with Good Luck Chuck, which bombed and mostly killed his film career before he could go anywhere with it. The only films he appeared in after this were the financially-unsuccessful Fanboys and Take Me Home Tonight, both of which were shot years before he broke into Hollywood, and Mars Needs Moms, which just put the coffin in the ground.
James Franco was once of the biggest rising stars of the 2000s and early 2010s, with numerous roles in acclaimed films under his belt (including Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy, his Oscar-nominated turn as Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, and his Golden Globe-winning one as Tommy Wiseau in his self-directed The Disaster Artist). That is, until he suffered a huge setback with the critical and financial failure of Zeroville (which he also directed) in 2019. Making this sting even more was that the film initially finished filming in 2014, but lingered in The Shelf of Movie Languishment for years after the original distributors filed for bankruptcy. Numerous accusations of sexual misconduct aimed at him before and after the film's release haven't helped matters.
What didn't help was that he was supposed to star in a film version of the legend of William Tell. However, he ended up suing the producer, Todd Moyer, after Moyer failed to stay on schedule due to financial problems, as he stated that Moyer screwed him out of more than $2 million worth of acting fees as he had to turn down many projects to stay on the William Tell project. To make matters worse, he was also involved in an accident that injured his back and made him unable to perform his own stunts, which limited the types of movies he was able to do.
However Fraser has rebounded considerably in recent years with highly acclaimed turns in Trust and his lead role in Doom Patrol (2019) and a younger generation who appreciate his work and the fact that his career decline was partially brought on by his being sexually assaulted by Philip Berk has garnered him immense sympathy. He also had a major role in Steven Soderbergh's No Sudden Move and is set to play the lead in the next film by Darren Aronofsky as well as a role in Martin Scorsese's next film, indicating that a full blown comeback might be in his future.
The character of George Valentin in The Artist is a once-successful silent movie idol whose career is badly damaged as a result of the prominence of "talking pictures." Valentin's downfall parallels that of real-life silent star John Gilbert. His suave, dashing, and handsome image gained the attention of moviegoers, especially when paired with leading lady (and alleged lover) Greta Garbo. That image was forever destroyed when he appeared in a disastrous "talkie" called His Glorious Night. Audiences laughed when Gilbert squeaked "I love you, I love you, I love you!" to his female lead, literally destroying his career reportedly because of the sound of his voice. The worst part? Many sources claimed that Gilbert's voice was fine, but was altered in post-production by studio head Louis B. Mayer (the second "M" in MGM). Mayer hated the star for his erratic behavior and allegedly maneuvered his downfall by giving him roles in awful films, including that one. A heartbroken Gilbert ultimately drank himself to death in 1936; he was 36 years old.
The Apple was George Gilmour's film debut and film farewell.
Charles Grodin was a popular comedic actor from the '70s to the '90s. Then he made Clifford. After that movie, he didn't act in a movie for another twelve years and became a political commentator and talk show host on CNBC instead. He returned to acting in the mid-2000s, popping up in numerous supporting roles before retiring in 2017 and his death in 2021.
The winner (Kelly Clarkson) and runner-up (Justin Guarini) of the first season of American Idol were forced to act in the tie-in movie From Justin to Kelly, which was a legendary critical and popular bomb. Kelly's talent and appeal helped her withstand that disaster, as she went on to sell 25 million albums worldwide and become one of the biggest music stars of the 2000s (though, without question, it's a major Old Shame for her), but Guarini's potential career was totally derailed, and he became the most notorious laughingstock in the show's Top 10 until Sanjaya Malakar. The only actor whose career escaped from the shadow of this movie was Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony Award shortly after this film was released, and has since starred in Dreamgirls and The Princess and the Frog.
Rex Harrison permanently damaged his career when Doctor Dolittle becoming a colossal bomb, made possible in part by him acting as a drunken prima donna; he demanded endless script rewrites, completely impractical production changes, and ridiculous cast changes so he could guarantee no one can show him up singing, and also hurled anti-Semitic insults at his Jewish co-stars. It didnt help that Harrison, by the late '60s older than most leading men, outright refused to play supporting roles. A few years after Dolittle, Sam Spiegel approached him to play Count Witte in Nicholas and Alexandra, a small but important character. Harrison took offense, angrily telling Spiegel "I dont do bit parts!" The role went to Laurence Olivier, who famously had no such reservations.
True Identity was British comedian Lenny Henry's bid for both American and silver screen stardom, but the disastrous critical reception and poisonous box office (on both sides of the Atlantic) ended his US career before it started; other than the concert film Lenny Live And Unleashed, this is his only non-voice-related starring movie to date. (It also singlehandedly ruined the career of the film's director (and fellow cast member) Charles Lane, who's only had one directing (for American Playhouse) and two acting credits since.) Much like Rik Mayall, maybe film wasn't for him.
C. Thomas Howell was an up-and-coming teen actor who starred in hits like The Outsiders and Red Dawn. Then he made Soul Man, which, although it was a box-office hit, garnered controversy because he spent half of the movie in blackface. He's hardly been in a major Hollywood movie (with the notable exception being The Amazing Spider-Man) since, and when he has, it's mostly been in straight-to-video work and smaller roles on TV.
Kevin James, after a successful stint in the sitcom The King of Queens and a supporting role in Hitch, took a major nosedive after co-starring with long-time partner Adam Sandler in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which was panned by critics despite box office success and marred by accusations of promoting homophobia. He seemed to be on the right track again when he went on to star in Paul Blart: Mall Cop two years later, which despite mediocre reviews was a box office hit. But then his next starring role was Zookeeper, which did not do as well at all critically or financially. And then came Here Comes the Boom the next year, which did even worse. After that movie, he has not starred in another theatrical movie, except for the critically reviled sequel to Paul Blart and a supporting role in Pixels. He then tried to pick up the pieces with another sitcom, Kevin Can Wait, but it ended up being cancelled after a heavily-panned second season in which James' TV wife was written off and replaced by his former TV wife Leah Remini in an attempt to turn the series into a King of Queens clone. As of 2020, he seems to be on a bit of an upswing, with an acclaimed villainous turn in the thriller Becky and a supporting part in the surprisingly well-received Hubie Halloween. He's also started a YouTube channel dedicated to comedic shorts, which has turned out to be reasonably popular. His chances of being an A-list comedic leading man have likely come and gone, but he's at least a bit more respected now than he was during his Hollywood Hype Machine days.
Brad Johnson in Flight of the Intruder. Hyped as a star in the making with his role in Steven Spielberg's Always, he took on a similar role (paired with Danny Glover and Willem Dafoe) with this big-budget war movie with hopes that it would meet the hype. The film's failure torpedoed those chances, and Johnson has spent the rest of his career in straight-to-video sequels and religious films.
Heartbeeps derailed Andy Kaufman's potential film career. Universal was leery of having him make films more in tune with his Cloudcuckoolander sensibilities right off the bat, especially after In God We Tru$t (in which he played a key supporting role) bombed. Thus, appearing in a family-friendly sci-fi comedy was a way to prove he could draw an audience; also, he liked the script when he read it. It was a Troubled Production, however, and was cut to less than 80 minutes by the time it was released at the end of 1981, whereupon it flopped instantly.
Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights had the dubious distinction of being the lead actor of not one, but two of the most high-profile blockbuster bombs of 2012. John Carter and Battleship both failed to inspire audiences to turn out and tanked so hard, each film posted a loss of over $200 million for Disney and Universal, respectively. Just John Carter tanking was bad enough, despite getting average critical reviews (though hints have been dropped that there's still some hope for a sequel), but the failure of Battleship just a few months later really closed the door on Kitsch being a big-time leading man in Hollywood.
Chris Klein's career as a leading man was sent several steps backward after he starred in the critically lambasted 2002 remake of James Caan's Rollerball. His next leading role in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li seems to have removed him from the spotlight for the foreseeable future, although he did receive some notices for his role as the villain Cicada on the CW's The Flash.
John Krasinski in License To Wed (which also derailedMandy Moore's film career), Leatherheads, and Away We Go in the late '00s. Beforehand, he was best known for The Office (US), with these films being his shot at breaking into film comedy. License to Wed and Leatherheads both bombed, however, and while Away We Go was well-received by critics, its limited release caused it to go ignored at the box office. Since then, he's been relegated to supporting roles and indie films. However, with the huge success of A Quiet Place (which Krasinski also directed) and Jack Ryan on Prime Video, his prospects are much higher.
After finding success with The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Larry the Cable Guy tried to become a movie star with Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, which fell $2 million shy of its $17 million budget and was critically ravaged (though it would be Vindicated by Cable soon after). Studios still tried to make him a movie star with Delta Farce and Witless Protection, both of which flopped just as hard. The only major acting roles he's had since then are the more-acclaimed voice part of Tow Mater in the Cars series and a number of supporting roles. Otherwise, he has stuck to doing Direct to Video sequels to family films and reprising his role as Mater in animated shorts and video games. Today, Health Inspector, along with some of his other film work, has garnered a small but respectable cult following.
Taylor Lautner's chance of a career after the Twilight films (which briefly turned him into one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors) pretty much went up in smoke after Abduction sank with critics and moviegoers. Planned starring roles in adaptations of Stretch Armstrong and the David and Goliath story got shelved indefinitely. His career since has been composed of bit parts and Direct to Video films.
George Lazenby's career already suffered a major blow, when he decided not to return as James Bond after On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but what really killed it was Universal Soldier (1971), which he co-wrote and which Lazenby himself described as a comedy with no plot. After that, he mainly appeared in movies made in Australia and Hong Kong (the most notable being The Man from Hong Kong), TV shows, and made-for-TV movies.
While they didn't completely kill his career, Underworld and Two If by Sea probably didn't convince studios to give Denis Leary any more starring roles. Leary shifted gears towards television instead, which proved to be a more prosperous endeavor (most notably with the Emmy-nominated Rescue Me). However, his turn to television would be derailed too with Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.
1931's The Gay Diplomat was the first and last film starring Ivan Lebedeff, a would-be Valentino who was clearly full of himself. Diplomat flopped, and RKO executives were shocked that Lebedeff got very bad notices for his performance as test audiences were allegedly raving about him, as evidenced by the screening cards. It turned out that those cards were written by Lebedeff himself!
While still working on Friends, Matt LeBlanc decided to make a big break in Hollywood with the comedy film Ed, which was an incomprehensible critical and box office disaster instead. Other than his supporting roles in the Lost in Space and Charlie's Angels (2000) film adaptations (and the former itself wasn't very well-received either), he has barely done any film work since then, and after Friends was canceled he attempted to keep his television spotlight with a spin-off titled Joey, which was Screwed by the Network in its second season and later axed. Burnt out after this, he took a year-long sabbatical that turned into a five-year break. The long break ended up becoming a boon for him. He made his comeback in the critically-acclaimed Episodes and won a Golden Globe in the process. Since then, he became the lead presenter on Top Gear (and one of the few things people universally liked about the show's revamp) and returned to American network television with the sitcom Man with a Plan.
Herbert Lom retired from film acting after the failure of 1993's Son of the Pink Panther, though he continued to make occasional television appearances. His last major project was appearing a 2004 episode of the ITV series Marple; he died eight years later.
Josh Lucas in Stealth and Poseidon. After years of taking small and supporting roles in numerous films, Lucas got his first taste of stardom playing the estranged ex-husband of Reese Witherspoon's character in Sweet Home Alabama. Following that film's success, he went on to appear in the 2003 version of Hulk and was given the chance to headline two big-budget films in a span of one year, Stealth (opposite Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx) and Poseidon (alongside Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss among others). But after those two movies became massive critical and commercial failures, Lucas has returned to supporting roles, never being leading man material again.
Ken Marshall was supposed to make it to the big time with Krull following his acclaimed role in the miniseries Marco Polo. But when the film completely bombed, Marshall didn't take another acting job for four years, and has since done many guest appearances on numerous TV shows, most notably with a recurring guest spot on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Any chance Norm Macdonald had at being a leading man in Hollywood was killed by both Dirty Work and Screwed as they both bombed at the box office. These days, he mostly does straight to DVD/indie stuff, the occasional Adam Sandler film, and a brief stint of KFC commercials. In 2017 he got his most recognizable role in two decades with a recurring voice-only role in The Orville.
Paul Mercurio first garnered attention for his role in the acclaimed Australian dancing film Strictly Ballroom. Its success brought him to the USA where he landed his first American movie role in Exit to Eden. The latter film earned a savaging from critics and flopped at the box office, causing Mercurio to retreat back to his native country and appear in a string of low-budget and direct-to-video flicks. Plus, he was also more successful as a dancer and as a television personality back there later, never giving Hollywood another chance.
Kel Mitchell was a popular comedian due to All That. He ended up becoming so popular that he and his All That co-star, Kenan Thompson, got their own spin-off show, Kenan & Kel. They ended up being such a popular duo that they even got their own movie, Good Burger, which was a modest hit. Then Kel did Mystery Men, which bombed at the box office. Kenan and Kel was canceled a year later and he was never seen in a major film again. Now he sticks to indie films and voice work. Kenan managed to avoid it; despite being in bombs like The Master of Disguise and Fat Albert, he became a longtime cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Eddie Murphy has quite the reputation for being a very good comic actor who should really fire his agent.
Then he backflopped with Norbit (despite being a box office success, it was savaged by critics and possibly cost his DreamgirlsOscar win) and the two family films Meet Dave and Imagine That. Following the critical ravaging of those films, he has since declared his intention to go back to making mature comedies, starting with the Brett Ratner film Tower Heist. Even this couldn't save him, however, as his next (released) film after Tower Heist was the critically mauled bomb A Thousand Words, which despite having sat on the shelf for four years previously was accompanied by a reasonably strong advertising campaign. But Dolemite Is My Name, which was critically acclaimed, especially for his performance, might prove to be a comeback vehicle, but only time will tell whether or not it will fluke like Dreamgirls and Tower Heist.
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London killed Frankie Muniz's career as a leading man. After that movie, the only lead role he had was a voice-acting performance in Racing Stripes and he only did two other theatrical movies after that — both in supporting roles. However Muniz doesn't seem to mind; in his own words (in response to someone tweeting that his acting is awful): "Yeah, but being retired with $40,000,000.00 at 19 has not been awful." Since then, Muniz has spent the last few years as a racing car driver and playing golf.
Myers' downward career trajectory was largely his own doing. Even as early as Wayne's World, he'd gotten a reputation for being a diva and kept burning bridges on almost every project he worked on. The entire reason he ended up working on The Cat in the Hat was that he'd tried to get out of doing a Sprockets movie with Universal and Imagine Entertainment. Part of the legal settlement with them required he make a different film for them. In other words, he only made that movie because he was legally obligated. After this killed his career for several years, the opening of The Love Guru was tarnished by a massive exposé in Entertainment Weekly on just how many people in Hollywood hated him and hoped the movie would bomb. After it did bomb, it was clear that Myers had completely tapped out the audience goodwill that had kept him afloat in the past.
He has been attempting a comeback; for many years he has been trying to star in a Keith Moon biopic, but this will probably never happen due to the fact he is now too old for the part and it's a serious subject matter. There are rumours that Austin Powers 4 is back on the agenda again, it remains to be seen if this happens and arrests his career decline.
Cold Pursuit appears to have stunted Liam Neeson's career, not just by underperforming, but also with a dark memory from his past that inspired his performance. Mistaken for Racist doesn't even begin to describe the controversy that followed his comments about an attempt to avenge the rape of his sister, and even his clarifying how it went down on Good Morning America (read: he ultimately came to his senses and sought help, and he said he would've done the same thing in a Scottish, British, or Lithuanian community if his sister said a Scot, Brit, or Lithuanian was responsible and he asked his sister for a physical description of her attacker other than race) didn't do much to quell the controversy and help this film's chances.
Anthony Newley's first error of judgement was an ill-fated attempt to capitalise on his 1960s success as a singer, songwriter, and stage and movie actor. The former husband of Joan Collins let his ego run away with him in 1969 with the musical Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?. Newley starred and directed himself as well as writing the songs. Described by a critic as "professional suicide", this film consistently scores highly in any vote for The Worst Film of All Time. It crippled Newley's later career and contributed to his divorce from Collins (who played one of the female leads). His highest-profile work after that was composing Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, for which he earned an Oscar nomination.
Newley believed that one comeback movie role would be a huge hit and would re-establish him, but again he chose appallingly badly. The putative career-salvaging role turned out to be a colossal piece of crap and cursed him to work in small TV roles for the rest of his life. That was The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987).
Mark Patton, after first gaining notice in Robert Altman's Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, signed onto A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge hoping that it would be his big break. Instead, the film's Homoerotic Subtext caused people to question Patton's sexuality (he was gay, though still closeted at the time), and at the height of the AIDS crisis and the wave of homophobia that resulted, his career was destroyed; he only did some TV work before retiring from acting and moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The makers of the A Nightmare on Elm Street retrospective documentary Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy had to hire a private investigator to find him. The documentary Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street goes into more detail on Patton's experience with the film and its aftermath.
Although it wasn't a major dent in his career as a singer, Luciano Pavarotti was not destined for the cinema after the failure of Yes, Giorgio.
Mark Pillow, who portrayed Nuclear Man in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (though his voice was dubbed by Gene Hackman), was subject to much of the film's criticism for his performance onscreen. This, combined with the critical thrashing of nearly every other aspect of the film, meant Pillow would never return to the big screen again, having sadly been brought down by the film's own incompetence.
Joe Piscopo, like Eddie Murphy, held his own during Saturday Night Live'sDork Age in the early 1980s and found offers in major films such as Johnny Dangerously and Brian De Palma's Wise Guys, none of which were box-office successes. Dead Heat proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Piscopo's career as a movie leading man and subsequently found himself in supporting roles in low-quality kids movies such as Sidekicks and Two Bits and Pepper in the '90s. He has since gravitated to becoming a right-wing pundit on New York talk radio (and has dipped his toes into politics himself).
Prince's acting career was derailed by his second film, the critical and commercial flop Under the Cherry Moon. He waited another four years to make Graffiti Bridge, and when that flopped he took the hint and went back to music for the rest of his life.
Summer Catch spelled the end of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s days as a leading man in Hollywood. Once the popular choice for teen romantic comedies in the late '90s and early 2000s, he has seen his résumé grow very skimpy since then. Video games have since become his rerailment, having provided the voices of Ensemble DarkhorsesJamesVega and the Iron Bull. Additionally, his role as the voice of Kanan Jarrus on Star Wars Rebels earned more acclaim than he ever received as a major leading man.
The Prodigal was intended to solidify Edmund Purdom's stature as a Hollywood leading man. Instead, it tanked at the box office, and Purdom spent the rest of his career in Europe.
Despite not being a huge hit financially, Max Records got a lot of praise for his performance in Where the Wild Things Are. After The Sitter flopped both financially and critically, he vanished until one of his movies, I Am Not a Serial Killer, appeared on Netflix.
Keanu Reeves in the critically panned independent drama film Generation Um.... With the exception of his critically acclaimed directorial debut Man of Tai Chi (which he also starred in), his next role afterwards was the Box Office Bomb47 Ronin. Thankfully, John Wick served as a major comeback for him due to it being a critical and commercial success domestically upon release in 2014.
After the failures of R.I.P.D. and Turbo, both of which were released on the same weekend, and combined with the failure of 2011's Green Lantern (2011), the major studios spent a few years convinced Ryan Reynolds should not be headlining any major films. However, a turn voice-acting Deadpool for some CGI tests received heavy attention and fan acclaim, which in turn led to him making an actual Deadpool film, which was released in February 2016. And then it blew away box office records, including the largest opening weekend for an R-rated film and largest opening weekend in Fox's history.
Scottish actor Michael E. Rodgers started his on-screen acting career as a nervous patient (a cameo role) in the 1996 film The Dentist when he was unknown to many people. After guest-starring in some television work and less well-known films, he finally had a supporting role as Mr. Conductor's fun-loving and likable younger cousin, Junior, in the big-screen children's movie Thomas and the Magic Railroad, but the film derailed off the tracks and thus, apart from another cameo role in The Patriot, he never got another chance as a huge film star. Then, in the mid-to-late 2000s, Rodgers starred in a decent selection of guest-starring roles in television shows and had a well-received voice role as Anti-Villain Judge Gabranth in the 2006 JRPG Final Fantasy XII, but a few years later, he decided to start a film school in Italy, where he teaches to this day.
The failure of Immortals sadly killed all of Mickey Rourke's hype right after he experienced a fleeting Career Resurrection with his Oscar-nominated work in The Wrestler. Since then, he has primarily appeared in low-budget action and crime flicks that went straight to video.
Alex Russell, after appearing in Chronicle, didn't find any more luck than Dane DeHaan did. He followed up his breakout role with The Host and Carrie (2013), both of which looked promising but ended up flopping at the box office. After appearing in those two movies, he has hardly appeared in a mainstream film, except for a small role in Unbroken. However, he has found a place on television as Jim Street on S.W.A.T. (2017).
As the '00s went on, however, audiences' opinions of Sandler began to fall more in line with those of critics. While most of his films were still making big money, complaints about his low-brow, vulgar style began to mount, especially after Judd Apatow's style of comedy (ironic, given that Apatow was Sandler's college roommate and longtime friend) started earning the favor of critics and audiences with movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Jack and Jill, despite making money, earned a record ten Golden Raspberry Awards, while That's My Boy was Sandler's first out-and-out flop in years; together, the two films arguably marked the turning point in the public's opinion of him. While the Grown Ups and Hotel Transylvania films were financially successful, Blended, his reunion with his Wedding Singer and 50 First Datesco-starDrew Barrymore, was a dud. The final straw seems to have been Pixels, a big-budget action-comedy that hit theaters with a resounding thud in 2015, spawning a litany of articles about how his star has fallen. Since then, Sandler has been making films almost exclusively for Netflix. Things have finally started to turn around for him, however. In 2017, both he and Ben Stiller gave rare dramatic roles in Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories, for which they both earned good notices from critics. The following year, he released his first stand-up special in years to surprisingly positive reception. 2019 wound up being an especially good year for him. In May, he returned to the stage that made him a household name when he hosted Saturday Night Live and wound up being one of the best-received hosts from the last few years. The next month, a new movie of his, Murder Mystery, was released on Netflix. It was met with a resounding "meh" from critics but wound up being an unexpected smash hit for the platform, boasting the largest opening weekend for any movie in the site's history. And later that year, he had a starring role in the thriller Uncut Gems, which saw him cast wildly against type. The movie was met with rave reviews and his performance in particular was universally lauded, with the possibility of him netting an Oscar becoming a hotly discussed potential news story. When he failed to get a nomination, there was significant outrage both online and in the media. While his next project, Hubie Halloween, was a comedy film more in line with the sort of films he's primarily known for, it was met with a decent reception from critics, indicating that his days as a laughingstock are seemingly behind him.
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo put the death knell on Rob Schneider's power as a leading man after it underperformed at the box office. His war of words with Roger Ebert at the same time didn't help matters, either. Since then, the only leading roles he's had in theatrical releases are ensemble pieces and, for a little while, the only thing keeping him in the studio system was supporting roles in Adam Sandler's movies. Now that he's stopped appearing in Adam's movies, he's done only straight-to-DVD films and a couple of independent movies. Then came 2016's Norm of the North, which bombed completely with audiences and critics, killing Schneider's chances of ever making a successful comeback.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's career has been in a pretty steady decline for a long time. His last big hit before becoming Governor of California was 1994's True Lies and of his post Governorship career only The Expendables 2 really did well and that was an ensemble piece where Sylvester Stallone was the star. All his other projects have disappointed, underperformed, or outright flopped with even Maggie failing at the box office despite critical acclaim for his role. The writing was on the wall when Aftermath made a dismal $675,000 off a $10.5 million budget, a less than 5% return, and The Legend of Conan was passed over by the studio due to lack of faith in his box office draw. Schwarzenegger's next film, Killing Gunther, only received a limited theatrical release after it had already streamed online. Schwarzenegger's next film, Viy 2: Journey To China, was a Russo-Chinese co-production that despite having Jackie Chan co-starring is unlikely to set the US box office alight (if it even gets released there) and so far has only made $8 million on a $49 million budget. Barring some kind of miracle, Schwarzenegger's days in film are probably numbered - none of his other recently mooted projects apart from Viy have moved out of pre-production to date apart from Terminator: Dark Fate, which despite earning decent reviews, suffered an abysmal opening weekend and is on track to lose the studio between $100 and $130 million in losses and is probably the final nail in the coffin of his film career.
David Schwimmer in Duane Hopwood, his first film project following the end of Friends. Since the indie's flop, he's only made occasional television appearances and his only major roles were in a series of financially unsuccessful independent films. His only projects worth noting are his roles in the Madagascar series as he shifted toward a directing and off-Broadway theatrical career.
For a while in the late 2000s, Jason Segel seemed to be on the rise following his presence on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother and a supporting role in the well-received Knocked Up, accumulating in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a film he wrote and starred in. This was followed by a continuing streak of roles in well-received movies or at the very least movies that were successful. He arguably reached his peak with passion project The Muppets, which he also penned the screenplay for and starred in. That film was incredibly well-received, financially successful, and seemed to set Segel in as an actor who could headline a movie. Then that film was quickly followed up by The Five-Year Engagement, another written-and-starred-in effort by Segel that had more of a mixed reception from critics and was decimated by The Avengers (2012) at the box office. 2014 killed his star prospects, How I Met Your Mother's reputation sank like a stone following its contested finale, the franchise he helped revive was nearly killed as quickly as it was revived after a sequel to his film bombed but the thing that directly affected his career was Sex Tape, currently the final film he wrote the screenplay for in addition to starring in it. That film was largely loathed by critics and was a Box Office Bomb. Segel hasn't starred in a wide-release studio film since. Today, Segel has mostly left the Hollywood life behind him, mostly writing young adult fantasy novels, but still will occasionally take some roles more serious than what he used to.
Tom Selleck was expected to be the next face in the action film industry after Magnum, P.I. gave him the catapult to the A-list, subsequently starring in action-packed thrillers like Runaway and An Innocent Man, and occasionally Playing Against Type in Three Men and a Baby (the biggest hit of 1987) and In & Out. Then he did The Love Letter, which bombed critically and commercially and blackballed Selleck from feature films; an awkward appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show to promote the movie that turned into a gun-control argument (Selleck is very pro-NRA; O'Donnell very much isn't) didn't help either. He subsequently starred in low-budget television movies, and his only role in film since The Love Letter was the romantic comedy action film Killers, which was the straw that broke the camel's back. Although his film career petered out, he continues to thrive on television thanks to the hit CBS series Blue Bloods, a rare hit in the Friday Night Death Slot, and a popular multi-year guest run on Friends.
Pauly Shore was a reasonably popular actor in the early '90s, starring in some successful screwball comedies. Then Bio-Dome happened and killed Shore's career stone-dead. Since then, he's only been able to star in movies that he himself makes and has been relegated to bit parts and cameos otherwise.
The awful reception of Alone in the Dark (2005) with critics and moviegoers marked the beginning of the end for Christian Slater as a leading man in mainstream films, pushing him down to Direct to Video territory and four television shows later in the 2000s that failed to make it past a single season - fortunately, Mr. Robot earned him a Golden Globe, and he also has a recurring guest role on Archer.
Wesley Snipes in Blade: Trinity. His career was beginning to cool by the late '90s and early 2000s with the exception of the first two Blade films, which were box office successes. By the time the third movie came out, it received a negative reaction from both critics and fans alike, leading to a disappointing total. It also doesn't help that Snipes filed a lawsuit against New Line Cinema (which distributed the trilogy) and the film's director David S. Goyer, claiming that they cut him out of casting decisions and filmmaking processes. After the film's failure, Snipes appeared in a string of straight-to-DVD releases and didn't make another theatrical appearance for six years (with the film Brooklyn's Finest). He also went to federal prison for tax evasion, putting the franchise on hold. Now that he's been released, he's started to mount a comeback with an appearance in The Expendables 3, and there is talk of doing a fourth Blade film (atDisney; longstory).
The complete failure of Billionaire Boys Club on opening day, during which it earned only $126 across 10 theatres, has officially established Kevin Spacey as box office poison following his exposure as the most high-profile gay sex offender to be hit by the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal and the #MeToo movement. It didn't help matters when, after his accuser Anthony Rapp fired the opening salvo, Spacey tried to deflect by coming out as gay, a move that backfired when many people (especially in the LGBT community) accused him of feeding into the highly offensive stereotype of the gay pedophile.
David Spade's previous efforts with Happy Madison, Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, both bombed at the box office. Despite doing better than the previous two movies, however, Benchwarmers seems to have been the film that made sure Dave would never lead another movie in Hollywood again, as he's done only supporting roles since (unless you count him as one of the leads in the Grown Ups movies).
Just as the 2013 version of The Lone Rangerkilled the careers of its stars, 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger did the same to that of Klinton Spilsbury, who made his film debut and film farewell here. It didn't help that his voice was dubbed. Not helping matters was the decision by production company ITC to sue Clayton Moore (who had played the character on the TV series and related films, and to many, was the Lone Ranger) for making public appearances as the character, something he had done for decades. The suit greatly offended the American public, who rallied around Moore and stayed away from the film. Moore won the suit, but the film was irreparably damaged from the bad press and negative reviews, resulting in an all-around disaster.
Jerry Springer attempted to jump into the film medium by replicating the success of his talk show with the comedy film Ringmaster, in which he essentially played himself as a tabloid talk show host. The attempt enormously failed at both the box office and critics, the latter of which helped Springer a Razzie Award for Worst New Star. Other than co-starring with Dolph Lundgren in the direct-to-video movie The Defender, he has not made any film appearances since then.
Daniel Stern in Bushwhacked and Celtic Pride. After the successes of Diner, The Wonder Years, Home Alone, and City Slickers, much was expected from him. Then these films, which he intended to be his big breaks in Hollywood, were ruthlessly savaged by critics and failed miserably at the box office. Since then, he's been reduced to working on straight-to-video films and television parts, notably voicing the title role in the short-lived television adaptation of the comic strip Dilbert, and has never gotten out of the garbage heap. Whip It could have served as a comeback for him, but despite being praised for his role, it flopped at the box office instead, failing to change his career direction. After a failed NBC project and starring in the much-reviled A Christmas Story 2, Stern landed a dramatic role in WGN's Manhattan, but is far from the rising star of 25 years ago.
Jon Stewart's middling film career was brought to a complete halt by the failure of Doogal, a pointless star-laden dub of The Magic Roundabout where he played the Big Bad. He's since gone entirely back to his political satire career, with his only acting role since being a guest spot on Gravity Falls which he got as a thank you for convincing its creator to go ahead with a second season and give the story a proper conclusion despite his exhaustion after the first.
Zoolander 2 definitely harmed the career of Ben Stiller, though moreso as a movie star than his overall career in Hollywood. While Stiller had a lot of success in the late '90s and early '00s, most of his movies in the early '10s, like The Watch (2012) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, either flopped or underperformed. Looking at the box office receipts for most of his 2010s work, it's hard not to infer Zoolander 2 was probably his attempt to Win Back the Crowd. Once it bombed critically and financially, he has hardly acted since, only acting in independent movies, like Brad's Status and The Meyerowitz Stories, and guest spots on Saturday Night Live and Maya and Marty as well as reprising his role as Tony Wonder on Arrested Development. However, he has had success as a director, directing the critically acclaimed miniseries Escape at Dannemora and he's been busy at work as a producer.
John Stockwell had a breakout role in the film version of Christine but followed that with starring roles (City Limits, My Science Project, Radioactive Dreams, and Dangerously Close which he unfortunately co-wrote) that were box-office bombs and/or critical failures. Any chance for his to return to leading acting roles in the '90s failed as by that time his acting career was dead. It's probably because of those films that he became a director.
The career of Jim Sturgess was looking like it would go places after Across the Universe and 21 did well. But then he did the historical drama Fifty Dead Men Walking, which flopped at the box office despite earning praise from critics. He has followed it up with a few high-profile projects, but even those flopped and Sturgess' buzz is all but non-existent today.
The universally savaged and colossal flop Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star derailed Nick Swardson's career as a leading man in motion pictures before it could even get started. The film also led to Comedy Central terminating their contract with Swardson and canceling his Pretend Time sketch series, further damaging his reputation.
Patrick Swayze's A-List status was on thin ice during most of the 1990s, with films like City of Joy, Father Hood, and Tall Tale all flopping. But 1998's Black Dog ensured that Swayze would never headline a major studio film again and he was relegated to making little-seen indie films for the rest of his life. His last well-known film appearance after this was a supporting role in Donnie Darko. Swayze plotted a comeback on television with The Beast, but sadly, his terminal cancer diagnosis led to the show's premature end.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas was an immensely successful child actor through the 1990s, having starred on the sitcom series Home Improvement and co-starred in movies such as The Lion King (1994). After growing up, he attempted new acting ventures, eventually landing the starring role in 1998's I'll Be Home for Christmas. The film proved to be a massive flop and Thomas' career as an adult has slowed down significantly as a result.
Alberto Tomba was not a movie star (or even an actor by trade) to begin with; he was an acclaimed alpine skier with multiple medals and championships under his belt when in 2000, after his retirement, he decided to star in a movie called Alex l'Ariete. His extremely poor performance (often not even speaking intelligibly) ensured he will never grace the big screen again. The movie also bombed mightily, grossing a total oftwo thousandeuros against a budget of three million euros.
Turk 182 (budget, $15 million, box office, $3.5 million) brought Robert Urich's theatrical career to a screeching halt. His career on television didn't slow down one bit.
Vince Vaughn in The Dilemma. In the early-mid '00s, he was one of Hollywood's top comedy actors thanks to films like Old School, Wedding Crashers, and DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, which gave him enough clout to guarantee creative control on a film. His career was starting to slip with weaker films like Four Christmases, but on the set of The Dilemma, he suffered a major case of Small Name, Big Ego, forcing many rewrites, taking over creative control from director Ron Howard, and defending his character's homophobic comments. Consequently, audiences stayed away. His follow-up The Watch (2012), co-starring Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill, also didn't do well with critics and audiences either. Now, he's trying to repair the damage by taking smaller roles in dramatic fare. He attempted a return in 2013, co-starring with Owen Wilson in The Internship, but although the film made decent box office, it was generally not well-received by critics and still lost money for FOX. His next film, 2015's Unfinished Business, however, was a critical and financial failure and marked the end of Vince Vaughn headlining any studio film. Luckily, he has since rediscovered some success as a supporting actor in films like Hacksaw Ridge and Fighting with My Family, which were critically acclaimed (though attention was mostly directed towards Vaughn's co-stars than Vaughn himself).
Ted Wass seemed to be setting his sights for a long and successful career when he appeared as a supporting character in the legendary sitcom Soap, as well as receiving praise for his roles in television movies. He finally got his Hollywood wish as the star of Curse of the Pink Panther, a film that was so poorly received critically and financially that it completely obliterated his film career before it could even start — his only other film role of note came the following year as the main protagonist in Oh, God! You Devil!, which got a middling at best reaction and probably only even did that well due to George Burns's turn in the title roles — and also turned him into a laughingstock by his own TV fans. But come The '90s he found a regular gig again as Blossom's dad, and he has found success as a director for various television programs such as Rules of Engagement and 2 Broke Girls.
Damon Wayans was the first breakout star of the early 90s sketch comedy series In Living Color!, with characters such as Homie the Clown and Anton Jackson. Much was expected of him as he decided to leave the show and break out into the movie business. His first releases, The Last Boy Scout and Mo' Money, did OK in the box office, but in 1994, he starred in Blankman, which flopped at the box office. The next year, he starred in Major Payne, which also did OK business. But 1996 was his big chance to earn his stake on the A-List, which saw him star in three films: Celtic Pride, The Great White Hype and Bulletproof, all of which tanked, killing his leading man career. After dabbling on TV for a while and starring in the Spike Lee flop Bamboozled, Wayans returned to TV with My Wife and Kids, which had a respectable run, giving him another successful TV series under his belt. During this time, in 2003, he would take one more crack at the big screen with Marci X. The film was blasted by critics and once again, bombed, killing any chance he had of headlining future theatrical releases. Since then, he stuck to TV, recently taking on Roger Murtaugh on the TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon. Time will tell if he can add a third successful TV series under his belt.
After a decade of bit parts and stunt work, a young actor named John Wayne finally landed the lead in a major picture — Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail (1930). Unfortunately, the film proved an expensive flop, and Wayne's performance was roundly criticized. The Duke spent another decade slumming in low-quality B movies before John Ford gave him another chance in Stagecoach.
Wayne's later 1956 film The Conqueror (in which he playedGenghis Khan) has at times been pointed to as a literal killer. It was a massive flop that went down as one of the worst films of the '50s, though Wayne's career and those of his co-stars survived. Their health, however, did not; the film was shot in southern Utah, downwind of nuclear testing in Nevada, and everybody involved was exposed to nuclear fallout as a result. (They even shipped some of the dirt from Utah back to Hollywood for reshoots!) By 1980, 91 of the 220 people who had worked on the film had come down with cancer, 46 of whom had died from it (including Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead, director Dick Powell, and Pedro Armendáriz, who committed suicide after learning that his cancer was terminal).
Michael Jai White was an actor whose career was mostly made up of bit roles. Then he got the chance to star in a big-budget Hollywood film with Spawn. However, after that movie flopped with both critics and at the box office, his career didn't go anywhere and he's mostly done bit parts in things like Dragged Across Concrete and direct-to-video movies since, though at least years later would attract a cult following with the blaxploitation parody Black Dynamite.
Though his career had been on a slippery slope for a while, Robin Williams was still headlining movies until Old Dogs. After that, he began taking supporting roles and, like Tim Allen, went back to TV with The Crazy Ones, which itself lasted only one season. Sadly, it's thought that the failure of the last one may have played a role in his death.
Nicol Williamson won extraordinary acclaim for John Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence and Tony Richardson's production of Hamlet onstage. Between 1968 and 1970, touted as the next Marlon Brando, Williamson starred in a quick succession of movies, two based on his theater roles: Inadmissible Evidence, The Bofors Gun, Laughter in the Dark, and the film version of Hamlet. Each film flopped, which, along with Williamson's crude off-stage antics, short-circuited his career. Williamson later found his cinematic footing with roles in Robin and Marian and Excalibur, but as a character actor rather than a leading man.
The failure of UHF completely derailed "Weird Al" Yankovic's career as an actor. Thankfully, his long career in music went on unaffected, UHF has since become a cult classic, and Al still does occasional cameos and voice work, even doing the title role in the Disney series Milo Murphy's Law.