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  • 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. 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, Galaxy Quest, and the Toy Story series had 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, seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back as the only mainstream role he's gotten since then is reprising his role as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3. 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 Anzari 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 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.
    • 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.
  • Fair Game brought William Baldwin's career to a screeching halt and killed the film career of Cindy Crawford before it could even get started. It was also the only film directed by Andrew Sipes, and writer Charlie Fletcher didn't have another credit for six years.
  • Warren Beatty, still riding high off of Bulworth, starred in the massive flop Town And Country (total budget: $90 million; total worldwide gross: just over $10 million). It was his last acting role for 15 years until Rules Don't Apply in 2016, then that movie also bombed at the box office, failing to crack the Top 10 in its opening week.
    • Beatty could have moved back into the spotlight after Quentin Tarantino offered him the title role in Kill Bill but he turned it down. So it looks like Beatty's lack of output in the last decade is by choice.
  • 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, American audiences would've viewed Benigni as a talentless celebrity.
  • Jason Biggs' career took off after American Pie became a hit at the box office. However, his subsequent films outside the American Pie series flopped. Saving Silverman was the last straw, though — after that movie bombed, he never had a leading role in a mainstream film outside of reprising his role as Jim in American Wedding and American Reunion and being the lead in Anything Else. However, being in Orange Is the New Black did serve as a small comeback for him.
  • 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 which 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).
  • Valentine killed David Boreanaz's movie career in the crib. His television career survived unscathed, with him jumping straight to Bones soon after Angel was cancelled, but all of his subsequent films have gone Direct-to-Video in the US.
  • For a good length of time, David Bowie held a reputation as one of the best non-actor actors out there, 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 campy Absolute 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 1980's, 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 mere cameo appearances and a guest spot in the much-maligned "Atlantis Squarepantis", with the rest being spots in critically panned, no-name movies.
  • Stephen Boyd in The Oscar. Before making the film, he was a regular actor in a number of big Hollywood productions (such as Ben-Hur (1959) and The Fall of the Roman Empire). Outside of a few films shot before this one opened, Boyd was stuck in smaller films for the rest of his career (he died in 1977 while in talks to make a possible comeback with The Wild Geese).
  • 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, 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 that has shown that he didn't have much of a career before that.
  • The 2008 bomb Bangkok Dangerous knocked Nicolas Cage off the Hollywood A-list and marked the beginning of his career decline. He spent the late '00s and early '10s in either supporting roles like in Kick-Ass, in Acclaimed Flops like The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, or in duds like Season of the Witch, Drive Angry, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. His tax problems during this time, which many have speculated were responsible for his choice in roles, also did little to help his career and reputation. The final blow, however, came with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 2012, after which Cage's leading-man films started to go Direct-to-Video.
  • 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 Pains led 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 followup 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. After that, Campbell continued his already successful music career until his retirement in 2012 and subsequent death 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.
  • Dana Carvey in The Master of Disguise, which was actually a botched comeback attempt. His career since then has completely flatlined, as he didn't have any new characters until 2010.
  • 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. 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 , 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 Hong Kong, 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).
  • Justin Chatwin found himself as one of the leads in a Steven Spielberg movie of all things when he was still a complete unknown, one whose biggest roles at that point were a supporting role in Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 and a bit part in Josie and the Pussycats. While some complained about the kids in the film, the movie did boost his star power a bit and he got a lead role in The Invisible two years later. However, any momentum his career had came crashing down when he played Goku in Dragonball Evolution. Not only did the casting of a white guy as an Asian character raise eyebrows and cause many complaints, but the movie met a disastrous response with critics, audiences, and Dragon Ball fans alike. After that movie, he's mostly stuck to independent films, with his only big projects since being a recurring role in Shameless and a supporting part in the movie version of CHiPS. He did recover some credibility after a well received guest spot in the Doctor Who Christmas special "The Return of Doctor Mysterio".
  • Throughout the '70s and '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 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.
  • Hayden Christensen's career never truly recovered from the Star Wars prequels.
  • 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 called it a day. He said at the time he was just taking a break to write a memoir, but other than taking on a couple of voice acting roles in the years since (including reprising James Bond for a videogame), he has effectively retired from acting.
  • 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 movie seems to have derailed his movie 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.
  • Between them, Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad convinced everyone that Bill Cosby doesn't belong on a screen that can't fit in your living room.note 
  • 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 screen. (Disney shelving 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.
  • Throughout the late 70's to the 90's, 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.
  • Macaulay Culkin in the 1994 films Richie Rich, The Pagemaster, and Getting Even with Dad. He has not been seen often since then, partially due to the Stage Dad tendencies of his father Kit, from whom he is now estranged. He has, however, found some success in smaller indie productions like Saved! and Party Monster and as a voice actor on Robot Chicken.
  • 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.
  • Willem Dafoe nearly fell victim to this after co-starring with Madonna in the godawful 1993 erotic thriller Body of Evidence. Dafoe practically disappeared for the next few years, popping up every now and then in low-key supporting roles before experiencing a Career Resurrection with an Oscar-nominated turn in Shadow of the Vampire, then as the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man.
  • 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.)
  • The Amazing Spider Man 2 put the brakes on Dane DeHaan's career. After a brief role in an episode of True Blood, a break-out role in Chronicle, and a much acclaimed role alongside Daniel Radcliffe in Kill Your Darlings, DeHaan was cast as Harry Osborne in the film. Not only did it receive mixed-to-negative reviews, his performance in particular was singled out for criticism, causing his career to go south and many to question his staying power. All of his subsequent films went ignored by critics and moviegoers, with a hoped-for Career Resurrection in 2017 with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets turning out a Box Office Bomb instead. IMDb lists only one project in his future.
  • 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 to supporting parts, with his only leading role being the little-seen indie Flypaper.
  • Johnny Depp's film career took a huge hit with the one-two punch of domestic abuse allegations and the failures of Alice Through the Looking Glass and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald at the box office. Especially following the latter film, Disney announced plans to reboot the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise without Depp.
  • 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 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 doesn't have any big roles slated in the future.
  • 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.
  • Bait (budget, $51 million, box office, $15.4 million) nearly ended Jamie Foxx's leading career, as he wouldn't lead again in a theatrical film for four years. His later resurgence with Collateral and Ray thankfully saved him.
  • In the 1990s, Brendan Fraser was an up-and-coming actor with hits like School Ties and The Mummy (1999), but by the early 2000s most of the movies he did were flops. However, it seems like Looney Tunes: Back in Action was the movie that ended his career, as he didn't do many mainstream releases for five years after that, except for a supporting role in Crash. Then, after having a small comeback with Journey to the Center of the Earth, his career was again killed in 2010 by Extraordinary Measures and Furry Vengeance. After those two flops, his career has been limited to voice acting roles in films like Escape from Planet Earth and The Nut Job on one hand, and indie/arthouse films on the other.
    • 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.
  • Not even Morgan Freeman was immune to this. Following his award-winning role in Se7en, he starred in the 1996 films Moll Flanders and Chain Reaction, both of which were unpopular among critics and audiences alike (though the latter recouped its budget thanks to overseas gross). His star power was weak for seven years before he was cast into Bruce Almighty, which was followed by an Academy Award-winning Career Resurrection known as Million Dollar Baby.
  • 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 the Defender-verse.

    G-K 
  • After getting notice in mid-'70s supporting roles in movies like Baby Blue Marine and Looking For Mr Goodbar, Richard Gere became a star with Days of Heaven. The run continued into the early '80s with American Gigolo and, of course, An Officer and a Gentleman. The failure of The Cotton Club was blamed on that film's Troubled Production, but Gere took it right on the nose for King David. For the next five years he was largely passed over for coveted rolesnote  until Internal Affairs did well enough to make him a viable choice for Pretty Woman.
  • Cam Gigandet snagged a few supporting roles in big films like The Unborn, Easy A, and The Roommate after Twilight became a box office hit. Then he made Priest (2011), a movie which bombed so badly he has scarcely been seen in a mainstream film since. These days, he instead mostly does independent films.
  • 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.
  • This trope could be applied to a lot of Cuba Gooding Jr.'s work after his Oscar-winning role in Jerry Maguire (Boat Trip, Snow Dogs, Daddy Day Camp, etc.). He attributes this problem to the fact that the good roles stopped coming to him once Will Smith became Hollywood's new favorite African-American actor.
  • Robot Jox ruined Gary Graham's career for a long time outside Alien Nation TV movies.
  • 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. However, he has since returned to acting.
  • 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. Clarkson'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.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis was supposed to be Tom Hardy's breakout role. The film was a box office disaster that flattened his career, which eventually drove him to drink, and to the brink of suicide. He eventually got out of the slump with Bronson, a fact his success portraying Bane in The Dark Knight Rises made clear.
  • 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 didn’t help that Harrison, by the late '60s older than most leading men, outright refused to play supporting roles. A few years after Doolittle, Sam Spiegel approached him to play Count Witte in Nicholas and Alexandra, a small but important character. Harrison took offense, angrily telling Spiegel "I don’t do bit parts!" The role went to Laurence Olivier, who famously had no such reservations.
  • Jon Heder's star rose with Napoleon Dynamite and fell not long after with School For Scoundrels. Most of his later projects have been barely released (Mama's Boy, Moving McAllister) or bypassed theatres (Woke Up Dead). It also brought down co-stars Billy Bob Thornton and Jacinda Barrett, and nearly killed director Todd Phillips' career before he rebounded with The Hangover.
  • David Hemmings became an international star after appearing in Blow Up (1966), only for his career to implode thanks to the high-profile flops The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) and Alfred the Great (1969). His reputation for being extremely temperamental and arrogant didn't enamor him to producers, either. Hemmings all but disappeared, doing a few foreign movies and directing some television, until a brief Career Resurrection with Gladiator and Gangs of New York before his death in 2003.
  • 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.
  • Emile Hirsch's career was damaged with the high-budgeted flop Speed Racer. Hirsch, who had been in a number of acclaimed films before it, has mostly disappeared in supporting roles since (not doing another lead role until the 2011 flop The Darkest Hour). Making matters more distressing was when Hirsch was arrested for nearly murdering a Paramount executive at a nightclub, likely giving studios incentive not to work with Hirsch. The film also hurt the career of Christina Ricci; see Film Actresses for more. It’s possible Hirsch might get a John Travolta style comeback after it was announced that Quentin Tarantino had cast him in his upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood but this is in some doubt after some critics vocally and pointedly asked why Tarantino was casting Hirsch when there are so many talented actors around who haven’t tried to strangle a woman half their size during a drunken attack.
  • C. Thomas Howell was an up-and-coming teen actor who starred in hits like The Outsiders and RedDawn. Then he made Soul Man, which, although 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.
  • The Hangover Part III ended Ken Jeong's reign as a popular comedic supporting actor. Beforehand, he had roles in movies like The Hangover, The Muppets, and Knocked Up. After that, most of the movies he has that are in development are either independent or straight to DVD movies, with the occasional studio film (Crazy Rich Asians).
  • 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.
  • Michael Keaton's A-List reputation in was put in jeopardy in The '90s thanks to the box office failures of Speechless, Multiplicity and Desperate Measures. The final straw was 1998's JackFrost, which froze Keaton's leading-man opportunities for 15 years. Keaton would occasionally resurface in supporting roles in films like First Daughter, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Post Grad, Cars, Toy Story 3 and The Other Guys. Keaton's most high profile leading role since then was in White Noise. It would take until 2014's Birdman for Keaton, playing a washed-up actor who can't shake the specter of his superhero film success, to experience a true Career Resurrection, as the film was universally acclaimed and put Keaton in heavy contention for an Oscar.
  • Red Planet, as well as his growing reputation of sabotaging the production of his movies (such as Batman Forever and, most notoriously, The Island of Doctor Moreau) ensured that Val Kilmer wouldn't headline mainstream productions for the foreseeable future.
  • 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.
  • John Krasinski in License To Wed (which also derailed Mandy 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.
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    L-P 
  • 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 it didn't completely kill his career, The Ref probably didn't convince studios to give Denis Leary any more starring roles despite its decent reviews.
  • 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 Le Blanc 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 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.
  • Although he was never an A-lister, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister Jr. frequently popped up in supporting and bit parts in many popular 90's films, including Friday, Don Juan DeMarco, Jackie Brown, and The Fifth Element. However, it seems like the combined bombs of My Baby's Daddy and Never Die Alone have harmed his career, as he has scarcely appeared in a mainstream film since, except for very minor parts in The Dark Knight and Zootopia.
  • 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.
  • Justin Long had done many supporting roles in mainstream films like Walk Hard, DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Live Free or Die Hard. He had also starred in the movie Accepted. When his next starring role, Going the Distance, flopped, it seems to have killed his career as he hasn't been seen in a mainstream movie since except for some voice acting gigs, the projects of his friend Kevin Smith and a supporting role in Movie 43. Drew Barrymore's career hasn't fared much better, as she's only done three movies since then and hasn't done movies as frequently as she used to do beforehand.
  • 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. Thompson 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.
    • He emerged as a massive comedy star in the '80s, thanks in no small part to being a Saturday Night Live cast member and barely saving the show from disaster during its 1980-1981 season. After a series of comedy classics like Trading Places, 48 Hrs., and Beverly Hills Cop, as well as his stand-up comedy special Delirious, Murphy's initial decline began with the 1989 Vanity Project Harlem Nights, after which the quality of his films took a nosedive. Roger Ebert, in his review of Harlem Nights, made an excellent point (which was, essentially, career advice) about not taking your fans for granted.
    • The remake of The Nutty Professor became a Career Resurrection for him in the late '90s, with many critics noting that Murphy's Buddy Love character was a massive Take That! to what he had been reduced to in the public eye. Unfortunately, he quickly fell on the same track he was on before with another string of flops, the most notorious being The Adventures of Pluto Nash. His voice acting in the Shrek films kept him on the B-list, and his supporting role in Dreamgirls looked to be another Career Resurrection (with many going as far to peg him as the front runner for an Academy Award.
    • Then he backflopped with Norbit (despite being a box office success, it was savaged by critics) 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.
  • 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.
  • Mike Myers in the Live-Action Adaptation of The Cat in the Hat, followed up by the finishing blow of The Love Guru. He was a comedy superstar in the '90s and early '00s, with Wayne's World, Austin Powers, and Shrek becoming pop culture touchstones. Cat, however, outraged the Seuss estate with its hidden raunchy humor, causing Seuss' widow Audrey Geisel to vow never to approve any further live-action adaptations of Seuss' books, and critics ravaged it for the same reasons. Guru, meanwhile, flopped at the box office and "won" three Razzies. Apart from reprising Shrek, Myers has become a painter and semi-retired from the screen (with minor roles in Inglourious Basterds and Bohemian Rhapsody, and hosting a revival of The Gong Show on ABC).
    • 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 because 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).
  • Following the mixed reception of the third The Naked Gun film, Leslie Nielsen was unlucky enough to have starred in four critically savaged flops over the next three years: Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Spy Hard, the Live-Action Adaptation of Mr. Magoo, and Wrongfully Accused. Following these disasters, he spent the remaining years of his life appearing on TV movies and spoof films (which he was notorious for), never playing a lead role in a major motion picture again.
  • Edward Norton was a huge star during the late 90s thanks to movies like American History X & Fight Club. However he was also infamous for his over-involvement in movies with him as the main star and Hollywood eventually caught up on that with The Incredible Hulk being the last big movie with him as the major star. This also lead to him being replaced by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers and the following MCU movies. He still gets roles to this day but he would mostly get bigger roles in smaller productions and at best get smaller roles in bigger productions.
  • Ryan O'Neal became an A-list star in The '70s thanks to Love Story, What's Up, Doc?, and Paper Moon, but his acting career began to sag by the following decade, leading to his infamous performance in Tough Guys Don't Dance ("OH GOD, OH MAN!"), which he has never fully recovered from. By the '00s, however, he managed to secure a respected recurring part as Temperance Brennan's father on Bones.
  • The disappointment of Revolution caused Al Pacino to take a four-year break from acting.
  • Joe Pesci was pretty successful in the early 1990s with an Academy Award for Goodfellas, following it with the Lethal Weapon sequels, the first two Home Alone films, My Cousin Vinny, and Casino. Then in 1997, Pesci's star was killed by the back-to-back bombs of Gone Fishin' and 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag. Following Lethal Weapon 4 the next year, he retired from acting and has only done occasional gigs since then.
  • 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's Dork 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).
    • Dead Heat probably didn't do Treat Williams' career any favors, either. He managed to get a comfortable run on Everwood, however.
  • 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.
  • 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 Darkhorses James Vega 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.

    Q-T 
  • James Ransone's career severely stalled with the release of Ken Park, where he performed a graphic and unsimulated scene of Erotic Asphyxiation. After overcoming a serious heroin addiction, he finally managed to secure some leading roles in the early '10s.
  • 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.
  • Christopher Reeve in Switching Channels. In his autobiography, Still Me, Reeve claims that this film's failure, along with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, The Aviator, and Street Smart (which he in part agreed to do Superman IV under the condition that he was allowed to star in this long time "pet project" of his), knocked him off the A-list in Hollywood and he would have to audition for major roles for the rest of his career. Reeve also expressed regret in making Switching Channels (Reeve took on the role because he felt that making a comedy would be a good distraction from the depression steaming from his split with his longtime girlfriend, Gae Exton), believing that he had "made a fool of himself" (Reeve played decidedly against type as Kathleen Turner's hapless fiancé) and had to act as a referee for constantly feuding costars Turner and Burt Reynolds. During his career, Reeve also turned down the lead roles in American Gigolo, The World According to Garp, Splash, Fatal Attraction, Pretty Woman, Romancing the Stone, Lethal Weapon, and Body Heat. Reeve even turned down the lead role in The Bounty after Katharine Hepburn recommended him to the director, Roger Donaldson, who ultimately went with his second choice, Mel Gibson.
  • 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 Bomb 47 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, 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.
  • Michael E. Rodgers, a Scottish actor, started his acting career as a nervous patient (a cameo role) in the 1996 film The Dentist, when he was unknown to many people. Then, he guest starred in some TV series and his first film role, a 1998 film called Gia (as an unnamed photographer) was his Star-Making Role. His biggest role is when he played Mr. Conductor, Junior in the 2000 children's film Thomas and the Magic Railroad, but unfortunately, the film recieved negative reviews and Michael has been a little unpopular due to starring in the film, and hasn't starred in another mainstream film since then, mostly starring in less well known independent films. Then, from 2006-2008 (well, mostly 2006), Michael E. Rodgers was popular again, due to guest starring in many well-known TV series and voicing an Anti-Villain in the English dub of the Japanese RPG video game Final Fantasy XII, but his popularity decreased in 2009 due to him moving to Italy to become an acting coach, and he has fallen into obscurity in the US.
  • 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).
  • 1998's Soldier, as well as 3000 Miles to Graceland three years later, ended Kurt Russell's stint as a leading man in feature films.
  • Paul Rust's career as a leading man began and ended with I Love You, Beth Cooper, but he's still working (such as the Netflix series Love).
  • The double-whammy of Jack and Jill in 2011 and That's My Boy in 2012 seems to have been the point of no return in Adam Sandler's career. Sandler's movies always received, at best, lukewarm critical receptions; out of a twenty-year leading man career, he has only one movie, Punch-Drunk Love, that is rated higher than 70% on Rotten Tomatoes, and all but four of his other films are rated Rotten. However, from the mid '90s through the '00s Critical Dissonance was in full effect, with Sandler being among the biggest and most Critic-Proof comedy stars of the era. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, and The Wedding Singer are nowadays viewed as comedy classics, and even his few flops like Little Nicky and Eight Crazy Nights were easily brushed off.

    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 Dates co-star Drew 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 exclusively for Netflix.
  • 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, under performed or outright flopped with even Maggie failing at the box office despite critical acclaim for his role. The final nail in his film career however might well be Aftermath making a dismal $675,000 off a $10.5 million budget, a less than 5% return. With the The Legend of Conan having been passed over by the studio due to lack of faith in his box office draw, Schwarzenegger now only has Viy 2 Journey To China in his upcoming projects. Viy is a Russo-Chinese co-production that despite having Jackie Chan starring is unlikely to set the US box office alight, and Schwarzenegger's most recent film, Killing Gunther, only received a limited theatrical release after it had already streamed online. It's safe to say barring some kind of miracle Schwarzenegger's days in film are numbered - none of his other upcoming projects apart from Viy (which is in post-production) have moved out of pre-production to date. It's possible that a miracle may occur, Schwarzenegger is throwing perhaps his last roll of the dice with yet another Terminator reboot, but this time both James Cameron and Linda Hamilton are on board. However if this film tanks, that's probably the death knell for 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.
  • Steven Seagal's career was already floundering after starring in a string of busts, which can be traced back to his Vanity Project On Deadly Ground, but Half Past Dead was the film that dealt a huge blow to his career. Since then, he has starred in a series of low-budget Direct-to-Video films — he would not see the inside of a cinema again until Machete.
  • 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.
  • Peter Sellers in Casino Royale (1967); he was actually fired midway through the shoot when he proved too unreliable and uncooperative, and while the film was finished without him it was extremely messy. This left a black mark on his reputation (particularly with American studios), and most of his subsequent films through 1974 would turn out to be flops if they even made it to theaters. He experienced a Career Resurrection after that with The Return of the Pink Panther, and remained on top until his death in 1980.
  • 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 (at Disney; long story).
  • 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 Ranger killed 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 Career Resurrection 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.
  • 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 90's 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-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 lead 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. 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.
  • Chairman of the Board was the first and last starring role for Scott "Carrot Top" Thompson.
  • 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 of ''(two thousand)'' euros against a budget of three million euros.
  • Staying Alive brought down John Travolta's career for quite a while before he got cast in Pulp Fiction (his only successful roles around that time were on the Look Who's Talking films). Since then, his star power has faded considerably, likely due to his involvement with films like Battlefield Earth, From Paris with Love and Gotti. His career is now made up of mostly supporting roles and indie films. The film also killed Sylvester Stallone's career as a director (barring Rocky IV) for twenty years.

    U-Z 
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • While Jim Carrey became the biggest star to come out of the early 90s sketch comedy series In Living Color!!, it was Damon Wayans who became the show's first breakout star, 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 do 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.
  • Sam Worthington was a rising superstar for a few years in the advent of Avatar. Then, Wrath of the Titans happened and his star went out. However, a sequel to Avatar may prove a Career Resurrection for him.
  • 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 played Genghis 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 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 his and 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.

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