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Star Derailing Role / Multiple Offenders

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Some films are so bad or otherwise notorious that they take down the careers of multiple people involved.

  • After Earth did major damage to the careers and reputations of the father-son team at the center of it, Will Smith and Jaden Smith. As did a number of high-profile failures Will was part of, although he has proven time and time again that he can rebound and generate either box office success or acclaim again, sort of averting (or at least zig-zagging) the trope.
    • Following the success of the Karate Kid remake, Jaden was hyped as a child star in the making and a successor to his father, Will Smith. As a result, Will convinced director M. Night Shyamalan to have Jaden play the starring role in After Earth, while he took the supporting role of the main character's father. This came a month after Shyamalan was trying to recover from the massive critical flop of The Last Airbender; he was impressed by the script for After Earth and saw it as an opportunity to try to repair his failing career. However, the film was savaged by critics, with many specifically pointing to Jaden's performance as one of the bigger problems and alleging nepotism on the part of Will getting him the part. While the film was a hit overseas (where Jaden's performance was dubbed over), it bombed in the US and turned Jaden into a laughingstock. A bizarre interview that he and his sister Willow did for V magazine in 2014 only made matters worse. Jaden had a recurring role in the Netflix series The Get Down, which was cancelled after two seasons.
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    • Will Smith himself has arguably suffered this with the same film. After his breakout role in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and his success in such blockbusters as Bad Boys and Independence Day, he became a superstar almost overnight. With the exception of Wild Wild West, his career had an almost unprecedented string of smash hits in the late '90s through the '00s, most notably the Men in Black films and I Am Legend, while his Oscar nominations for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness established him as a credible actor on top of it. After Earth was his first real flop in years, and worse, his performance was critically panned much like Jaden's was. The fact that his very next film was Winter's Tale (albeit only in a cameo) didn't help matters, nor did his oft-rumored (though always denied) involvement in Scientology. While he remains a very bankable star overall (Focus, his next film after Winter's Tale, was a box-office success despite mixed critical reception), public opinion of him seems to have soured quite a bit from the days when he could make a film over $100 million just by attaching himself to it. Smith then played Deadshot in the DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad in 2016; that film was roundly rejected by critics. On the other hand, the film's box office was leggy and it still made a nice profit, and Smith's performance was one of the few lauded aspects of the film. Then came Collateral Beauty, which had the worst opening weekend in Smith's career. His next film, Bright, became a Netflix exclusive and was savaged by critics, but still counts as one of the service's most-streamed movies. His casting as the Genie in Disney's Aladdin (2019) raised some controversy at first, then the role proved that he was able to live up to Robin Williams' legendary performance with his unique take on the character, and the film made a lot of money at the box office. Although his next release, Gemini Man, tanked both critically and commercially, he quickly regained footing with Bad Boys for Life, which became the highest-grossing entry in the franchise and the biggest January release of all time.
  • While American Pie made the teen actors involved with it into stars, most of them suffered from derailed careers as a result of box-office flops during the early-mid '00s, in what's sometimes been called the "American Pie curse". Jason Biggs and Chris Klein were the hardest-hit (though Biggs did have a minor Career Resurrection in the early '10s with Orange Is the New Black), though Tara Reid, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Mena Suvari, Shannon Elizabeth, and Eddie Kaye Thomas also suffered from it; more detail on their post-Pie career woes can be found both further down this page and under Film Actors and Film Actresses. For the longest time, the only ones who managed to avoid this were Seann William Scott (whose own career derailment only came in 2010) and Alyson Hannigan, who starred on the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother — and that can probably be attributed to the fact that she already had a good deal of acclaim and popularity from Buffy as well.
    • The Pie curse extends to directors as well. Outside of the Weitz brothers, every director of the series has seen negative effects on their career. The second film's director didn't direct another film for eight years, the third film's director made one more film before disappearing, and the straight-to-DVD installments had directors with already dead careers.
  • Another You (1991) wrecked the film careers of its two stars, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.
    • Wilder was one of the most, if not the most, beloved comedic actors of all time from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, gaining prominence in The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. However, his momentum soon lost steam when he appeared in the critical and commercial flop Haunted Honeymoon. Wilder attempted to make a comeback with longtime comedy partner Richard Pryor in the film See No Evil, Hear No Evil, but despite being a moderate success at the box office, it wasn't well-received. Finally, Another You was ravaged by critics and flopped at the box office. Wilder's only notable role after this was a supporting role for two episodes of Will & Grace; shortly after this appearance, he retired.
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    • In the late 1980s, Pryor found himself starring in Moving and the semi-autobiographical Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (which he also directed), neither of which performed well commercially, the box-office disappointment Harlem Nights and the aforementioned See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Another You turned out to be Pryor's last leading role in a film; he later found success in supporting roles and music.
  • Baby Geniuses killed the careers of Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner, Peter MacNicol, and Dom DeLuise. After Baby Geniuses, Lloyd has mostly done Direct to Video and indie movies with limited release and TV work since then. Turner was already on a downslide after V.I. Warshawski, and Geniuses did her career no favors. MacNicol, while not an A-Lister, was getting a decent amount of supporting roles in big movies, but has done mostly TV and voice work since (most notably voicing the Mad Hatter in the Batman: Arkham Series). Deluise, meanwhile, later went on to do supporting roles in films and television before dying of kidney failure in 2009. Ruby Dee and Kim Cattrall seem to be the only actors whose careers have survived the movie.
    • The sequel, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, was the turning point in Jon Voight's career (he played the lead villain). Before Superbabies, Voight was an Oscar-winning actor who was in successful movies such as Coming Home, Midnight Cowboy, and Deliverance. After Superbabies and Bratz bombed at the box office, he's mostly stuck to independent movies, TV shows, and Direct-to-DVD Baby Geniuses sequels, as well as being associated with the career of his daughter Angelina Jolie. His highest-profile works since then are as Mickey Donovan, Ray's politically incorrect gangster dad in Ray Donovan (for which he won a Golden Globe), and as Senator Henry Shaw for the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Batman & Robin is blamed for the decline of several of its lead actors. Only George Clooney came out comparatively unscathed.
    • Chris O'Donnell's (Robin) case is a subversion, in that he said he had steady work offers, including work on major TV series (such as co-starring in NCIS: Los Angeles alongside LL Cool J), since Batman & Robin, but took some time off around the early '00 to raise his children. He also had the lead role in 2000's Vertical Limit, which, despite being ravaged by critics, recouped its budget and pulled in a respectable $69 million domestically in what was otherwise a terrible year for Columbia Pictures.
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger's (Mr. Freeze) drawing power was already in decline by this point, thanks to the disappointing returns of Last Action Hero and Eraser. However, Batman & Robin pretty much finished him off as a bankable star, and his career went From Bad to Worse afterwards thanks to critically-reviled bombs like The Sixth Day and Collateral Damage, culminating in his 'last hurrah' with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and his retirement from acting in order to run for Governor of California. He returned to acting when he left office, and while the first two Expendables films were successful, The Last Stand and Sabotage (2014), his first lead roles in a decade, both came and went without a trace. Terminator Genisys, his return to the franchise that made him a star, finished off his abortive comeback; it met a scathing reception in the US and bombed domestically, it made a ton of money overseas (its number one market was China), enough to provoke a reboot with Schwarzenegger returning alongside Linda Hamilton and James Cameron returning to the franchise.... only for the resulting film, Terminator: Dark Fate, to end up being an even bigger financial flop than Genisys despite receiving decent reviews.
    • Alicia Silverstone (Batgirl) had this and Excess Baggage, which came out the same year as Batman & Robin and was part of a major production deal that Silverstone had with Columbia Pictures. She did try to bounce back with Blast from the Past, but while that movie received better reviews than Batman and Robin or Excess Baggage, it still bombed at the box office. After that movie, Silverstone was never the lead in a major Hollywood film again, and is now considered a One-Hit Wonder for Clueless.
    • Uma Thurman's (Poison Ivy) star fell for years, with an assist from The Avengers (1998)note , until Quentin Tarantino pulled one of his trademark career resurrections with Kill Bill. Her career would later take another hit, though; see Film Actresses.
  • Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son killed the careers of Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson.
    • Beforehand, Lawrence was a huge movie star, appearing in movies that rarely got good reviews but were mostly profitable at the box office. After Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son failed, he stopped acting for three years before appearing in the series Partners, which was quickly cancelled. However, like Will Smith (see above), he did have a decent hit with Bad Boys for Life, but only time will tell if that's signaling a Career Resurrection.
    • Brandon T. Jackson looked like a star in the making a memorable role as Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder, but following forgettable roles in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Lottery Ticket, the death knell for his career came in the form of playing second banana for Martin Lawrence's drag shtick. Jackson's main roles since have been Axel Foley's son in a Beverly Hills Cop pilot that wasn't picked up, and Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters.
    • It also killed the career of film composer David Newman. Since the movie, he's only done the scores for independent and/or straight to DVD films while he used to do more high profile films (albeit most of them were forgettable kids films). If Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story comes out, it might give his career a boost as he’s credited as interpreting Leonard Bernstein’s score.
  • The Big Year not only damaged Jack Black's career (which was already battered by Year One; see below), it also killed Steve Martin's. Black's career revived somewhat with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (which was a box office smash), The House With a Clock in Its Walls, and Goosebumps note . The only major acting roles Martin's done since are his occasional appearances on SNL and a few supporting/cameo roles, and he has instead largely focused on his other career as a bluegrass musician.
  • Bio-Dome destroyed the film careers of both of its stars, Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin. Shore, the son of The Comedy Store co-founders Mitzi and Sammy Shore, was a former MTV VJ who had parlayed his fandom from there to become a minor comedy star in the early-mid '90s, while Baldwin was an up-and-coming actor with roles in films such as Last Exit To Brooklyn, Threesome, 8 Seconds, and The Usual Suspects who was looking to become a successful sibling act to his brother Alec. Then they both starred in this comedy, which opened in 1996 to a critical mauling and a like-minded audience response. Shore's film and television career rapidly declined and to this day, he maintains a steady stand-up comedy career. As for Baldwin, he's been forced to make a living doing Direct to Video films, and (having since become a born-again Christian) he feels that the failure of Bio-Dome and the resultant career damage was God punishing him for his sinful ways (though that hasn't stopped him from talking about a sequel).
  • Cop Out was more or less the end of the careers of both Seann William Scott and (along with the remake of Death at a Funeral) Tracy Morgan.
    • Scott has only done independent films and sequels to American Pie and Ice Age since, and eventually returned to television in 2018, replacing Clayne Crawford in the TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon... which was then cancelled only one season into Scott's tenure on the show.
    • Morgan has only had the Rio movies, 30 Rock, and independent or Direct to Video movies. His controversial comments about how he would kill his son if he found out he was gay probably didn't help his career either. His car accident made the public see him in a more favorable light, but it's unlikely that the goodwill he's received following it will translate into a revival of his film career any time soon. He has since appeared in a starring role on The Last OG to critical acclaim.
  • Cutthroat Island not only was a studio-destroying disaster, it negatively affected the careers of its two stars, Geena Davis and Matthew Modine.
    • Davis achieved her breakthrough in the '80s, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Accidental Tourist, then followed it up with her iconic turn (and Oscar-nominated role) in Thelma & Louise. Her star began to fade a few years later with Angie and Speechless. Cutthroat Island was supposed to a vehicle by her then-husband Renny Harlin to reinvent Davis as an action star, but it ended up being the final straw for her A-List career after the film ended up being one of the biggest box office disasters in history. It didn't help matters that Davis immediately regretted accepting the part when it became apparent that it was doomed to fail and tried to back out, only to remain on the project due to contractual obligations. After this film, Davis and Harlin collaborated again on The Long Kiss Goodnight, which fared better commercially but still lost money, and on top of that, the two divorced a few years later. Davis then retreated to television, with the occasional supporting role in a feature film like Marjorie Prime or Ava.
    • Modine hoped that this would be his breakthrough role as the male lead, originally written for Michael Douglas. After Cutthroat Island bombed, he returned to television, and like Davis, film roles were relegated to supporting parts. Though he did receive major attention for the first time in ages as the human Big Bad in Stranger Things.
  • Disaster Movie by Seltzer and Friedberg hastened the decline of the Spoof film genre and ruining the careers of promising comedians, most notably the MADtv alumni cast members Ike Barinholtz, Nicole Parker, and Crista Flanagan. Ike Barinholtz avoided a long-term slump in his career and became a successful and recognizable comedian - even if he is not even on the B-list. However, the same cannot be said of Nicole Parker and Crista Flanagan, both of whom had their feature film debut in the Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg movies. Giving the movie industry such a first impression quickly doomed the actresses into D-list obscurity and ensured MADtv remains their peak in terms of media exposure. Since then, both actresses never managed (or simply refused) to get significant roles in any other movies. Nicole Parker moved on to mostly Broadway shows and theater performances, her most notable post-MADtv role being Elphaba in the Wicked Broadway musical. Crista Flanagan took on bit roles in various TV work and featured in various web series, of which her most notable was that of Lois Sadler in Mad Men. Nowadays, she is probably a part-timer in her former profession, given that she became a Program Director for an acting school.
  • Drop Dead Fred killed the careers of Phoebe Cates and Rik Mayall.
    • Cates, an '80s sex symbol, only did two more films before retiring from acting to focus on raising her kids. She briefly came out of retirement in 2001 to take a supporting role in The Anniversary Party as a personal favor to its director, her Fast Times at Ridgemont High co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh.
    • Mayall, who was a star in the United Kingdom and had a cult following in the United States stemming from his work on The Young Ones, intended for this film to be his breakout Hollywood role. After this and Carry On Columbus, however, he went straight back to television. Guest House Paradiso was also a flop, and Rik and Adrian Edmondson never appeared in any other filmsnote  (they continued to find steady work in television, although separately rather than together).
  • The 2014 remake of Endless Love killed the careers of Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde. Both were rising up-and-coming talents who, admittedly, were in movies with so-so box office and critical performances. But Endless Love was the last straw as neither has appeared in a mainstream film afterwards. Pettyfer has stuck to doing independent films and Wilde mostly stuck to TV, although she did have a bit part in Wonder Woman 1984.
  • Freddy Got Fingered not only destroyed the career of Tom Green (who wrote, directed, and starred in it), it also ensured that Eddie Kaye Thomas's mainstream career would be pretty much dependent on American Pie sequels for years afterwards. It was only with the TV series Scorpion that Thomas rebounded.
  • 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 also seemed to take a bit of a hit, as she's only appeared in a few movies in the years since. She nabbed a starring role alongside Timothy Olyphant in the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet, which was met with an enthusiastic critical reception but was unexpectedly and prematurely cancelled after its third season. Following the show's end, she's managed to pick up another fairly high-profile gig, in the form of a talk show on CBS.
  • Godzilla (1998) did this to Matthew Broderick and Maria Pitillo.
    • For Broderick, it was a double-header of Godzilla and the 1999 Live-Action Adaptation of Inspector Gadget which together killed his career as a leading man in major motion pictures. It's worth noting that both films were not box office bombsnote , but they were able to harm his career on the reputation of being horrible films alone. The 2006 holiday flop Deck the Halls did nothing to help matters. He found more success in theater, most notably the Broadway version of The Producers and later the musical's 2005 film adaptation.
    • After years of appearing in small roles in numerous films and television shows, Pitillo was cast as the female lead in the big-budget adaptation of Godzilla. But once it underperformed, she didn't do much work after this (and the disastrous Something To Believe In didn't help), with her highest-profile work subsequently being a regular role on Providence and nothing since 2008.
  • Halloween: Resurrection, in addition to being a Franchise Killer for the Halloween series, killed the careers of most of the people involved.
    • Thomas Ian Nicholas was perhaps the hardest-hit. His hype from American Pie vanished overnight, and he was relegated to doing bit parts, indie films, and Direct to Video films.
    • Sean Patrick Thomas also lost pretty much all the attention he'd earned from Save the Last Dance, and has barely been seen in anything since.
    • Bianca Kajlich's career was relegated to TV movies, short-lived TV shows, and bit parts for five years. She wouldn't score a major role again until she was cast on Rules of Engagement in 2007, and wouldn't appear in another theatrically-released film until 30 Minutes or Less in 2011.
    • In fact, it would probably be easier to list those actors whose careers didn't take a hit from this film. Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks weren't actors by trade to begin with (the former was a rapper, the latter a supermodel), so they went right back to what they'd been doing before, while Jamie Lee Curtis' role was only a bit part and Katee Sackhoff scored her Star-Making Role just one year later.
  • The two films in Rob Zombie's Halloween reboot series, which were both panned by critics and highly polarizing among fans of the franchise, seem to have done this to the careers of Scout Taylor-Compton and Danielle Harris, who played Laurie and Annie. Both have been typecast as Scream Queens since (especially Harris, who had a successful film, TV, and voiceover career beforehand), with most of their filmography composed of independent horror films. Halloween II is (as of now) the last film either actress has made that's even close to being mainstream.
  • Aside from the studio and director Michael Cimino, Heaven's Gate managed to have a few more casualties.
    • Singer Kris Kristofferson had forged a successful acting career for most of the 1970s with lead roles in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the 1976 version of A Star Is Born, and Convoy. However, he was cast as the protagonist in Heaven's Gate, and his career was one of many left in ruins by the film's Troubled Production and dismal box office take. He returned his attention to his music career, and his film career has since been limited to supporting roles (most notably in the Blade trilogy as the title character's mentor, Abraham Whistler, as well as in Fast Food Nation and Fallout: New Vegas).
    • After achieving success in her native France and winning a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for La Dentelliere, Isabelle Huppert took on her first role in an American film with Heaven's Gate. Unfortunately, that derailed her chance of an international breakthrough. However, she has remained successful in France, holding the record as the most nominated actress for the César Award. Despite never becoming a superstar or a recognized name in the United States, she does have a reputation as an arthouse regular and a critics' favorite there, and she was nominated for an Oscar for the first time for 2016's Elle.
  • Houseguest killed the careers of Sinbad and Phil Hartman.
    • In the early '90s, Sinbad had done some supporting roles in movies like Necessary Roughness and Coneheads, leading Hollywood to give him lead roles in Houseguest and First Kid. Both those films flopped, and he didn't lead another movie again. In fact, he only did two more movies period (Jingle All the Way and Good Burger) before fading into obscurity. It took him sixteen years (Planes) for him to be in another theatrically-released movie again.
    • Houseguest was also Phil Hartman's only leading role. Before, he was only doing supporting parts in movies, and after, he went back to being a supporting actor until his untimely death three years later.
  • The 1980 religious satire In God We Tru$t destroyed two careers, those of Peter Boyle and Marty Feldman. Before that, Boyle headlined classics like Joe, Young Frankenstein, and Taxi Driver and Feldman was a top comedy star in his home country of England (and also worked with Boyle on Young Frankenstein). Then this movie, co-written and directed by Feldman, was largely panned by critics and flopped at the box office. Both Feldman and Boyle's careers went downhill thereafter, and both tried to bounce back with Yellowbeard, co-starring with the Monty Python troupe; unfortunately, Feldman suddenly died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Mexico before he could finish his role, consequently resulting in his character getting killed off in the movie. The film opened to mixed reception and flopped instantly, failing to help either Feldman or Boyle experience a Career Resurrection (Executive Meddling from Hemdale and Orion didn't seem to help either.)
    • Boyle would not finally experience a resurrection until he guest-starred in an episode of The X-Files, which he won an Emmy Award for, and he finally got cast into the television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which earned him two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and one Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Boyle was on the verge of derailment again with The Santa Clause 3, but in a twist of luck, he died of heart disease just a month after its release.
    • The film also damaged the hopes of Andy Kaufman having a successful film career, though his fall wouldn't come until later. See Film Actors for more details.
  • The 1980 version of The Jazz Singer dealt a particularly strong blow to its star, Neil Diamond, and weakened the career of co-star Laurence Olivier (although the latter had the final blow dealt with Inchon two years later). For the rest of The '80s, Diamond also had some difficulty maintaining a successful musical career.
  • The Last Airbender battered the careers of Jackson Rathbone and Noah Ringer (the latter with help from Cowboys & Aliens). Besides Twilight sequels, Rathbone hasn't been seen in many movies. Nicola Peltz's career has kept going with supporting roles in Bates Motel and Transformers: Age of Extinction, but in her case she has the help of a producer father. Dev Patel's also kept working in smaller projects, but nowhere near what was expected after his breakthrough performance in Slumdog Millionaire. However, this changed slightly with his highly acclaimed performance in Lion, and his subsequent Oscar nomination for it, with projects like Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield and David Lowery’s The Green Knight on the horizon.
    • Like Peltz, Seychelle Gabriel's career wasn't tarnished by the film since several critics and fans considered her role as Princess Yue as one of the few good things for the film. Indeed, this resulted in her playing Lourdes in the TNTTV series Falling Skies and voicing Asami in the source material's Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, which served as a Star-Making Role for her and Bryan and Mike even note that getting to meet Seychelle was one of the few positives that came from this train wreck of a film. Cliff Curtis and Shaun Toub's careers also were unaffected by the film, especially the former having a lead role in The Walking Dead spin-off Fear the Walking Dead.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was notable for not only being the final film Sean Connery starred in before retiring, but bombing hard enough to kill the careers of most of the starring cast. The most notable casualty was Peta Wilson, who had previously established herself as a star on the La Femme Nikita TV series before playing Mina Harker in the film. The film also killed Stephen Norrington's directing career — he hasn't helmed another film since.
    • Connery was offered the chance to reprise his role in the fourth Indiana Jones film, but turned it down saying that retirement was too much fun.
  • The 2013 adaptation of The Lone Ranger derailed the careers of both its stars.
    • The first was Armie Hammer, who played the title character. He initially gained notice after playing the Winkelvoss twins in The Social Network, only to see his hype vanish overnight after this film, which performed very poorly against Disney's expectations of their next big franchise. His next shot at a big-budget blockbuster, a 2015 film adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. directed by Guy Ritchie, received decent but unspectacular reviews and pretty much sank without a trace at the box office. While his critical respectability was restored by his acclaimed performance in Call Me by Your Name in 2017, it will probably be a while before he's again seen as leading-man material in a big blockbuster. He’s comfortable in arthouse fare and period dramas like Sorry to Bother You, On the Basis of Sex, Wounds, and the Netflix adaptation of Rebecca.
      • However, this second wind as a handsome character actor and indie star has been also cut short as a result of disturbing accusations of rape, emotional abuse, and bizarre cannibal fantasies. His final film will likely either be the second adaptation of Death on the Nile (2022) or a cameo in Taika Waititi's sports comedy Next Goal Wins
    • The bigger long-term career casualty was that of Johnny Depp, who played Tonto. After spending the '90s and early '00s as an acclaimed yet B-list actor in indie films, low-budget dramas, and quirky comedies, Depp hit the big time with the Pirates of the Caribbean films in the mid-late '00s, with him and his character, Captain Jack Sparrow, becoming pop culture icons thanks to his "pirate Keith Richards" performance. During the time that the Pirates films were successful, nearly every other role that Depp took was a megahit that brought audiences out just to see him, and he became especially known for his multiple collaborations with director Tim Burton (the two had been close friends since they made Edward Scissorhands).

      However, backlash started to build in the early 2010s, with Alice in Wonderland (2010) being heavily criticized (while it was a massive box-office success, it was notably one of the last films where he had a major role that did so) and films like The Rum Diary and Dark Shadows flopping outright. The Lone Ranger was the turning point in his public image, with his performance in particular singled out as one of the film's bigger problems and the film becoming a legendary Box Office Bomb. Most of his work since has disappointed critically and commercially, such as the critically-savaged bombs Transcendence and Mortdecai. In 2016, he slipped even further, not only starring in yet another major bomb in the form of Alice Through the Looking Glass, but also being hit with accusations of Domestic Abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard, causing much of his heretofore-ironclad female fanbase to desert him. But Depp hasn't thrown in the towel just yet; he has attempted comeback roles since, but not to much success. He was set to play the title character in the Dark Universe's re-imagining of The Invisible Man, but it was cancelled by Universal after the Dark Universe fell apart following the critical and commercial failure of its one and only installment, The Mummy (2017), with the rights being handed over to Blumhouse Productions, Depp being replaced by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and being reworked by Leigh Whannell into a low-budget thriller focusing on the Invisible Man's victim with a domestic abuse angle, which proved much more profitable than The Mummy. He also played the murder victim in Murder on the Orient Express (2017) which got mixed reviews but recouped its budget. He played a detective in City Of Lies about the unsolved murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., (which was pulled from schedule only a month before it was due to be released in, and as of 2021 has only just been released to little fanfare) and made a cameo in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with an ascended role in its sequel (which was one of the most widely criticized parts of the film, in addition to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald being the lowest grossing of all Wizarding World films and receiving the most mixed reviews.)
  • In addition to being a Creator Killer for director Vincente Minnelli, A Matter of Time knocked already-fading stars Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer off the A-list. Bergman made only two more films afterwards but for Boyer, all plans of future films were nullified when his wife contracted and died from cancer, a factor that led to his own death very shortly thereafter.
  • The infamous 1970 Box Office Bomb Myra Breckinridge ruined the careers of several of the people involved. Director Michael Sarne had only made one notable film prior to it, and after it, he never made another film in Hollywood again. The film also killed the career of actor Roger Herren, who played Rusty (the character that gets sodomized by a strap-on by Raquel Welch) — it was his first and last film appearance. 20th Century Fox apparently thought so little of it that, aside from a brief early '80s VHS release, it was unavailable on the home video market until 2004.
  • The Phantom did in Kristy Swanson and Billy Zane as stars. Swanson has been mostly relegated to bit parts and guest roles since then, although she did manage to land a small but key role in the Adam Sandler megahit Big Daddy. Zane's leading man push also flatlined, as his career since has been unremarkable save for his role as Cal Hockley in Titanic. The only one to escape unscathed to greener pastures was Catherine Zeta-Jones.
  • The film careers of Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley were both affected by the 2002 flop Serving Sara.
    • After co-starring with Mike Myers in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Hurley started snagging parts in many comedies like My Favorite Martian, EdTV, and the remake of Bedazzled. However, none of these movies came close to matching the success of Austin Powers. In fact, most of them flopped at the box office. A lot was riding on Bedazzled, though, since she was the lead, while the others were supporting roles. However, Serving Sara was the last straw, as she didn't headline another mainstream film since and only did one more movie, Method, before focusing more on her modeling work and less on her acting career. She did start acting again seven years later but has stuck to mostly doing television.
    • Matthew Perry's career pretty much flatlined after Serving Sara and The Whole Ten Yards were both critically smashed and did poorly at the box office. At the same time, Friends had ended. He had since only had one theatrically released film, 17 Again, albeit in a supporting role. He's had a few TV shows including one based off The Odd Couple. However, he hasn't starred or even appeared in ANY films since 2009.
  • Sex Tape killed the careers of Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz.
    • Prior to this film Jason Segel was on a hot streak in films during his run on How I Met Your Mother thanks to his starring role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. After the success of this film, he followed it up with another starring role in I Love You, Man and The Muppets. After this film, Segel starred in The End Of The Tour, his first film to receive a limited release since Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Although critically acclaimed, it failed to make a mark financially, grossing just around $3 million. Following this film, he started starring in films for Netflix.
    • Cameron Diaz was starring in films prior to this that were commercially successful but not received well by critics. Her last critically praised film was In Her Shoes. Nonetheless she still was on Hollywood's A-list. Around the same year this film came out, Annie (2014) came out which was also critically panned ending Cameron Diaz's A-list status in Hollywood and along with personal exile quit acting despite the fact that she has potential to make a comeback.
  • Everyone involved in the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie, with the exceptions of Steve Martin and Earth, Wind & Fire, both of whom remained as famous as they were before the film. The same couldn't be said for George Burns or Aerosmith — who both suffered a brief career downturn, Aerosmith in part thanks to drug problems, before the band returned to popularity in the mid-'80s — or Peter Frampton, whose career took a big dip, and was rumored to be horrified that it was being released on DVD. The Bee Gees were also somewhat affected by this (in addition to the decline of disco), but it took a while since they had several hits straight after Pepper. Producer Robert Stigwood very nearly lost it all from this film, but fortunately for him, he was the producer of Grease, released that same summer, which erased all of his RSO company's losses from Pepper.
  • Son of the Mask knocked out the careers of several of the people involved with it.
    • In the late '80s and early '90s, Steven Wright was a massive comedy star thanks to the short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings earning him an Academy Award, and roles such as Reservoir Dogs and So I Married an Axe Murderer helped his career grow to ultimate stardom. He hit minor snags with weaker hits such as Mixed Nuts and Canadian Bacon, until he starred in this Mask sequel. It was torn apart by critics and audiences alike and flopped at theaters, resulted in the complete meltdown of Wright's career; his next film was a voiceover in 2017's The Emoji Movie (which was also panned), and his only live-action appearance since then was a cameo in the FX comedy Louie.
    • It also hurt the career of lead actor Jamie Kennedy, who has been stuck doing Direct to DVD and TV movies (with the exception of Good Deeds, which came out seven years later). Kickin' It Old School, which made back a fifth of its budget and holds a 2% at Rotten Tomatoes, was a more-than-adequate double-tap.
    • All that Traylor Howard has done since? Her much more acclaimed performance as Natalie Teeger in Monk and feature in a climate change video.
  • The Wachowskis' Speed Racer:
    • Emile Hirsch's career was damaged with this high-budgeted flop. Hirsch, who had been in a number of acclaimed films before it, including Into the Wild, 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. 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. When the film came out, his role turned out to be very minuscule and far from a comeback.
    • Christina Ricci became a star at age 11 when she played Wednesday in the film version of The Addams Family in 1991 and managed to transition successfully from child actress to a career in more mature roles. Ricci's career had barely survived a derailment in the early 2000s following the failure of Prozac Nation (in which she was the star and co-producer), which was shelved for four years and ended up being dumped onto cable, but the box office failure of Speed Racer was the last straw. Since then, she's mostly appeared in low-budget indies, with the exception of the bomb Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, which fortunately didn't affect her much due to her indie cred. She later starred in the campy Lifetime series Lizzie Borden Took an Axe.
  • The Star Wars prequel trilogy:
    • Although not a box office failure, there's an apocryphal account that the mockery Jake Lloyd received for his performance as the young Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace caused him to retire from acting at the age of ten. However, it's been revealed in an interview between him and a Star Wars fan site that, contrary to popular belief, Jake Lloyd does not hate Star Wars after all he's been through.
    • In turn, Hayden Christensen, who played a grown-up Anakin in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, managed to get a career push from the films but never managed to achieve quite the same success. In an interview from 2015, Christensen acknowledged the derailment, admitted he was never comfortable with the spotlight, and was much happier in low-profile roles and projects.
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace had a few casualties:
    • Saying Mark Pillow (Nuclear Man) didn't get much work after this movie would be an understatement. This interview from 2013 shows that Mark is a pretty good sport about the whole affair, saying that he enjoyed his experience working with Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman but acknowledges the film was a trainwreck that pretty much torpedoed his chances of a serious acting career (and no, he also isn't sure why they decided to dub over him with Hackman's voice). He eventually settled down and became a family man.
    • The box-office failure of this film and several others stalled Jon Cryer's career momentum after Pretty in Pink, a situation he would not recover from until Two and a Half Men debuted.
  • Nearly everybody involved with Torque saw their careers destroyed, the only exceptions being Ice Cube (who did Are We There Yet? and became a popular family actor) and Jamie Pressly (who had a major role on My Name Is Earl). Martin Henderson, the then-up-and-coming actor who played the lead role, saw his career reduced to bit parts, straight-to-video films, and a TV show that only lasted one season. Only in 2014, ten years later, did he enjoy a small Career Resurrection, thanks to his starring roles in the critically-acclaimed Sundance Channel series The Red Road and the Australian miniseries Secrets & Lies (which is going to be remade into an ABC TV show starring Ryan Phillippe).
  • 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.

    Town and Country also derailed Goldie Hawn's career as much as it did Beatty's. She only had one major film role after that (The Banger Sisters, which she had completed prior to Town and Country bombing). She then retired from acting for 15 years, and when she returned to the big screen alongside Amy Schumer in Snatched, that film flopped.
  • Virtually the entire cast of the feature film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, especially former Oscar-winner Patty Duke, whose career since then was largely relegated to B-movies and TV.
  • Ray Romano and Gene Hackman's careers never really survived Welcome to Mooseport. After its release, Romano never headlined another live-action movie again and has been doing mostly Ice Age sequels, TV appearances, indies, and one direct-to-video movie. When he received no further offers in the three years following the film, Hackman retired from acting, and now makes his money writing historical fiction.
  • Year One killed two careers: Jack Black and Michael Cera. Before this, Black was a top comedy actor and Cera was an up-and-comer with a few hits (Juno, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) to his name. Then critics destroyed the movie, audiences stayed away, and many people complained that Black and Cera were playing the same characters in every movie. Since then, Black had another enormous flop with the 2010 version of Gullivers Travels (although it did much better outside North America). Black turned away from populist comedies afterwards and largely kept to low-key comedy-drama roles like Bernie (which netted him a Golden Globe nomination) and his band Tenacious D. Cera, meanwhile, starred in Youth in Revolt and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World which both — especially Scott Pilgrim — gained great reviews from critics but flopped at the box office (though both later found their audiences on home video), and he has fallen out of favor with moviegoers, replaced by actors like Jesse Eisenberg. While Youth In Revolt has been completely forgotten, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has become a Cult Classic, and this, along with the fourth season of Arrested Development, has proven a bit of a comeback for him.
  • Zoom killed three careers: Chevy Chase, Tim Allen, and Courteney Cox. Before this Chase was out of the spotlight this being a botched comeback attempt, Allen was coming off the flop The Shaggy Dog and Cox was finding her footing in the film career after the end of Friends. Then this film bombed and Allen and Cox had two other abysmal films that year with The Santa Clause 3 and Barnyard respectively. Since then, Chase has had a proper Career Resurrection with Community which has earned him a devoted following alongside an extended cameo in the Hot Tub Time Machine films. Allen meanwhile starred in another abysmal film Wild Hogs but followed it up with the beloved Toy Story 3 as well as a return to TV with Last Man Standing. Cox on the other hand starred in a supporting role in Bedtime Stories and reprised her role in Scream 4. Her next film Mother's Day passed by without notice.


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