Hollywood’s Star Power Plunges

Greatest Drop in Star Bankability in 20 Years -- Women Take the Biggest Hit

LOS ANGELES - The entertainment database company The Ulmer Scale released today its first major overview of star bankability in more than two years with its new edition of its Actor’s Hot List . The 2009/10 edition reveals a big surprise due to a major recession in the ‘star power’ of many of Hollywood’s most potent names, said company founder and publisher, James Ulmer.

Only two actors, Will Smith and Johnny Depp, managed to climb onto The Ulmer Scale’s renowned A+ list, scoring 96 and 95 points, respectively, out of a possible 100 in studio-level, high-budget movies. Tom Cruise, who had crowned the A+ list for nearly two decades, saw his ranking tank to 11th place in high-budget movies with 80 points down 18 points from his 2007 tally and a full 20-point drop from his career high of scoring perfect 100’s during the early and mid-‘90s.

Women sustained the most wide-ranging losses. Former no. 1 female star Julia Roberts slipped 11 points to 12th place overall with 80 points, moving off the A+ list for the first time in 15 years due largely to her reduced workload in the past two years. However, Roberts still managed to come in second among women after top-seated Reese Witherspoon, who scored 85 points to earn 7thth place among all stars in The Ulmer Scale’s global bankability survey of film industry professionals. Witherspoon is the only woman to make the Hot List’s Top 10 List (see below).

One-time no. 2 actress Nicole Kidman slipped to 8th place among women in studio-level movies, sliding off the A list altogether as did Jodie Foster -- by shedding 17 points, the largest loss of any of the ladies.

The box office celebrity who suffered the biggest recession in star power is Mel Gibson, who fell 26 points since 2007, followed by Jim Carrey with a 21-point dip, and the trio of Cruise, Keanu Reeves and Robin Williams all who tied for third place with 18-point drops. Shia LaBeouf and Daniel Craig topped The Ulmer Scale’s list of biggest gainers, rising 43 pints and 36 points, respectively.

In nearly every market sector, Hollywood’s blue chip star stock has fallen, reports Ulmer, who has compiled and written the survey since founding The Ulmer Scale in 1997. The ability of a star’s name alone to raise money to make a movie has significantly weakened since we last measured it in 2007.

Ulmer said it was the the poorest performance he’d seen in the 20 years since he began measuring and analyzing star power while on staff at The Hollywood Reporter. He attributed the decline to a plethora of entertainment platormes for the consumer due to a rapidly fragmenting entertainment marketplace. Stars’ scores have shrunk because they must increasingly compete for eyeballs with all kinds of screens beyond the silver one, Ulmer added, and most of those are shrinking too -- TV, the Internet, Gameboys, iPhones, even wristwatches. While moviegoing itself has increased during the recession, Ulmer noted, the core incentives for that moviegoing seem to rely a bit less on marquee names and more on other factors, such as a movie’s genre.

[in studio-level movies]
Will Smith96
Johnny Dep95
Brad Pitt88
Tom Hanks87
George Clooney86
Will Ferrell85
Reese Witherspoon85
Nicholas Cage84
Leonardo DiCaprio81
Russell Crowe81

The Ulmer Scale’s Actors Hot List measures the power surges and power drops of more than 1,400 stars around the world according to their bankability -- defined by Ulmer as the degree to which an actor’s name alone can trigger full financing for a movie.

Ulmer is the former international editor and columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and currently is the international editor of the website Cinema Without Borders and a contributing writer for The New York Times. Ulmer’s company, The Ulmer Scale, tracks a number of risk factors affecting the overall value of actors in the film marketplace worldwide, including their levels of professionalism, willingness to travel and promote their films, career management and acting talent. The Hot List is compiled and tabulated from a global survey of film buyers, sellers, sales agents, producers, company chiefs and financiers. Each actor’s bankability is scored by these professionals in three different budget levels high, medium and low and then ranked by a 100-point index. The complete rankings and bankability scores of all 1,400 actors on The Ulmer Scale’s Hot List is on sale now at www.ulmerscale.com.

(in studio-level movies)
1. Reese Witherspoon85
2. Julia Roberts80
3. Kate Winslet80
4. Cameron Diaz76
5. Keira Knightley76
6. Meryl Streep75
7. Scarlett Johanssen73
8. Nicole Kidman73
9. Angelina Jolie71
10. Penelope Cruz


-- Biggest Gainers in Star Power from 2007 to 2009 --
 2007 Score2009 ScorePoints Gained
1. Shia LaBeouf2063+43
2. Daniel Craig3975+36
3. Rowan Atkinson2860+32
4. Cate Blanchett4266+24
5. Helen Mirren3355+20

-- Biggest Losers in Star Power from 2007 to 2009 --
 2007 Score2009 ScorePoints Lost
1. Mel Gibson8660-26
2. Jim Carrey9473-21
3. Tom Cruise9880-18
4. Keanu Reeves8668-18
5. Robin Williams7961-18

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