In the wake of yesterday’s riff about the failure of Passengers, a few commenters were saying that between this and the flopping of Joy (which was far from an out-and-out catastrophe — it didn’t catch on very well domestically but it earned $101 million worldwide) Jennifer Lawrence‘s superstar rep is in trouble and that she needs a hit badly, and that perhaps Darren Aronofsky‘s scary flick (sometimes referred to as Mother) will do the trick, etc.
Bad luck. It happens. Nobody can make a weak or crucially flawed film into a hit. She’s fine. For now.
JLaw pulls down big-star fees because (a) she fronted the mediocre but curiously successful Hunger Games franchise (four films that thematically spoke to Millenials), (b) she’s got that naturally intense X-factor thing like few actresses of her generation (the same quality that Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan and even Amy Schumer exude), (c) her Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook performance flooded the room with historic alpha vibes, and so (d) the industry is trusting or hoping that even though JLaw lacks the ability to lay golden eggs on her own dime (if you’re in a movie that doesn’t work then THAT’S THAT — no amount of star-power charisma can save it) sooner or later the combination of Lawrence and the right property will result in another bonanza — if not another franchise then at least another big commercial hit or an important success d’estime.
Once it’s been recognized that you’re an exceptional actor who has the ability to really connect with Joe and Jane Popcorn, that you’re good enough to win an Oscar and that you’ve had something to do with a hugely successful franchise, it takes many years and a herculean effort to convince Hollywood that you’re not worth the candle.
Look at Marlon Brando — he had an enormously fertile great role + great film period that lasted for five years (The Men through On The Waterfront) and then the combination of magic and luck left him. But that initial five-year streak was so full of current and magnetism he stayed in the game for 17 or 18 years (despite acquiring a rep as a arrogant superstar guy who didn’t respect money) until The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris restored the spark in 1972 and ’73. And then it left him again.