Tom Holland’s Movie Stardom Has Yet To Be Charted

Mar 29, 2022

Since the birth of Hollywood, “The Movie Star” has been a staple of the industry. It was believed to be common knowledge in Tinseltown that big-name actors or talent would draw huge crowds. Prime examples would be actors like Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone, who could make substantial money at the box office because of their star power. But in recent decades, that has become increasingly rare. One may now ask how this could be possible? The answer to that question is quite complicated, and there are several valid explanations as to why this is the case. First, the big names of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s don’t attract the big bucks as they did then.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any more movie stars in this current media climate. Just look at Dwyane Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, who both had big hits last year with “Free Guy” and “Jungle Cruise .” In addition, both Reynolds and Dwyane starred in Netflix’s most-stream film of all time, “Red Notice.” But these guys are the exception to the rule these days. Then Tom Holland came along. If you don’t know who Tom Holland is, which is highly unlikely, he has played Spider-Man/Peter Parker in the MCU for the past six years. I haven’t even mentioned The Impossible, Locke, or The Lost City of Z that put him on the map; there is also Heart Of The Sea, but that one is not worth talking about. When it comes to acting capabilities, Holland stands out among today’s crop of up-and-coming action performers because he is a triple threat. When you think about it, he can harness the physicality of Tom Cruise or Jackie Chan while still maintaining a palpable nave charm akin to Tom Hanks and revealing the depth of whatever role he plays, similar to his friend/colleague Robert Pattinson.

Even with all that fantastic talent, it is fair to say since he’s taken up the mantle of Spider-Man in the MCU, he has struggled to find success out of his superhero role. This isn’t a huge surprise; just ask Ben Affleck or Robert Downy Jr after they retired from superhero roles. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had some critical success with Pixar’s “Onward,” “Spies in Disguise,” and Netflix’s “Devil All The Time.” Nevertheless, it is fair to say that both“Cherry” and “Chaos Walking” in 2021 have given him a black eye in his career. It’s also worth noting that most of these films did release during the pandemic. Consequently, Holland’s career outside of Spider-Man’s title role was somewhat bleak. However, the wild card of his career was the film adaptation of the popular video game series “Uncharted,” Co-starring Mark Wahlberg. It was expected to flop, with an expected abysmal 30 million weekend and be the end of the road for Tom Holland’s A-List status at the box office. It even received mixed reviews, with rotten tomatoes rating 40% and Metacritic rating 47%.

Despite all odds, Uncharted hit No. 1 at the North American box office with $51 million in its debut over Presidents Day weekend, making it the biggest opening weekend since “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” another film starring Tom Holland. Additionally, the film had an exponentially stronger 2nd weekend with a haul of $23.2 million, increasing its domestic total to an estimated $83.3 million. That is not even counting the worldwide numbers, currently sitting at an impressive $357 million worldwide. Even a sizable chunk of mainstream audiences seemed to like the movie, despite fans of the game hating it. The film scored a 6.6 to 7/10 on most film websites and 90 percent approval on RT, with many praising Tom Holland’s performance, despite some saying he was miscast. Even though the film was not well received by critics or specific audiences, it was a surprise hit for Sony and Columbia Pictures.

So does this mean that Tom Holland is back on his way to becoming an A-list Movie Star? The answer is yes and no. On the one hand, “Uncharted” has proven that Holland can be a box office draw outside of Spider-Man, but on the other, an argument can be made he faces a similar issue that his other superhero actor brethren face. That is, even though they might find success in the action/ sci-fi genre, audiences may be primarily interested in those actors for those particular niches. This has been what acclaimed Film Journalist Scott Mendelson has rightly feared about the current moviemaking geography. In a Forbes piece penned by Mendelson titled “Why Orlando Bloom Never Became A Movie Star,” he illustrates this issue perfectly by stating even though “Bloom still makes pictures, his fate would define the coming generation of ballot-specific movie stars. Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans broke out as specific IP affairs but had no luck getting folks to show up for conventional non-fantasy star vehicles. “

Of course, this ignores the possibility that Holland has already risked overexposure by appearing in too many films in a short period of time, regardless of quality, a problem that even well-known actors like Dwayne Johnson, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawerence, Brad Pitt, and, dare I say Tom Cruise has faced in the past. But, regardless of those negative factors, Holland’s future as a leading man is brighter than it has ever been with now two successful blockbuster franchises under his belt, both for Sony, funny enough, as well as two fascinating projects on the horizon. One of these is Apple TV+’s “The Crowded Room,” a mini-series about Danny Sullivan, played by Tom Holland, a young man with multiple personalities. However, Holland’s upcoming project, the recently announced “Astaire Biopic,” will likely be the focus of attention. He will play legendary actor, dancer, singer, and composer Fred Astaire.

On paper, it seems like a perfect fit for Holland’s sensibility, given that he got his start in theater. In addition, it could help boost his prestige credit, similar to Kristen Stewart’s decision to do The Princess Diana Biopic “Spencer” following the critical/financial bombs of both “Charlie’s Angel” and “Underwater.” Regardless of critical accolades, it could also end up being a PR nightmare akin to “Pammy and Tommy” due to Astaire himself stating that he had no particular desire to have his life misinterpreted on screen. Time will tell if these projects are successful, but it’s becoming clear that Holland’s future as a leading man has yet to be charted out.

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