While there is no question that making films is an art form, it is equally true that movie studios are first and foremost interested in making money. As such, it is very safe to say that Hollywood executives care more about movies that have the potential to sell loads of tickets than smaller, more prestigious films.
Given how important blockbuster filmmaking is to the Hollywood system, they are only willing to hire the most bankable actors to headline these movies. On top of that, there are some former heavyweight actors who’ve seemingly made the decision to put their days of starring in big-budget films behind them. With that in mind, it is time to get to this list that looks at why you’ll never see these 20 stars in a blockbuster film again.
20 John Travolta
Unlike the vast majority of actors, John Travolta had two golden ages during his career. However, after having one of the biggest comeback stories in Hollywood history during the early ‘90s, his movies began to fail. Unable to take advantage of his third shot at relevance after he was a part of the show American Crime Story, Travolta’s recent movies like Gotti and The Fanatic have been savaged by critics.
19 Mike Myers
Given that Mike Myers was the driving force behind three successful comedy franchises in the form of Shrek, Austin Powers, and Wayne’s World, he seemed to be on top of the world. Then, he appeared in a pair of almost universally lambasted movies, The Cat in the Hat and The Love Guru, and before long he all but disappeared. Since then, Myers has shown little interest in being a huge star again and has mostly kept to occasional cameo roles.
18 Hilary Swank
During the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Hilary Swank seemed to be uniquely positioned to be the heir apparent to Meryl Streep’s legacy of acting excellence based on her two Oscar wins. Unfortunately, all of her career momentum seemed to instantly dissipate after she starred in Amelia, a movie that flopped with audiences and critics. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that she will work with a Hollywood heavyweight like Clint Eastwood again.
17 Hugh Jackman
Throughout Hugh Jackman’s time in the spotlight, the actor has proven himself to be an all-around entertainer. However, aside from his Wolverine movies, Jackman’s only hit films have been the musicals Les Misérables and The Greatest Showman. Given the fact that Jackman has given up playing Wolverine and musicals don’t tend to be a big priority in Hollywood these days, his career prospects seem to be very limited.
16 Alec Baldwin
Given the history of Alec Baldwin’s career, we would never make the mistake of counting him out as a performer. On the other hand, there is nothing about the actor that screams blockbuster films to us these days. In fact, this is a spoiler for the Mission: Impossible movies, but his character from that franchise even lost his life in the last film which means he won’t even be a small part of them anymore.
15 Charlie Hunnam
Here is the thing about Charlie Hunnam, we really hope that we are wrong to include him on this list. After all, we loved him in shows like Undeclared and Sons of Anarchy which makes us think he should be able to entertain us like that again. Sadly, however, the truth of the matter is that since he left Sons of Anarchy behind, Hunnam hasn’t been able to find a hit film to be a part of.
14 Brendan Fraser
Once considered to be one of Hollywood’s most bankable young stars, Brendan Fraser starred in the hugely successful Mummy film franchise on top of Journey to the Center of the Earth. However, after appearing in some unsuccessful films and suffering some personal setbacks, Fraser has all but disappeared from the public eye. Instead, he prefers to ride his horses and spend time with his three children these days.
13 Jessica Biel
At one time tapped to be the next big thing in Hollywood, during the 2000s Jessica Biel was cast in major movies like Blade: Trinity, Stealth, Total Recall, The A-Team among others. However, despite the big plans Hollywood bigwigs obviously had for Biel, almost every movie she was a big part of has fallen way short of expectations. That is the type of track record that makes Hollywood lose all faith in an actor.
12 Mel Gibson
It could be argued that at one time there was nobody more beloved in Hollywood than Mel Gibson. The star of a long list of hugely popular films, it was also said that he was a scamp on set who loved to prank his co-stars. Since then, Gibson’s image has irrevocably changed after a series of racist and misogynistic controversies he was involved in and now even his pranks looking inappropriate in retrospect.
11 Nicholas Hoult
Quite possibly the single most lovable actor to appear on this list, Nicholas Hoult played a major role in the X-Men film franchise and also is memorable for his role in About a Boy. Given those facts and his acting skills, we fully expect Hoult to be a busy actor going forward but he seems better suited to smaller films than future blockbusters.
10 Richard Dreyfuss
Far from the type of person who looks like they were destined for movie stardom, Richard Dreyfuss still headlined huge films like Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Given how bankable Dreyfuss used to be, he could still be regularly landing supporting roles in hit films. Instead, his career has only receded more and more over the last decade and accusations of inappropriate behavior towards women has only made his descent quicken.
9 Meg Ryan
An actor with the innate ability to charm movie audiences, Meg Ryan has starred in so many classic movies that there is not enough space to list them all here. However, since the last time she headlined a major movie, Ryan’s interest in acting seems to have declined and her face has undergone a big enough change to make her a lot less bankable.
8 Terrence Howard
During Terrence Howard’s career, he not only starred in the show Empire for several years, but he also played a key role in films like Hustle & Flow, Iron Man, and other hit films. However, according to Howard himself, as of September 2019, he has chosen to walk away from the acting business as a whole which seems to have closed the door on his blockbuster days.
7 Cara Delevingne
Certainly, someone that has the look to be a big deal in the Hollywood system, Cara Delevingne was cast in notable movies like Suicide Squad as well as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. However, after both of those movies disappointed viewers, it seems like she has refocused her budding acting career as she took the lead role in the show Carnival Row.
6 Liam Neeson
Back when Liam Neeson first rose to fame, he was known for his work in dramatic films. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, his career was given a whole second act after Taken was a surprise hit. However, Neeson’s action star days are clearly waning since his films have become repetitive enough that they tend to come and go without much attention. On top of that, early in 2019, Neeson admitted to something truly racist from his younger days which is likely to hinder his career.
5 Catherine Zeta-Jones
Arguably the most baffling entry on this list, Catherine Zeta-Jones continues to have all the skills needed to be a massive movie star. Despite that, after starring in movies like Entrapment, The Mask of Zorro, and Chicago, her career has slowed to a glacial pace. In fact, she hasn’t been in a movie since a little-seen 2016 film.
4 James Franco
At one time, James Franco had accumulated enough influence in the business that he could pretty much write his own ticket. After all, when you star in one movie after another that turns a huge profit your value only goes up. Then, women came forward to allege that Franco used his position to manipulate them into disrobing on camera in return for roles that never came which has rendered him toxic.
3 Shia LaBeouf
At the height of Shia LaBeouf’s Hollywood career, he was seen in a slew of blockbuster films including the fourth Indiana Jones, Eagle Eye, and the Transformers movies. However, those days are long behind LaBeouf after a slew of controversies. Thankfully, he seems to be very happy starring in low budget independent films these days.
2 Cameron Diaz
After rising to fame due to the popular comedy movie The Mask, Cameron Diaz went on to star in many hit films including Gangs of New York, on top of the Shrek and Charlie’s Angels franchises. Despite Diaz’s long history of starring in major movies, she hasn’t appeared in a blockbuster in years or any films at all since the year 2014 because she has chosen to retire.
1 T.J. Miller
While T.J.Miller has never been a huge star in his own right, not too long ago it seemed like blockbuster directors were chomping at the bit to work with him. After all, he appeared in movies like the Deadpool series, Ready Player One, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Big Hero 6. However, those days are over now that he has been accused of assaulting an Uber driver, being transphobic, forcing himself on a woman, and uttering a bomb threat.
Sources: IMDb.com, variety.com, gq.com, pagesix.com, vulture.com