If you're steeped in superhero fandom, like I am, it's hard to imagine seeing one of your favorite actors as anything but a super star. But if the recent box office flop Blackhat is any indication, superhero actors don't necessarily guarantee you'll have crowds of fans clamoring to see movies that don't feature hammers and shields.
Let's compare the opening weekends for movies that star our favorite Marvel superhero actors, before and after they donned a pair of tights.
Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man)
Bowfinger (1999) = $18 million
Gothika (2003) = $19 million
Zodiac (2007) = $13 million
Iron Man (2008) = $98 million
Sherlock Holmes (2009) = $62 million
Iron Man 2 (2010) = $128 million
Iron Man 3 (2013) = $174 million
The Judge (2014) = $13 million
Other than Sherlock Holmes, the opening weekends for Robert Downey, Jr.'s movies that don't involve a flying metal suit aren't record breakers. (See a nifty pie chart for these figures.)
Chris Evans (Captain America)
Cellular (2004) = $10,100,571
Fantastic Four (2005) = $56,061,504
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) = $58,051,684
Push (2009) = $10,079,109
The Losers (2010) = $9,406,348
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) = $65,058,524
What's Your Number? (2011) = $5,421,669
The Iceman (2013) = $87,946
Snowpiercer (2014) = $171,187
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) = $95,023,721
Clearly the whole of fandom isn't interested in seeing Chris Evans on the big screen unless he's wielding a red, white and blue shield. (That's too bad, because they're missing out on some of Chris Evans' best movies.)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Blackhat (2015) = $3,901,815
Thor: The Dark World (2013) = $85,737,841
Rush (2013) = $187,289
Red Dawn (2012) = $14,276,668
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) = $56,217,700
The Cabin in the Woods (2012) = $14,743,614
Thor (2011) = $65,723,338
A Perfect Getaway (2009) = $5,948,555
Unless Hemsworth is wielding Mjolnir (his hammer), fans aren't interested, even when a movie is nominated for a Golden Globe (Rush).
So, is it true that these great actors will only be a success if they star in a comic book or fantasy movie? Only time will tell. For my money, they're very talented, and I'll put my butt in the seat for every one of their movies.
Nancy Basile writes about entertainment for Media Medusa. Check out 10 Funniest Moments in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.