Monday, August 15, 2011

Nicole Kidman's career goes straight to video

Bloodied and bruised: Kidman and Cage's characters are held hostage in their own home. Trespass is the sort of movie that Hollywood used to be able to make decent money from - not anymore. Picture: Millennium Films Source: Supplied
Kidman and Cage appear to have been poorly photoshopped in the Trespass poster. Picture: Millennium Films Source: Supplied
  • Kidman's star power can't save thriller

  • Film hits cinemas and TV on same day

  • Gallery: Nicole Kidman through the years

NICOLE Kidman's career has officially hit the skids - her next film is going straight to video.
The Oscar-winner, whose very name used to be enough to command space at the multiplexes and a lavish promotional campaign, is facing the indignity of being dumped in the movie graveyard.
Worse still is the fact that her new film isn't a low-budget art-house flick but a mainstream thriller co-starring another Oscar-winner, Nic Cage.
In Trespass Kidman and Cage play a wealthy couple whose fractured relationship is tested when a group of ruthless criminals invade their house and take them hostage. It is the sort of movie Hollywood used to crank out in its sleep - and rely upon to make a decent return at the box-office. Attach two big stars and watch the money flow.
The fact that Trespass's producers are releasing the film in US cinemas on the same day as making it available on video on demand - and putting it out on DVD only a few weeks later - suggests they don't have much faith in Kidman or Cage's ability to attract a sufficient audience.
Kidman's star power has long been on the wane. Her last film, Just Go With It, did make more than $100m at the US box office but she wasn't the star: she was the butt of Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston's jokes. She didn't even get billing on the posters. The last four Hollywood films of which she was the star - Nine, Australia, The Golden Compass and The Invasion - were box office disappointments. You have to go back to Happy Feet in 2006 to find a Kidman film that made any decent money - and even that was an animated film.
Kidman is still the darling of the Academy Awards - she was nominated for best actress for her moving performance in the indie drama Rabbit Hole - but once stars cross the line into straight-to-video fare, they tend to lose the respect of voters and, more importantly, the all-powerful studio bosses.
Tellingly, Trespass isn't a big studio film but the work of a second-tier outfit, Millennium Films, which makes mostly mid-budget movies staring fading stars, such as Val Kilmer, Michael Douglas and Ed Norton, many of which go straight-to-video outside the US. Their films are not the kind of Oscar-bait Kidman is usually associated with so she must have been feeling the pinch.
Things can't have looked good when she signed on - Trespass's director, Joel Schumacher, hasn't made a film that's seen the inside of a cinema since 2007 - the Jim Carrey flop The Number 23 - and hasn't had a box office hit since 1996. He is also responsible for the shockingly awful Batman and Robin.
Embarrassingly, Kidman's next projects are a TV movie and another film bankrolled by Millennium.
Although many a movie star has bounced back from a string of box office flops - Michael Caine and Sean Connery made a career out of it - the current realities of movie-making, where franchises like Transformers and Batman, not stars, rule the box office, suggest that Kidman could be in the graveyard for quite some time.

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