It's a little too early to tell, but it looks like "Godzilla" is going the way of all dinosaurs, and Johnny Depp will probably quickly swipe "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" from his resume.
When most of us goof up, the gaffe is soon forgotten. But actors aren't so lucky. A huge flop has a long shelf life.Bruce Willis has found it hard to live down "Hudson Hawk," and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still apologizing for "The Last Action Hero."
Who can forget how phony Laurence Olivier was in "The Prince and the Showgirl" or Faye Dunaway going ballistic in "Mommie Dearest." Marlon Brando snored through "The Countess from Hong Kong," and Meryl Streep's parade of accents were useless in "Heartburn."
Robert Redford's macho failed him in "Havana," and Glenn Close was strictly mini in the farce "Maxie." Paul Newman would just as soon excise "Quintet" from his credits.
There's always that rotten little apple somewhere in the barrel of even the most illustrious actor. Nicholas Cage recalls shooting "Trapped in Paradise" in Ontario, and he already knew it was going to be a dud. "I remember being in my trailer in the coldest winter in Canada, a miserable experience. And I'm thinking, `Can't I just make a movie I can be proud of again?' "
Tom Hanks, probably Hollywood's most celebrated actor with his back-to-back Oscars for "Philadelphia" and "Forrest Gump," has had his downs as well as his ups. "I know that I'll probably never do a movie as good or as accomplished or as celebrated as `Forrest Gump,' " he says. "Just as I'll never do a movie as bad as `Bonfire of the Vanities.' I've swung to both sides of the spectrum here."
The same defense mechanism goes into effect, whether you've come up with treasure or trash.
"I'll be Forrest Gump for the rest of my life. That's OK, that's a good thing. I'll also be, to certain people, Sherman McCoy (of `Bonfire') for the rest of my life, too. It's an even trade-off . . . Any sort of achievement is something to get over, just as any sort of failure is something to get over," he says.
Of course, sometimes when a movie fails, it can snarl an actor's career for years. After "Moment by Moment" bombed, John Travolta's career faltered.
"I'll tell you what happens," he says. "For about a month I was upset, but then I got `Urban Cowboy' and forgot about it. It's not like we're all-day preoccupied with it. We were like kids. A toy distracts you, and then you're cool again."
But Travolta's career wasn't to rally for 14 years, until he played the slow-witted gangster in "Pulp Fiction," and he hasn't quit working since.
For Bruce Willis, the misfired "Hudson Hawk" was a revelation. "That was a great big change for me, because prior to that I was really caught up in my career because for so many years my acting career was all there was. I was just so singularly focused on that. I was working way too much and was way too concerned about what was being said about me and what was being written about me.
"After that firestorm of `Hudson Hawk,' and after I walked through that fire, I realized when I got on the other side that what was being said about me and being commented on about my acting work didn't matter as much anymore . . . And I was really able to settle down and get on with my life . . . I'm still here. I'm still acting and still being asked to act in films and that was a big gift that was unlooked for."