The slow decline of Johnny Depp's career continued as his new film, Transcendence, was panned by critics and completely misfired at the box office, earning a paltry $12.4 million over the weekend. It was the latest in a series of staggering flops for one of the world's biggest movie stars—a streak of futility that began with The Rum Diary and Dark Shadows and culminated with last summer's head-scratcher The Lone Ranger, a disaster of a movie that reportedly lost Disney over $100 million.
In the wake of Depp's latest flop, Hollywood must now come to terms with yet another movie star whose once-Teflon career might be in jeopardy. As with Tom Cruise and Will Smith before him, studios can no longer rely on a Depp vehicle to attract audiences on name recognition alone. The 50-year-old actor is only three years removed from the fourth installment of the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which generated a combined total of $1.2 billion at the box office, making Depp one of the wealthiest actors of our generation in the process.
Most of the commentary surrounding Depp harps on the actor's inflated bank account as an excuse for his recent cinematic bombs. "Depp has what few Hollywood actors don't have: 'f*ck you money,'" writes Tricia Romano of The Daily Beast. "If he never makes another hit, he can still take that to the bank." Unfortunately, that's where the problem lies. If Depp never has to worry about money again—and his own personal Bahamian island suggests that he doesn't—then why does he continue to make schlocky studio fare? While Transcendence may seem like a heady sci-fi mind-bender on the outside, at its heart it's a generic blow-em-up action flick—the kind of film Depp would have been loath to make a decade ago.
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