Aaron Paul became a critically acclaimed actor while appearing in a recurring role on the television series Big Love and earned even more praise and won two Emmy Awards for his starring role on Breaking Bad. So why is it that the movie Need for Speed, which starred Paul, underperformed in U.S. theaters this past weekend? Just because Paul is an award-winning actor on television does not mean audiences were going to pack the theaters to see his movie. In fact, there is a long history of wildly popular television stars who fail in their attempt to transition to movie stardom. In many cases, these TV stars made poor choices when it came to film roles. In other instances, viewers simply had no interest in seeing these actors play anything else but their beloved TV characters. For every George Clooney there are many TV stars that kill their momentum stone dead with their subsequent movie roles. Here are ten actors who couldn't match their television success on the big screen.
9. The Guys From Friends
Everyone knows that Jennifer Aniston is the only member of the Friends cast to become a successful movie actress, but co-star Courtney Cox did very well with the Scream films before finding success with her own TV series Cougar Town. While co-star Lisa Kudrow hasn't been as successful, she still appeared in several popular films including Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion, Analyze This, P.S. I Love You, and Easy A. That's more than you can say for their male Friends co-stars David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry. Schwimmer's first movie as a star, 1996's The Pallbearer, fell flat. In fact, none of the movies Schwimmer has played the lead in have been financially successful, and his most recent 2005's Duane Hopwood only grossed $13,510. Luckily for Schwimmer, he has had much more success as the voice of Melman the giraffe in the three Madagascar animated movies and has started a second career directing a handful of movies and episodes of TV series. In contrast, LeBlanc barely had a film career to speak of. His first film was the incredibly stupid baseball-playing chimpanzee movie Ed which made less than $5 million at the box office, and his 1998 big-budget sci-fi movie Lost in Space barely turned a profit. Aside for his cameos in the two Charlie's Angels films and an indie movie titled All the Queen's Men, LeBlanc has steered clear of movies since. During his run on Friends, Perry had only one hit movie, 2000's The Whole Nine Yards, which made enough to greenlight a sequel, 2004's The Whole Ten Yards. However, the awkwardly-named sequel bombed at the box office and Perry has had no leading movie roles since. While LeBlanc has recently gained critical praise (and a Golden Globe) for playing a parody of himself on the Showtime series Episodes and his first movie in over a decade, Lovesick, is in post-production, his fellow male Friends have not had such a renaissance. In fact, Perry is now on his fourth (!) post-Friends television series, a new version of The Odd Couple. None of Perry's three previous series made it to a second season.
Chris McKittrick is a published author of fiction and non-fiction and has spoken about film and comic books at conferences across the United States. In addition to his work at WhatCulture!, he is a regular contributor to CreativeScreenwriting.com, MovieBuzzers.com, and DailyActor.com, a website focused on acting in all media. For more information, visit his website at http://www.chrismckit.com.