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Is Sam Worthington the New Steve Guttenberg?

February 1, 2012

Don’t get me wrong—I love Steve Guttenberg. After all, I recently did a career-retrospective interview with him for the SAG Foundation. But even Steve would admit that he was lucky to get cast in high-concept hits like Police Academy, Three Men and a Baby, and Cocoon. Most people didn’t pay to see those movies because he was in them. And the same holds true for Sam Worthington’s smashes.

Despite battling man-eating crocodiles in 2007’s Rogue, the Aussie actor was a complete unknown Stateside before landing leading roles in a trio of 2009-2010 blockbusters: Avatar, Terminator: Salvation and Clash of the Titans. Since then, he’s proven himself to be anything but a box-office titan.

His adultery drama Last Night, costarring Keira Knightley and Eva Mendes, barely got a theatrical release, as did Texas Killing Fields, the serial-killer thriller costarring Jessica Chastain that hit DVD and Blu-Ray yesterday. He also costarred with Chastain in the critically underrated espionage drama The Debt—one of my favorite movies of 2011—but that film underperformed at the box office as well.

Worthington really stepped out on his own for the first time last weekend with Man on a Ledge, and he promptly fell off it. With no other box-office draws in the cast—Ed Harris is a great actor, but he doesn’t exactly put butts in seats—the film’s fortunes fell squarely on Worthington’s shoulders. The opening weekend barely cracked $8 million, trailing Katherine Heigl’s even more criticially reviled One for the Money.  (Both films offered discount tickets online but still couldn’t get people to turn out.)

Worthington will have another hit next month with the surefire sequel Wrath of the Titans, but that won’t prove his worth as a star (Guttenberg made three successful sequels to Police AcademyThree Men and a Little Lady and Cocoon: The Return, not so much). Neither will Avatar 2, which he’s rumored to be returning for.

Maybe Thunder Run or Hunter Killer—the two films he’s slated to make with another questionable, foreign-born “star,” Gerard Butler—will propel him out of the Guttenberg ghetto. If all else fails, Worthington allegedly once said he’d “like to go on Dancing With the Stars.” Then he’d really be following in the Gutte’s footsteps.

Have you ever paid to see a Sam Worthington movie, just because he was in it? Post a comment!

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3 Comments
  1. Yes, I shall see his upcoming flicks because he does it due to it being what he has to offers. People compare him to Keanu Reeves but he had some good Aussie films years before he was in the CGI extraganzas.

    He’s just the type who acts professional as much as possible & wants no part of the celebrity scene.

    It’s funny though because a few pals of mine said that he reminded them of Guttenberg.

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