She seems wooden as an actress. Why do consumers and movie producers / execs like her so much?
This is a follow-up question to Who are the highest paid actresses in Hollywood right now?
I have been told by friends of mine in the entertainment business that there are only three actors in Hollywood today who are perceived as franchise-making stars:
Leonardo DiCaprio might also be on this list, although he has had a strong interest over the past decade in making non-blockbuster-oriented films.
Jolie is the one actress on the list. Sandra Bullock is the only other name people talk about right now, and only if the casting / role fit is really right for her (i.e., The Blind Side).
Jolie is a giant star because (1) she consistently makes movies that deliver giant box offices grosses and (2) she can open a movie with a huge first weekend --> i.e., the audience is so excited to see her that they will see the movie on the first weekend without knowing what the informed word-of-mouth is.
Over the past five years, she has made 3 blockbuster action films:
Salt: total worldwide gross: $220MM; opening weekend (US): $36MM
Wanted: worldwide: $340MM; opening weekend: $51MM
Mr. & Mrs. Smith: worldwide: $478MM; opening weekend: $50MM
Notably, each of these three films was an original property for the studio -> no comic book or book tie-in. Making Spiderman or Harry Potter is much easier than making an original film, because the audience already knows the story and is eager to see it in the movie theater. It's also more expensive to make a licensed property film (i.e., a comic book character) because the studio has to share the profits with the licensor. In other words, it's both harder and more profitable to make original films. It's amazing how successful Jolie has been in getting traction with action franchises that no one had heard of prior to the movie.
As an actor, she is an incredible ass-kicking action star. One of the best ever. I think it's hard for people to see this because she's a woman. She is clearly a more compelling action star than many of the biggest actors of the last 20 years -- Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, etc. The idea that she is wooden or implausible as an action hero is ridiculous