Clooney likes to make films about issues that turn on questions of social responsibility. He grew up in the Cincinnati-area where his dad, Nick, was a broadcaster, deejay and local TV news anchorman. Nick now writes a column for the Cincinnati Post. Slate's Hollywoodland correspondent Kim Masters writes today that there are several theories about George Clooney's failure to sell tickets:
"Clooney is very popular in Hollywood, but he cannot be counted on to open a movie. It's happened for Ocean's 11-12-13, but when you're in a movie with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, you don't get bragging rights. There was The Perfect Storm, but that kind of co-starred the wave."
Master's quotes unnamed Hollywood insiders identified only as a top producer and a former studio chief saying that Clooney just doesn't have the star power to put fannies in the seats.
"Who can be counted on to open a move these days? Maybe Will Smith. Maybe Adam Sandler in a comedy . . . The days are gone when you could book Julia Roberts into Dying Young -- 'a movie that nobody wants to see' -- and watch the audience line up. So, if you can't count on selling the star, he says, you better sell an idea. That didn't happen with Michael Clayton."