From the movies' infancy, when Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin won the world's affection, Hollywood's most precious capital was the face on the screen. That was Rule No. 1 for nearly 90 years and now it's broken. We're in the poststar era. To see how the movies do without big names, look no further than the top-lined actors in this summer's hits: Chris Pine (Star Trek), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Ed Asner (Up). Now consider the names on two summer flopperoos: Will Ferrell (Land of the Lost) and Adam Sandler (Funny People). What draw audiences today are stories with a touch of fantasy and some cool visual effects. Studio bosses know this; that's why they're so reluctant to pay stars $20 million or more per picture. One actor who got that kind of money this summer: Tom Hanks, whose Angels & Demons survived the shrugs of critics and audiences to earn nearly $500 million worldwide.
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