So Much For Star Power

The summer's hits were short on big names. Is this the post-Arnold era?

All right, Tom Cruise won. His Mission: Impossible II coasted to an easy victory in the summer box-office race, with $213 million in domestic grosses. Cruise did what movie stars are supposed to do: climb a rockface, save the girl and the world and, in the process, make a bundle for himself and his backers. But take a look at the runners-up, and you will find a few surprises--unpleasant ones, for an industry that pays dearly for celebrity wattage to attract customers. The return on star investment is falling like a dotcom stock. Hollywood bosses have to wonder: Have we entered...

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