Why ‘Man of Steel’ Could Prime Henry Cavill for Stardom

man of steel

Superhero films have a special knack for creating super stars

Superhero movies have a way of creating movie stars.

With a boffo $125 million domestic start, and nearly $72 million so far overseas, Warner Bros.’ “Man of Steel” is the prime star-making vehicle for hulking Brit thesp Henry Cavill, whose previous biggest box office opening was 2011’s “The Immortals,” with $32 million.

SEE ALSO: ‘Man of Steel’ Breaks June Record With $125 Million Debut

Up until “Immortals,” Cavill had only small roles in some mid-sized pics, including 2002’s “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Stardust” in 2007. Cavill was probably best known for his role on TV’s “The Tudors,” in which he played Charles Brandon, a statesman to King Henry.

But there’s nothing like a worldwide box office hit to propel an actor into the stratosphere.

“Man of Steel” is to Cavill what several other superhero movies have been to rising actors recently. Consider Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise. Christian Bale also became a global star after donning the mask and black cape of Batman in Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. (Interestingly, all three actors were raised in the U.K.) And just look to how Robert Downey Jr.’s star profile has risen since becoming Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” movies.

For Cavill, however, “Man of Steel” represents a wholly different star-making opportunity, since Superman really is the heart and soul (and hair and pecs) of the movie.

SEE ALSO: 10 Breakout Actors of the Summer

The opening success of “Man of Steel,” which should lead to a sizable worldwide cumulative gross, means Cavill likely will have a greater shot at becoming a globally recognized leading man than the previous Superman, Brandon Routh, who toplined 2006’s “Superman Returns.” Routh’s failure to move into the bigger leagues is sometimes considered part of the “Superman curse,” the superstition that bad luck befalls “Superman” thesps such as Christopher Reeve, George Reeves, Margot Kidder and Richard Pryor.

While by no means a flop with nearly $400 million worldwide, “Superman Returns” still failed to kick-start what Warners hoped would be a major franchise — something perhaps “Man of Steel” will achieve judging solely by the pic’s success this weekend.

Also, international audiences it seems have warmed more to the steely superhero since the last “Superman.”

In the U.K., for instance, “Man of Steel” grossed nearly $10 million more, at $17.1 million, than “Superman Returns” made in Blighty opening weekend. The other major day-and-date markets — Mexico and South Korea — also saw vast improvements.

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  1. Natallie says:

    I have loved this man since first seeing him as Sir Charles Brandon in The Tudors…Henry Cavill is a great actor and is tall, dark, handsome and drop dead gorgeous. He could easily hold his own acting wise against talented Johnathan Ryhss Meyers who played Henry VIII. He was by far the best looking man on that show, and one of the tallest. The Superman movie was really good and he pulled off an American accent quite convincingly.

  2. I personally believe the reason that Brandon Routh failed is due to the story not the curse! the storyline was the biggest problem. The other reason is, didn’t have enough action. People want action in a superhero movie not romance.

  3. James Breen says:

    I’m really surprised that this article wasn’t written by “Captain Obvious”. Yes, an actor who stars in a $225 million dollar superhero movie “could” be on the brink of stardom. Let’s also take a moment and really take a look at the choice of comparing Henry Cavill to Andrew Garfield, Christian Bale and, of all people, Robert Downey Jr. Really? Each of those actors distinguished themselves before being cast in their superhero role. Cavill is known for small parts in various movies and a lead in two critical and box office failures. So, I’d hold off trying to fit Mr. Cavill in such distinguished company. And, lastly, just because a group of actors in a series of movies met untimely ends or had some bad luck/hardship in a business almost defined by untimely ends/bad luck/hardship doesn’t mean that there’s a “curse”. (unless you’re talking about Poltergeist of course:)

  4. Wasn’t aware Richard Pryor was considered to have suffered from the Superman Curse.

    And its a little early to say that this film still won’t be a disappointment (though that is NOT what I am rooting for). Still has about halfway to go to get to the take of 2006, no? Even before adjusting for ticket prices?

    Plus, there are fanboy rumblings that this outing isn’t as good as the last one, esp. considering its tone. Think about it for a second: whereas in the comics and WB cartoons Superman maintains an active Krypton museum, Superman commits genocide in this film! (“Krypton had its chance.”)

  5. Movie Maniac says:

    He totally deserve the success!! He struggled a lot in Hollywood! He was supposed to be Superman in 2004 film Superman: Flyby – sadly, the movie was cancelled. He was supposed to do twilight series & Casino Royale – unfortunately, he lost out on both the opportunities. So, am finally happy that he’s getting what he deserves. Above all, he’s so humble (comes across that way in his interviews). I’m happy for him!

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