There are actors who stand the test of time. These are the great ones. They act continuously throughout the multiple stages in their lives, seamlessly transitioning to new genres and for new target audiences, but this is certainly not the norm. Most actors have a booming period of success, but eventually, they fizzle out. Most child actors can’t find success as adult actors, and most adult actors can’t continue finding success as they become elderly. Yeah, some do, but most are not some, whatever the hell that means.
Predicting how someone’s career is going to go is a pretty futile activity, but, when it comes to the acting profession, there are a few indicators available that make it a bit easier to make projections. First, we’ll take a look at popular, highly paid actors because no one cares about you if you don’t make millions of dollars per film. Usually it isn’t one bad film that ruins an actor’s career but a gradual progression of crap that does the trick. So we’ll look at the actors who demand high pay days, but consistently stink it up—something that Hollywood studios are sure to make note of. If an actor begins to lose their ability to bring in audiences and convince critics that they can act, the studios won’t be too generous with their wallets.
So what’s happening here? Is it harsh to bet on an actor losing their livelihood? Yes. But it’s also hard to shed tears for millionaires. Plus, these actors will probably always be around in some sense. They just wont be seen in many big movies five years from now. Some of these actors have been typecast in their careers, but that believability is now fading. Some have passed into the next stage of their lives, be it moving from father type to grandfather type, sex symbol to non-sex symbol or whatever. For many of these actors, their sheen has simply worn off. Their gimmick has run its course. Some of these actors may find another gear and revitalize their careers, but most, if not all, will be all but gone five years from now. Here are 15 actors whose careers will definitely be over in five years.
15. Jennifer Lopez
There’s no doubt that Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman and she has made a career of that. Her music career aside, acting has been something that Lopez has done and done well in spurts. Maid in Manhattan and Gigli, for example, are near-masterpieces, but, for the most part, Lopez and her films have been awful. Despite her massive star power and big pay demands, Lopez hasn’t been in a positively received film in 18 years. That’s alarming. Even the often dim Hollywood studios aren’t dumb enough to keep betting on this horse. Her status as a sex symbol may keep her going for a little while longer, but at 47-years old, Lopez isn’t getting any sexier (sorry, but it’s true). For Lopez to continue acting, she’ll need to rely on her acting ability alone, something that isn’t her strong suit, not even close. Expect to see her around in some fashion, but don’t bank on her maintaining anything resembling a strong acting career for much longer.
14. Ashton Kutcher
The fact that Ashton Kutcher‘s career has lasted up until now might be the biggest surprise on this list. His goofball comedy routine has been tired for an awfully long time and studios have already come to realize this. Kutcher will struggle to stay relevant on the awful TV show he’s in, and his sex symbol status will continue to dwindle with time. But, does any of this even matter? Kutcher had Demi Moore during some pretty good years and now he’s with Mila Kunis. The guy has won at life and no amount of horrible, horrible acting can ever change that. If time travel is ever invented, some of our first actions might be to erase the memory of many of Kutcher’s movies, which makes it possible that, in five years, not only will Kutcher’s acting career be over, it might never have even happened.
13. Mila Kunis
As Mila Kunis gets into her mid-30s, she is going to face the difficult transition that all aging sex symbols face. Even though Kunis’ recent film, Bad Moms, was generally well received, she hasn’t really had a great half decade. Her films have been pretty sparse and really arse. Her intense beauty will keep her somewhat marketable for a little while longer, but studios will start to have a hard time finding big roles for her. The ugly truth is that people are kicking the theater doors down to see movies about women in their mid-to-late 30s. Compared to most on this list though, Kunis does have some decent acting chops, so if we were to bank on one star kicking around to overcome the odds, it would probably be her.
12. Gerard Butler
There was a moment when Gerard Butler was on the verge of becoming something quite big. Yet, looking back on his career up to this point shows that it hasn’t been all that successful of a run for the big Paisley boy. Sure, he’s filthy rich and many of his movies have done exceedingly well, but, even though they’ve sold well, none have really been loved by critics and that doesn’t bode well for future films. He’s got a few films on the docket for the coming years, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if those bomb, just like all his others have. As Butler’s ability to play an action star convincingly weakens alongside his back and rugged good looks, expect the studios to start to veer away from him.
11. Katherine Heigl
Legends of how terrible of a person Katherine Heigl is have made their rounds throughout Hollywood and the media. She is constantly said to be one of the worst people to work with in the acting world. Being full of such conceit and arrogance, you would think that Heigl would be one of the great actors and not one of the absolute worst, but she’s full of surprises. Studios will continue take a hard look at the 37-year old before they sign her on for any significant roles in the future. Not only will she make the lives of everyone on set more difficult, she’s not going to be very good either. She’s really only had one good role in one good film (Knocked Up) and that was the same film she openly criticized. Not a smart move. It’s possible she’s already been blacklisted because of it since she never did recover from it, but, if she hasn’t already, she will be soon.
10. Jessica Alba
There was a time when it just didn’t matter how Jessica Alba‘s acting was. She was, and still is, one of the most beautiful people on the planet and just having her stand around on screen sells tickets. Even though she still has her crippling beauty, her acting ability has become more necessary as she’s gotten older and more familiar. While Alba’s only been the main star in a few roles, she hasn’t really been all that well received. She’s a bit wooden and has never been able to shine the way all young males (and females no doubt) prayed she would. Bank on her falling off even more as time trudges on. While the world would be a much prettier place if she sticks around on our TV and movie screens, it’s unlikely that she will.
9. Megan Fox
Megan Fox is an odd case. She’s painfully beautiful and yet she’s just awful at acting, like super awful. Even though it feels like she’s been around forever, Fox has only been a thing for about 10 years. Though, like the old adage says, time moves slowly when you’re terrible at acting. She should be proud of that—not the terrible at acting part, the 10-year career part. That’s a lot more than most actors get, and that’s about all she should expect. As she transitions from sexy young adult to sexy mom, Fox will have to try to adapt; she’ll have to alter her acting ability. Instead of just arching her back and pouting, she’ll actually have to say things. In terms of critical reception, Fox has been in one good movie in her career. Those aren’t good odds if you’re a movie studio looking for a bankable actress.
8. Renee Zellweger
There’s been a lot said about the change in Renee Zellweger‘s appearance, but what was once a phenomenal career has changed even more over time. The scattered films she has done have been a bit odd, and there are some half-hearted attempts at revitalizing her career coming down the pipeline, but we’re betting those don’t amount to much. Unfortunately, in Hollywood, an actor’s image is almost as important as their acting ability. While Zellweger has done admirably to change that discussion, replaying a character from her past, probably won’t move that needle much in the right direction.
7. Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone was once one of the most popular actresses in the world. If the Internet was popular in 1992, it would have broken after Stone’s famous leg crossing scene in the film, Basic Instinct. Lately, however, Stone has sort of disappeared. As she has transitioned from powerful and gorgeous young woman to grandmother age at 58, her career has suffered quite a bit. Though she has quite a bit on the docket for the future, it shouldn’t be all that unbelievable to suggest that her career won’t be a thing in five years from now.
6. John Travolta
John Travolta has had one of the topsy-turviest careers in Hollywood. In early 1994, it seemed that Travolta’s once-great acting career was unsalvageable, but Quentin Tarantino and Pulp Fiction made him relevant once again. Then in 2000, Travolta took part in one of the worst movies of all time, and, not only did he take part in it, he starred in it, funded it and publicly backed the stinking turd of a film that is Battlefield Earth. Since then, Travolta has been hit or miss. He’s had some decent roles and some truly horrendous ones. As he gets older and weirder, it’s unlikely that he’ll catch lightning in a bottle once more. There is no doubt that Travolta’s career will lightly simmer for a bit longer before it completely cools off for good.
5. Jason Statham
The life of an action star might be the most difficult to maintain. Jason Statham has done well to keep his career moving, but, as he ages, it will become more difficult for him to stay relevant in the eyes of the studios. Even after his hilarious and epic performance in Spy, it will still be difficult for Statham to make his career last for much longer. As his ability to kick people in the head fails, it’ll be his acting ability that keeps him working, something that he’s been pretty heavily criticized for over the years. Unless something dramatic happens in his skills, there won’t be much left in the tank for Statham.
4. Vince Vaughn
Vince Vaughn has been around a long time and has made buckets of money, but his shtick is getting a little old as it’s stayed pretty much the same for his entire run. The last 10 years haven’t been kind to Vaughn. Just about every movie he’s been in has been hated on by critics and it seems like his leash has finally run out. He’s set up to have big years in 2016 and 2017, but, at this point, it’s highly unlikely that these films will be career-savers for the giant, fast-talking human. We also shouldn’t expect Vaughn to reinvent himself anytime soon since he’s been the same guy for so long, in spite of the fact that changing his act might be the only thing that extends his career.
3. Sylvester Stallone
With the most recent recognition for his performance in Creed, it might be tempting to think that Sylvester Stallone‘s career is in a bit of a renaissance, but that would be foolish, and this is coming from a huge fan. It’s far more likely that Stallone’s career simply came full circle with Creed. He’s been panned as one of the worst big name actors for a long time in one of the most hated on genres, action. Stallone has enough staying power to keep him around as a legendary figure for a few more years, but as age catches up to him, his career will dwindle to nothing. Even though writing this hurts a little, there should be no feeling bad for Stallone. This man has had close to a 50-year career, which is mind boggling, and no matter what the critics say, he’ll go down as one of the greatest action stars of all time.
2. Nicolas Cage
Nicolas Cage is a weird person. He’s been weird since his first role and he’ll be weird until his last—probably in about five years from now. As Hollywood royalty (Francis Ford Coppola‘s nephew), Cage might be able to sustain his critically panned career, but it won’t be easy, even for someone as connected as he is. Cage has been in some really amazing roles and films, but he’s also been in some of the worst. Over the next five years, Cage will need to really change what he’s been because most of his films over the past 10 years have been bad. It would be a strange Hollywood without the ever-strange Cage around, but don’t be shocked if, in five years, he’s completely fallen out of the spotlight. Commanding such a large paycheck is a massive plus if you can prove your value, but that’s something Cage has struggled to do for some time now.
1. Will Smith
Over the past decade or so, Will Smith has had a difficult time being anything other than Will Smith. Pretty much every character he plays these days seems like they’re just Will Smith. Even his best performance in recent history in Concussion was a little off-putting. Growing up in the spotlight and having a famous (and weird) family has kept him on our screens for so long. This has made Smith into a larger than life actor. It’s hard for audiences to separate his characters from his real life person. Because of this, his performances seem a little awkward lately. Smith might be able to reinvigorate his career in the coming years, but he’ll have to stop playing Will Smith so hard and start playing characters more.