Zack Snyder‘s “Sucker Punch” opens this weekend, bringing with it this question: can a movie about formidable teen-girl assassins — none of them proven leading ladies — earn back its $82 million budget?
The promising news: “Punch” has several things working for it.
Snyder has a loyal fan base.
Vanessa Hudgens, the most famous of the five main actresses, made a strong promotional push for the flick.
And Abbie Cornish, her co-star, got a jolt to her profile over the last week as another film of hers, “Limitless,” soared to number one at the box office.
But an action extravaganza led exclusively by women remains a risky financial proposition — and “Sucker Punch” wouldn’t even have materialised without this class of unflappable actresses who deliver precise roundhouse kicks and box office profits.
All hail the original Sarah Connor, whose role in the $600 million 'Terminator' franchise should be forever used as a roadmap by wannabe action actresses.
Beckinsale was a vampire before vampires were cool. 'Underworld' and its sequel, 'Underworld: Evolution,' made a combined $114 million at the U.S. box office. She's now shooting the fourth film (the third, an origins story, didn't include Beckinsale's character). And don't forget 'Van Helsing,' which Beckinsale, with co-star Hugh Jackman, led to a $120 million box office run.
Moss balanced out Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in one of the greatest sci-fi gunpower flicks of all time. The three 'Matrix' movies have made over $1.6 billion in box office totals. Now if only those rumours about installments four and five would have been true.
Here's what makes Jovovich's 'Resident Evil' series so insane -- each sequel does way better than the last. The original film made $102 million, and the next three went onto make $129 million, $148 million and $296 million respectively. Obviously, part five is in the works.
Anybody can spill blood in a Quentin Tarantino movie. But Thurman is the true action heroine in his catalogue. 'Kill Bill: Vol. 1' made $70 million, while 'Vol. 2' made $66 million. The third movie is in the works.
Here's the thing about Jolie: she can do all the 'Changelings' and 'Tourists' and 'Cleopatras' she likes, but moviegoers just want to watch her drive and jump and blow people away. Just look at the numbers. The 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' movies made almost $300 million combined. 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' pulled in $428 million worldwide. The worldwide gross for 'Wanted' was $339 million, and for 'Salt,' it was $292 million. But guess who might get to remake one of her roles?
The 'Black Swan' star is one of the names being floated for the role of Lara Croft in a 'Tomb Raider' reboot. Kunis isn't yet a go-to for action flicks, but her turn in 'Max Payne' and the capacity for darkness she showed off in 'Swan' make her a great crossover candidate.
Scarlett Johansson's role in 'Iron Man: 2' wasn't as big as the buzz that surrounded it, but she's set to reprise it in 'The Avengers' (and, most likely, in 'Iron Man: 3'). Though it's strange to imagine action films becoming Johansson's bread and butter, she could become that rare actress versatile enough to carry a bloody blockbuster whenever she feels like it.
The 'How I Met Your Mother' star came seemingly out of nowhere to become the rumoured captor of a prized role in 'The Avengers': SHIELD agent Maria Hill. She may deal in comedy on the small screen, but if Smulders succeeds in locking up this role, her first big foray into film will set the tone for an action-oriented career.
Saldana is set to kick some serious arse in 'Colombiana' later this year. That starring role -- combined with her massive 'Avatar' fame, her gun-toting turn in 'Losers,' and her role in 'Star Trek,' which grossed $258 million -- puts Saldana at the brink of action A-list domination.
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