9:49 pm - 08/22/2013

Grading Teen Idols' Non-Franchise Careers


LOS ANGELES - “The Hunger Games“’ Liam Hemsworth is leaving the 12 Districts of Panem and striking off on his own in this Friday’s “Paranoia.”

Studio executives are waiting to see if the corporate espionage thriller announces Hemsworth as a budding A-lister or crashes in a crowded summer field of movies, pulling his star to earth with it.

Teen idols like Daniel Radcliffe, Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Lawrence have tried to expand their brands beyond the young-adult franchises that made them famous.

Sometimes, as in the case of Lawrence’s Oscar-winning work in “Silver Linings Playbook,” the actors have demonstrated that they have more to offer than “The Hunger Games” or “Twilight.” But others, such as Taylor Lautner, have failed to find follow-up projects that generated much heat at the multiplexes.

TheWrap pulls out its grade book to take a look at how the top teen idols have fared at the box office — outside their franchises. Since Hemsworth is newest to the game, we’ll save him for last.


Franchise Role: Vampire-obsessed Bella Swan in four “Twilight” films

Follow-Ups: Stewart mixed in indie fare like “The Runaways,” “On the Road” and “Adventureland” with big-budget offerings like “Snow White and the Huntsman” with mixed results. After grossing nearly $400 million worldwide, “Snow White” will likely spawn a sequel and helped prove that audiences could accept her in other roles. However, the fall-out from her affair with director Rupert Sanders hurt her with Twi-hards who wanted her romance with Robert Pattinson to mirror their on-screen love story. Plus, those indie movies received respectful reviews, but barely made a ripple at the box office.

What’s Next: More “Snow White” along with grittier roles in the Guantanamo Bay drama “Camp X-Ray” and the backstage indie “Sils Maria” opposite Chloe Moretz.

How the Strategy Worked: The logic is sound, and Stewart gets credit for finding a second franchise. However, she still has to convince critics that her slouching, often affect-less delivery is a stunning display of naturalism instead of simply a case of indifference.

Grade: B


Franchise Role: Bespectacled boy wizard Harry Potter in the eight films that carry that name.

Follow-Ups: Most of Radcliff’s biggest splashes have been in the theater, where he memorably bared all in “Equus” and proved he could carry a show in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” But he has mixed in a few idiosyncratic offerings such as the horror film “The Woman in Black,” which earned a decent $127.7 million worldwide.

What’s Next: The horror film “Horns,” about a man who wakes up with some funky headgear, and “Kill Your Darlings,” which will feature Radcliffe as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in “Kill Your Darlings.” He’ll also play Igor in an untitled Frankenstein project.

How the Strategy Worked: He’s proved he’s more than just a cute kid by taking the stage, but he needs to keep tending to the movie star part. “The Woman in Black” proved he can open a film; now he has to repeat the trick with “Horns” and “Kill Your Darlings.”

Grade: B


Franchise Role: Peeta, the adversary and occasional love interest of Katniss Everdeen, in “The Hunger Games.”

Follow-Ups: Voice work in the animated film “Epic” and a role as a guerilla fighter in the long-delayed “Red Dawn,” which he actually completed before “The Hunger Games,” didn’t hurt him exactly but also didn’t rise or fall on his performance. Prior to playing Peeta, he appeared in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and its sequel and showed he could be a sensitive sceen presence in “The Kids Are All Right.”

What’s Next: Three more “Hunger Games” sequels interspersed with a role as a young surfer who tangles with Pablo Escobar’s niece in “Paradise Lost” opposite Benicio del Toro. There’s also the possibility of another sequel to “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

How the Strategy Worked: It’s hard to adequately assess whether Hutcherson has the chops to carry him beyond “The Hunger Games.” A lot is riding on “Paradise Lost.” If he goes toe to toe with del Toro, it will demonstrate he’s an actor and not just a second banana.

Grade: C+


Franchise Role: Brooding bloodsucker Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” films.

Follow-Ups: Aside from a brief detour into heartthrob territory with 2011’s largely forgettable “Water for Elephants,” Pattinson has favored edgier vehicles like David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” and the Belle Epoque romantic drama “Bel Ami.” It’s earned him points for stretching, but critics have been cool to the films themselves - and audiences have steered clear.

What’s Next: More of the same. Teaming up with Cronenberg on “Maps to the Stars,” facing off against Guy Pearce in the Australian drama “The Rover,” getting taken advantage of by Carey Mulligan in “Hold on to Me” and playing T.E. Lawrence in “Queen of the Desert.”

How the Strategy Worked: After “Twilight,” Pattinson had his pick of roles, and he’s used that opportunity to prove that he’s more interested in finding offbeat roles than he in cashing paychecks. That’s admirable. However, he needs to find a part that gets the critical raves he clearly covets. Perhaps his second collaboration with Cronenberg will prove more memorable than the first.

Grade: B-


Franchise Role: Brainy spell-caster Hermonine Granger in eight “Harry Potter” films.

Follow-Ups: A stint at Brown University, interrupted by a heart-tugging turn in the acclaimed and successful “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and a hilarious send-up of her goody two-shoes image in “This Is the End.” She also had a small role as a C-list celebrity obsessed criminal in Sofia Coppola’s lackluster “The Bling Ring.”

What’s Next: Holing up in the ark along with Russell Crowe in Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic “Noah.”

How the Strategy Worked: She aced this exam. Watson has sought out a diverse range of projects that play to her strengths but also highlight a sense of humor that was only hinted at in the “Harry Potter” films. “Noah” represents her biggest challenge yet, but Aronofsky worked wonders with Natalie Portman, another former child star, in “Black Swan,” so you have to like those odds.

Grade: A-


Franchise Role: Vulpine and frequently shirtless Jacob Black in four “Twilight” films.

Follow-Ups: The lamentable action film “Abduction,” which flopped at the box office, and a barely there cameo in “Grown Ups 2.” Lautner’s resume is notable as much for the films that never happened as for the ones that did - a long list that includes “Stretch Armstrong” and “Cancun.”

What’s Next: The parkour thriller “Tracers” presents a good chance to showcase Lautner’s physicality and physique.

How the Strategy Worked: It’s a career running on fumes. In the midst of “Twilight” mania, studio executives thought they had found a budding action star. “Abduction” demonstrated that it takes more than muscles to open a movie.

Grade: F


Franchise Role: Gale Hawthorne, the BFF of Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.”

Follow-Ups: Hauled around artillery in “The Expendables 2“ and dabbles in white-collar duplicity in this Friday’s “Paranoia.”

What’s Next: “The Expendables 3,” where he’ll round out a cast of ‘80s action icons and bring the average age down by four decades; robbing in armored car in “Empire State” opposite Dwayne Johnson; playing a former athlete in “Cut Bank” with a cast that includes Billy Bob Thornton and John Malkovich. Plus, three more installments in “The Hunger Games,” where his character begins to take a more important role in the action.

How the Strategy Worked: A lot hinges on “Paranoia.” If he goes toe-to-toe with heavyweights like Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman and impresses audiences, than Hollywood has a new leading man. If not ... well, just ask Skeet Ulrich.

Grade: B-

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champagnexdream 22nd-Aug-2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
Lol poor Taylor. IA with the rest of the list for the most part though.
chrislola 22nd-Aug-2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
Of course sharkboy got an F. lol.
Does Kristen really deserve a B though? Rob doesn't deserve his B either.
falloutbi 22nd-Aug-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
I feel she deserves a B+ due to having a somewhat successful career before Twilight
chrislola 22nd-Aug-2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
i only knew her as that girl in the jodie foster movie. which she was actually decent in, so i don't know what happened to her.
0rdinaryvanity 22nd-Aug-2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
i thought she was great in speak, which was based off of one of my favorite books in high school.
bossm 22nd-Aug-2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
She had a couple movies but she was never successful.
ava_adore0 22nd-Aug-2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
yeah rob's more like a C just for getting work. besides water for elephants, all his non-twilight stuff has flopped (was bel-ami even released????)
crispy1088 22nd-Aug-2013 08:57 pm (UTC)
She had a box office hit with Snow White but the jury is still out. Meanwhile Rob has been trying to distance himself and break out but everything he's released since Twilight has flopped and he hasnt gotten good reviews for his acting either. They are both C's in my book.
kstew 22nd-Aug-2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
tbh kristen deserves more like a C if we're going solely off success, which is sounds like this list is. the only movie that hasn't been an indie she's made post-twilight was snow white, which did well enough but it wasn't some amazing success. her other roles that were in indies were good imo, but obviously those don't usually do well.
chrislola 22nd-Aug-2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
to clarify, i think both of them deserved LOWER grades. not higher ones.
tobiveil12 22nd-Aug-2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
The only person who deserves a good grade from Twilight is Nikki Reed. Every movie she has been has appeared on HBO more than 1
hunter_graphics 22nd-Aug-2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
LMAO at how Emma got an A and Dan just a B.
pandora04 22nd-Aug-2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Ditto as I saw DanRad in How to Succeed and he's multi-talented enough to where his career will def outlive hers in the long-run!
ava_adore0 22nd-Aug-2013 08:07 pm (UTC)
emma's got good hustle. she'll capitalize on her harry potter fame and do other big projects where her talent is less important than her name, and will appeal to a HP audience. Dan seems more into actually improving himself and challenging himself and doing interesting projects that have appeal outside the HP audience.
dizzy879 22nd-Aug-2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
IA. No one hustles like my Emma. And I think Dan really does want to branch out and try different things.
logan_lerman 22nd-Aug-2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
hautekills 22nd-Aug-2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
idc for either of them but youre 100% right about danrad and i cant help but respect him for it
foxtree 22nd-Aug-2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
You nailed it.
chris_chick 22nd-Aug-2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
perfect comment tbh
brenden 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
"Grade: F"

hoechlingurl 22nd-Aug-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
LOL at this article even trying to compare Natalie Portman to Emma Watson. LOLOLOLOL...
saccrilegious 22nd-Aug-2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Emma has the most potential on this list to be nominated for an Oscar though 
lumosofmylife 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
Rupert didn't even make the list.

bethmai 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
wasn't he in that ed sheeran video
lumosofmylife 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, and he was f l a w l e s s.

deluminator 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
omg </3
tobesurrounded 22nd-Aug-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
didn't he get fat?
jiggle_jingles8 22nd-Aug-2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Awww :(
He is the most interesting one out of the HP bunch.

Edited at 2013-08-22 07:59 pm (UTC)
hoechlingurl 22nd-Aug-2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Assholes! Watch him win that Oscar one day...
dizzy879 22nd-Aug-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
Omg, awww.
logan_lerman 22nd-Aug-2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
spiderkelly 22nd-Aug-2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
lol. please re-read the title.

Grading Teen Idols' Non-Franchise Careers
cricketgrl 22nd-Aug-2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
He's such a fucking flop. Always been a flop.

Glad to see his ass didn't even make the cut because I knew he would dissolve once the Potter films were done. Dan&Emma were always the stars of those films and had great chemistry together. It's one of the reasons Harmony was so popular.
readmymiind 22nd-Aug-2013 08:16 pm (UTC)
my poor ginger prince
wizard_alien 22nd-Aug-2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
And he's the one with the ice cream truck and hovercraft.
cheekymonkeyboo 23rd-Aug-2013 12:46 am (UTC)
he used to be cute....

seersha 23rd-Aug-2013 09:43 am (UTC)
It's a shame, but I'm not really surprised.
sparkhack 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
too lenient tbh
ms_cucumber 22nd-Aug-2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
kalie_m 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
I forgot Taylor Lautner existed.
bodylikemind 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
Liam would definitely have an F now
dr0012 22nd-Aug-2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
calinewarkwc69 22nd-Aug-2013 07:54 pm (UTC)
Awwwww, poor Lautner. I totally thought Liam would get the F, lol.
joliefoliepolie 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
At first I didn't realize the grades were below the names and so I was like "What kind of drugs are these people on to give Taylor an A-?"
falloutbi 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
I'm sure there's bias mixed into this, but I'd give Kristen a B+ grade wise. She was in indie films successfully before Twilight.
hoechlingurl 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
How anyone finds Daniel Ratcliffe attractive is beyond me and he is an awful actor his post HP career is because his name still pulls moolah.
my_kneazle 22nd-Aug-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
Daniel RaDcliffe is a national treasure and you need to sit down
logan_lerman 22nd-Aug-2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
tobesurrounded 22nd-Aug-2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
you could say this about all the men on this list
hoechlingurl 22nd-Aug-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
But did I lie. I watched him in Woman in Black and he was sub par at best. I won't even bother mentioning Harry Potter movies. No point.
fluffybb 22nd-Aug-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
Please I think he's hot and his personality make him even hotter.
xdecadentx 22nd-Aug-2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
kstew 22nd-Aug-2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
lol this gif is still one of my fave gifs ever
milkradio 22nd-Aug-2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
Sometimes he looks so rough and strange (like up there, lol poor thing, that is not a good look for him), but idk other times I think he's pretty dang cute:


just ~my opinion~ of course lol. Different strokes and all that.
milkradio 22nd-Aug-2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
ok and i'm ngl i think he has a really great personality, so that factors into it for me too.
hautekills 22nd-Aug-2013 08:37 pm (UTC)
lol danrad is totally ugly i agree
just_say_narf 22nd-Aug-2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
He looks like a young Phil Collins with hair.
foxtree 22nd-Aug-2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
He's got a Great Personality.
m_h_p 26th-Aug-2013 11:18 pm (UTC)
He's an excellent stage actor.
sandvich 22nd-Aug-2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
tbqh I'd say that out of all of these people, Daniel is the one whose future I'm most optimistic about. He may not be making huge blockbusters anymore but he's clearly picking projects thoughtfully and trying a lot of new things.

I haven't been impressed by Emma in any non-Harry Potter thing I've seen her in. Then again, everyone in Perks of Being a Wallflower irritated me.
pandora04 22nd-Aug-2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
IAWTC especially after seeing him How to Succeed in Business. I don't find him attractive so I was really impressed by his ability to carry that show.
I haven't seen Perks though.
ava_adore0 22nd-Aug-2013 08:10 pm (UTC)
Dan's got a lot of potential, and seems really into improving himself and branching out.
Emma seems to be into doing whatever her HP background can get her. She;ll go well for a few years and make shit tonnes more money, but I don't think she'll have much of a shelf life.
milkradio 22nd-Aug-2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Perks of Being a Wallflower yet, but in all the other movies I've seen with Emma Watson so far, she hasn't really made a huge impression on me with her performances. She's not terrible or anything, but I often forget she was even in something afterwards. I did think she was funny in The Bling Ring though, lmao. She probably had lots of fun with that role. idk, I like her enough that I hope she manages to find things to challenge her because I think there was a pretty noticeable improvement in her acting even just over the last 2 or 3 HP movies and it would be a shame if she stuck to forgettable roles and then eventually lost momentum with her acting career.

I agree about DanRad though. I think he'll do well because he's at least trying lots of really different and unexpected things and he seems incredibly determined to improve and challenge himself. I'm excited to see how Horns is because I read the book and I would never have thought of him to play Ig.
cryim 22nd-Aug-2013 09:28 pm (UTC)
future oscar nominees tbh.
handsdowntoo 22nd-Aug-2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
Dan has the greatest potential on this list and I'm not even a fan. He's building a longterm career. Then, I actually think JHutch because he's not trying to be a leading man either. Everyone else will fizzle out trying to capitalize on their looks only.
chickenbuttegg 22nd-Aug-2013 11:45 pm (UTC)
yes! then again i haven't seen any of their other shows except all of dan's.
seersha 23rd-Aug-2013 09:33 am (UTC)
Completely agree. I'm cautiously optimistic about Daniel's career. I really think he can do well and maybe even rack up some awards down the track. Certainly if he keeps at it, stage acting awards await at the very least. I just want him to succeed because I think he totally deserves it -- he's really determined and hard working, talented and is taking risks and challenging himself, but best of all, he's just getting better and better.
logan_lerman 22nd-Aug-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
yas emma

dan should have gotten a better score but i hated Woman In Black. i'm excited for his newer projects tho
fluffybb 22nd-Aug-2013 07:57 pm (UTC)
Hoebag got a B...really? She can't act and people go to see “Snow White and the Huntsman” for Charlize Theron.
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