He has gone from 80's teen icon, to Comic actor, to serious big budget star, and back down to nothing more than a fading icon of cinema. What happened to Nicolas Cage?
Peggy Sue Got Married
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High
From Bottom to top.
He started out in 1982, in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, then Valley girl, and then finally Peggy Sue Got Married. It was a good start for a young, unknown actor. Enough to at least get him the roll that made him a real star.
Raising Arizona, Moonstruck, and Vampire's Kiss basically put him on the map as a comedic actor. But even then he was still on the level of Jason Patrick or Edward Burns. Just right on the edge of being something. After Arizona it would be another 3-4 years before his real career actually started to take off. FireBirds with Tommy Lee Jones was the beginning of his long road up from the floor of Hollywood.
1990 Wild at Heart
From Bottom to top.
After FireBirds it was one minor hit after the other. Honeymoon in Vegas was a particularly big hit for him. Not only did it make around ten million dollars on a 25 million dollar budget, but it was good with critics, and viewers came back to it again and again over the years. This was the movie where mainstream viewers started to realize who this actor was. Guarding Tess would be another medium sized hit for Cage. Again it was not that it was a big movie box office wise, just a movie that showed viewers more of who he was. By this time he was pretty well known in the industry. After Tess, he was in four other little hits before his big box-office movie debut.
Kiss of Death, Trapped in Paradise, It could happen to you, and Leaving Las Vegas all helped show big movie execs that he could do it all. Comedy( trapped in Paradise), Drama/action ( Kiss of Death and Leaving Las Vegas) and even a romantic genre in It could Happen to You. This all helped give him the call for The Rock! Starring along side some of Hollywoods greatest actors. Ed Harris and even Sean Connery. That was the movie that changed his life!
As Mild Mannered Chemical weapons specialist Stanley Goodspeed, Nic Cage was brought on to save San Fransico from Ex-Military scum who wanted to bring justice to forgotten American soldiers and get rich quick. Along with Sir Sean Connery, who played an ex-spy who once resided at Alcatraz as a prisoner, take down the terrorist to save the day and totally blow up the deserted Alcatraz island.
Was Nicolas Cage meant to be an action star?
This huge hit, for 90's standards, sent Cage's career skyrocketing!
Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider
1997 Con Air
Starting from bottom to top he was in 9-10 big movies! Snake eyes was sort of a miss, along with 8mm, Bringing out the Dead, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Weather Man. But in between he was gold, untouchable! Those misses were not forgotten though. He was not the bankable start that Hollywood thought he was. Gone in Sixty Seconds and later on Ghost Rider would help him save face , but even that could only last so long.
"Next" slammed into Cage's career like a ton of bricks. It was panned by critics, and no one seemed to care to see it in theaters. I, per usual, really enjoyed it, but I am only one man. With a budget of 70 million dollars and a marketing budget that brough that up even higher, Next was only able to bring in around 76 million dollars worldwide.
Then Cage released a un-needed sequel to National Treasure. It did well, but did nothing to help his career slide out. Then came his next bomb! Bangkok Dangerous was filmed on a 45 million dollar budget, but was unable to cross 43 million dollars world wide. His next film, "Knowing", by new film studio Summit Entertainment was able to keep the naysayers at bay, but even that did not last long. He was then hit with three nasty little movies all at once. G-force, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, and Astro boy. Two of these movies were just Cartoons that did not really matter to his career, but Bad Lieutenant was just another Cage size disasters.
Since this last spree of failure by Cage he has managed to yet again put out a few decent movies. Sorcerer's Apprentice ( based on the Mickey mouse sequence in Fantasia), Ghost Rider 2, and Season of the Witch have been able to make him some money. But the movies inbetween have managed to be horrendous for the companies that have made them, movie goers, and his career.
I would say that most of his bad movies will or should some day be seen as almost cult like films. Especially things like Drive Angry, Next, and Snake Eyes. But the future does not help his career now. Coming up he has a sequel to Kick-Ass in a supporting role, and National Treasure 3 to milk some more.
It seems to me that The Rock made his career what it is today, but it also kind of destroyed the career that he had before it. He may or may not have become the big star that he is today. What we do know, is that before he was in The Rock he was pushing out small hit after small hit after hit. Now he is in a struggle to constantly live up to his last movie and make a lot of money. Even as he ages, loses more hair, and gets less interesting and zany in every movie that we see him in. I would say that it can only go down from here for Cage, but that would be false. Bruce Willis started out as a Comedic actor as well, and his career never ends. Die Hard 5 is coming, he is in Expendables 2, and he is even in the upcoming movie of Comic Con, Looper. But in Cage's case I do not think it will be easy.
What do you all think?