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10 Great Movies That Became Successful Despite A Lack Of Star Power, According To Reddit

Prey has become one of the biggest success stories of the year so far, as the Predator prequel has a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than the original and it has quickly become Hulu’s biggest movie ever. But what makes that an even bigger achievement is that the film managed all of that without a single big name attached. It’s a rare feat for a movie to become so successful without a bankable star, and only a couple of films achieve it every year.

Redditors have debated which movies they think were most successful despite their lack of star power, whether they became cult classics or were instant hits. Between a couple of teen comedies, a $30,000 black and white movie, and an action flick where the cars do the talking, these made the most out of their unknown casts.

American Pie (1999)

American Pie Stifler Seann William Scott

American Pie was like lightning in a bottle, and it’s the ultimate raunchy teen comedy of the late 90s and early 2000s. It was a huge trend at the time, and they all made hundreds of millions, but American Pie was the most successful, and that’s an even bigger achievement considering it had the least amount of star power too.
TempleToons notes, “Most of the cast of American Pie was relatively unknown when it came out in 1999.” Even after the movie’s release, the supporting cast became bigger movie stars than the lead actors. Sean William Scott starred in four major movies between the 1999 release and its sequel, and Eugene Levy became a fan favorite and is now having a second wave of success with the TV series Schitt’s Creek.

The Witch (2016)

The Witch Anya Taylor-Joy

Too_much_mustrd4 points out The Witch as being a huge success despite its lack of star power. After just three films, director Robert Eggers has quickly become an auteur and audiences know what to expect from him. His movies are generally jaw-droppingly beautiful with dark themes and some kind of psychological element. And while that’s the case with the newly released The Northman, which got Eggers has best reviews yet, the movie bombed at the box office.
However, the filmmaker’s debut movie, The Witch, was the exact opposite. The movie has a similarly dark tone and is one of the best films about witchcraft, and it was a huge hit at the box office, making $40 million, which is 10 times its budget. And it did so without any star power whatsoever. The movie stars Anya Taylor-Joy, who might be a bankable actor now, but that wasn’t the case six years ago, and the movie even help boost the actor’s profile.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

The wedding in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

AgentUpright recalls the unstoppable force that was My Big Fat Greek Wedding when it was first released. The Redditor comments, “Tom Hanks produced it, as I recall, but it was a runaway success despite the mostly lesser-known cast (Joey Fatone notwithstanding.)” The movie had an all but unknown cast, and it somehow became a huge phenomenon, making more than what some blockbuster superhero movies make today.
The 2002 release is one of the highest-grossing independent movies of all time, making a huge $368 million worldwide, and as it had a production cost of a tiny $5 million, it made over 70 times its budget, which is almost unheard of. If the film made as little as $30 million, that would still have been considered a huge success, and an extra $330 million is a huge bonus.

Avatar (2009)

Neytiri in the Pandora jungle in Avatar

Lostpatrol mentions Avatar, commenting, “Sam Worthington and Zoey Saldana were complete unknowns and Sigourney Weaver was doing voice work at the time.” Based on box office success, Avatar is the best example bar none. Avatar is the highest-grossing movie of all time and that’s thanks entirely to the high concept, the advanced digital effects, and the ahead-of-its-time 3D.
However, the movie was originally supposed to be led by a movie star, as director James Cameron wanted Matt Damon to play Jake Sully. According to Collider, Damon was even offered 10% of the gross profit, which would have been over $250 million, but he turned it down, and it’s a decision that he’s probably been kicking himself over ever since. But what’s interesting is that after Damon turned it down, the studio went in a completely opposite direction and cast an unknown.

The Fast And The Furious (2001)

The Fast and the Furious movie

Umbert360 recalls the success of that starless 2001 movie that started a billion-dollar, ten-movie-plus franchise. The Fast and the Furious had a huge ensemble cast and one that was impressively diverse at the time, but they were almost all unknowns. While the franchise went on to become all about the friendship between Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel,) nobody paid to see The Fast and the Furious for Walker and Diesel.

Walker had been in a couple of box office bombs beforehand, and though Diesel had some modest success with voicing The Iron Giant and starring in Pitch Black, the real stars of the movie were the souped-up cars. The 2001 film led a whole 2000s zeitgeist that bled into video games and the streets, as everyone who saw the movie wanted to be a street racer, and because of that, the 2001 movie became an instant classic.

Risky Business (1983)

Tom Cruise on a coffee table in Risky Business

Jackieirish points to what must have been impossible to market, Risky Business. The Redditor notes, “Risky Business had no bankable star at the time of release, but it was a huge hit and launched Tom Cruise.” Not only was there no discernable star, but the film is all about how a teenager inadvertently becomes a pimp, and it must have been the Warner Bros. marketing team’s nightmare.

But against all odds, it was a huge hit. With a box office gross of $63 million, that doesn’t sound like much by today’s standards, but it’d be a lot more when adjusted for inflation, and it’s especially impressive that the lead actor of the movie was unknown and 20 years old at the time. Risky Business made 10 times its budget, and it’s the first example of Cruise’s charisma and how audiences will show up in droves to see him on the big screen.

Clerks (1994)

Jay and Silent Bob smoke in Clerks

Jjohns0203 compliments the vulgar, profanity-filled low-budget comedy Clerks for its success despite its lack of star power. The Redditor notes, “Clerks was filmed with a really low budget with no name actors and developed a cult following and became very profitable”. Only a few movies can call a $3.2 million box office gross a success, but with a microscopic budget of less than $30,000, Clerks’ box office performance was phenomenal.

The film made a hundred times its budget, and that’s all despite being shot on 16mm black-and-white film stock, having extremely choppy editing, and, of course, absolutely no star power. The film was not only a box office success relative to its budget, but it has become a huge cult hit, the legacy sequel Clerks 2 was released in 2006, and the callback-filled trailer for Clerks 3 was just recently released.

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)

Jobu Tupaki in a white room in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Medical-Pace-8099 refers to a very recent movie that did unexpectedly well at the box office, Everything Everywhere All at Once. The movie stars Ke Huy Quan, who played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies, but has been in almost nothing else in the 37 years since. It also stars Stephanie Hsu, who has never had a prominent role before.

However, the film is led by Michelle Yeoh, and while she isn’t the actor anybody would expect to lead a complex and abstract movie to a box office gross of $100 million, she was a Bond girl in Tomorrow Never Dies and starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the most prolific actors working today. But Everything Everywhere was almost going to have a lot more star power, as Daniel Radcliffe was almost cast in an unknown role.

Superbad (2007)

Michael Cera in Superbad Greg Mottola’s ‘Superbad’

Corpsefire77 believes Superbad was a huge success without any star power, commenting, “Never heard of any of those actors, now they’re all famous. Mostly Jonah Hill, but Michael Cera too to a lesser extent.” The movie isn’t entirely absent of big names in its cast, as it does feature Bill Hader and Seth Rogen. Hader was enjoying a successful run on Saturday Night Live at the time, and Rogen’s profile was ever growing due to cropping up in seemingly every single Judd Apatow-produced or directed movie.

However, those actors are in relatively small roles, and the three main actors were almost completely unknown at the time. Some viewers might have recognized Cera from playing George Michael on Arrested Development, but other than that, the cast was full of seemingly extremely talented teenagers who came out of nowhere. But one thing’s for sure, the movie’s success skyrocketed them to stardom.

Mad Max (1979)

Joks_away points out the 1979 movie as one of the biggest ever successes despite not having any big name actor behind it. Though Mel Gibson is a huge movie star and is known for fronting the Lethal Weapon series and being the face of countless action thrillers, that wasn’t the case in 1979. The then unknown actor starred in Mad Max, a micro-budget movie about a dystopian future set in the Australian desert.

The movie unexpectedly made $100 million dollars, and it started a huge franchise too. Since then, the series has gone from win to win, but it’s a wonder if Mad Max: Fury Road had been as much of a success if it didn’t see Tom Hardy in the lead role.
NEXT: The 10 Best Movies Set In Australia, According To Ranker

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Fast & Furious 11 Needs Hobbs Vs. Dom (To End The Rock & Vin Diesel’s Feud)


Fast and Furious 11 needs to feature an epic fight between The Rock and Vin Diesel to resolve the real-life feud and bring closure to their characters’ relationship. The clash between Dom and Hobbs in Fast Five was a game-changer, and revisiting that epic confrontation in Fast 11 would elevate the action and add nostalgia. A showdown between Dom and Hobbs in Fast 11 could serve as a decisive moment of reconciliation, reaffirming the underlying themes of family and unity in the franchise.

Now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has returned to the Fast Saga, Fast and Furious 11 needs to include an epic fight between Johnson and Vin Diesel. In the high-octane world of the Fast and Furious franchise, the thrill of fast cars and heart-stopping action has always been amplified by the magnetic on-screen chemistry between its stars. However, a real-life feud between The Rock and Vin Diesel has been brewing since 2016. Director Louis Leterrier achieved the impossible by bringing The Rock back into the fold. Now, he must find a way to reunite Luke Hobbs and Dominic Toretto on-screen.

Ever since Fate of the Furious, the void left by The Rock’s absence has grown more conspicuous. The actor’s feud with Vin Diesel has cast a shadow over the franchise, making it increasingly difficult for the writers and directors to craft a cohesive narrative. As Fast Saga fans await the next installment, all eyes are on Leterrier to weave a compelling story that not only showcases jaw-dropping action but also offers a chance for Hobbs and Dom to partake in an epic showdown.

Hobbs & Dom Fighting In Fast & Furious 11 Would Bring Their Arc Full Circle
Vin Diesel's Dom confronts Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs in Fast Five

Fast X and Fast and Furious 11 act as sequels to Fast Five in many ways, so it makes perfect sense for the upcoming installment to build on the fight scene between Dom and Hobbs from Fast Five. The clash between the two powerhouse characters left an indelible mark on fans. Revisiting that epic confrontation could elevate the adrenaline-fueled action and add a layer of nostalgia to Fast and Furious 11. Now that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has had a change of heart and returned to the Fast Saga, the anticipation for a rematch between his and Vin Diesel’s characters has reached a fever pitch.

Dom and Hobbs’ showdown in Fast Five was a game-changer for the franchise, propelling it to new heights with its intensity and raw energy. Given the unresolved tension between the two stars in real life, a meticulously crafted fight scene in Fast 11 has the potential to invigorate the climax of the series and provide a cathartic experience for the actors and fans alike. As Fast 11 may be the final chapter in the Fast and Furious universe, all eyes are on this anticipated clash. Hopefully, a brotherly fight will be the defining moment that brings harmony back to the Fast Saga family.

The Rock & Vin Diesel Can Put Their Feud To Rest On Screen
Hobbs holding on to Dom in Fast and Furious 5

Vin Diesel and The Rock’s personal history adds a layer of complexity to any potential fight between their characters in Fast and Furious 11. Given their real-life feud, it’s unlikely either actor would be portrayed as the clear winner or loser. Moreover, from a storytelling perspective, it would be counterproductive to have Dom excessively harm or kill Hobbs or vice versa. However, as the series approaches its potential end, a showdown between Dom and Hobbs could serve as a decisive moment of reconciliation. After all, throughout the Fast and Furious films, audiences have witnessed a recurring pattern of men engaging in physical conflicts before eventually forming unbreakable bonds.

For instance, Fast and Furious sees Dom and Brian’s tumultuous relationship evolve into a deep brotherly connection after a series of knock-down, drag-out fights. This same sort of understanding between Dom and Hobbs would reaffirm the underlying themes of reconciliation and family that have contributed to the franchise’s enduring popularity. By embracing the notion that they are, in a sense, brothers, Dom and Hobbs could mend their on-screen relationship and deliver a broader message of unity. This would ultimately give fans a satisfying conclusion to their relationship in Fast and Furious 11.

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Vin Diesel Posts Paul Walker Tribute On 10th Anniversary Of His Death


Vin Diesel shares a touching tribute to Paul Walker 10 years after the actor’s tragic death on November 30, 2013. Diesel expresses that “more smiles manage to break through the tears” as years pass because he knows his bond with Walker will be stronger than ever when they eventually reunite. Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, remains alive in the world of Fast and Furious, and Diesel has previously teased that the franchise won’t end without a proper farewell to Brian and Walker.

Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel takes to social media to share a touching tribute to Paul Walker, 10 years after the actor’s death. First released in 2001, the debut installment in the long-running Fast and Furious franchise introduces Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Walker as Brian O’Connor. Both characters would return for a number of sequels, but Walker tragically passed away on November 30, 2013, during the production of Furious 7.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of Walker’s passing, Diesel has shared a touching tribute post on Instagram to honor his late Fast and Furious costar. Check out the actor’s emotional post below:

Accompanying an image of Walker with one of his daughters, Diesel reminisces about an important lesson learned from the late actor and how his legacy still lives on today. Diesel’s full caption is included below:

I was listening to a song this morning…‘That Lucky Old Sun’… thought of you, racing around Heaven all day. Hahaha…
The family of the Mourning, feels like it has grown since a decade ago… feel’s like that experience of losing someone is far too common today. Leaving more and more of us in search for meaning, trying to make sense of this complex existence…
Oh, I have finally understood what you use to do with the phone, “phone Fasting”… you had the insight to turn off your phone for long stretches of time. I started this year to do just that. You used to say, Vin and I can go years without talking, and our brotherhood will always be stronger than we left it, the ones who truly love you will always be there.
Amen to that.
This is one of my favorite images ever taken… You knew how proud I was when my daughter, the Alpha Angel, your niece would play the piano… well last night she was playing Moonlight Sonata… it took me back to the night before she was born. Me and you were working late… you were telling me that the best moment in life would be witnessing my child being born. That priceless smile you had when I told you the next day that I had cut the umbilical cord…
The next song she started playing on the piano is by an artist you would have loved, named Billie Eilish, ‘What was I made for’… when she started to play, the other angels all came and joined her at the piano and they started singing… wow…emotions… angels, I know you were listening.
After ten years… I know these days of beautiful remembrance will be filled with tears. But as time rolls on, with each year that passes… more smiles manage to break through the tears. Cause I know, when I see you again… our brotherhood will be stronger than we left it.
Miss you.

Will Brian Be Seen Again In Fast & Furious?
Furious 7 Reveals How Paul Walker’s Character Can Return
CGI Paul Walker in Furious 7.

Walker’s death in November 2013 came with a great deal of sadness, but it also created problems for the Furious 7 production, which was about halfway done. It was ultimately decided that Walker’s remaining scenes would be completed with a digital recreation of the actor, with his two brothers, Cody and Caleb Walker, serving as body doubles. Although Walker may have passed away, Brian remains alive and well within the world of the films, though he has not been seen in the flesh since Furious 7’s emotional ending.

The closet audiences have come to seeing Brian again (outside of the flashbacks featured in Fast X) is at the end of F9: The Fast Saga, when the character’s iconic Nissan Skyline pulls up at Dom’s house. This summer’s Fast X supposedly sets up the conclusion of the franchise in an 11th and potentially 12th installment (in addition to the announced Dwayne Johnson Luke Hobbs spinoff movie), and it’s very likely that the final movie will see Brian return in some capacity.

Diesel has also essentially teased as much, telling Total Film (via GamesRadar) earlier this year: “I couldn’t imagine this saga ending without truly saying goodbye to Brian O’Conner.” It’s unclear if this will mean a substantial digital recreation of the actor for extended portions of the film or a quick cameo at the very end, but it seems like audiences haven’t seen the last of Brian just yet. Even in death, Walker remains a key pillar of Fast and Furious, and it’s fitting that the final film will feature another heartfelt goodbye to further honor the late actor.

Source: Vin Diesel/ Instagram

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster

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All 4 Fast & Furious Heroes Who Stayed Dead (& Which One Is Most Likely To Return)


Fast & Furious franchise is known for bringing back dead characters, but there are a few heroes who have remained dead. Jack Toretto, Dom’s father, died in a racing accident and his death should not be undone in the franchise. Jesse, a member of Dom’s crew, was killed in a drive-by shooting, while Vince was killed during an ambush. Elena, Dom’s love interest, was killed by the villain Cipher.

The Fast & Furious franchise has brought many characters back from the dead, but a handful of its heroes have remained killed off after their demise. The Fast Saga has taken its characters on a wild ride from street racing to the most outlandish adventures possible. The running theme of the Fast & Furious franchise has long been family, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) building quite a large family indeed over the course of the Fast Saga’s run.

On top of its embrace of ridiculous, superhuman feats as a staple of its action scenes, the Fast & Furious movies are also well known for bringing back seemingly dead characters for more missions. The returns of Sung Kang’s Han in F9 and Gal Gadot’s Gisele Yashar in Fast X would be especially noteworthy in emphasizing the notion that no Fast & Furious death is irreversible. However, that is not entirely true, as there have been a few Fast & Furious heroes who have died and never come back.

RELATED: 10 Fast & Furious Characters Who Must Return In New Hobbs Spinoff

4 Jack Toretto
An image of Jack Toretto driving a car in F9

Jack Toretto (J.D. Pardo) is the father of Dom, Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Jakob Toretto (John Cena), and is first seen in a flashback to 1989 in F9. Jack is a highly skilled race car driver who instilled that talent in his children, with Dom and Jakob being part of his racing pit crew. However, Jack’s racing career took a tragic turn when his car malfunctioned and crashed, killing him. Dom later beat his father’s racing opponent, Kenny Linder (Jim Parrack), almost to death with a wrench, believing him responsible for his father’s demise.

This tragedy also led to Dom and Jakob falling out, with Dom later coming to believe that Jakob set up their father’s death since he was the last one to work on his car. However, Jack was intentionally attempting to throw the race in order to get his family out of debt. He had asked Jakob to help tinker with his car so that it would fail, with Jack’s death being unintentional on both their parts. While his return has been theorized by fans, of all the characters killed off in Fast & Furious, Jack Toretto’s death should never be retconned.

3 Jesse
Jesse in The Fast and the Furious pic

One of the early members of Dom’s family in the original The Fast and the Furious, Jesse (Chad Lindberg) was the brains of Dom’s crew in his enterprise of stealing DVD players. Jesse went on the run after losing a street race to Dom’s rival, Johnny Tran (Rick Yune), having bet his MK3 Volkswagen Jetta in the race. Jesse was later killed outside of Dom’s house when Johnny Tran and his associate Lance Nguyen (Reggie Lee) arrived and performed a drive-by shooting. Dom and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) then chased down Johnny Tran and Lance Nguyen to avenge their fallen friend.

2 Vince
fast and furious 5 vince

Vince (Matt Schulze) was another member of Dom’s crew in The Fast & the Furious, and he was badly injured during a truck heist in that first movie. After his recovery, Vince fled to Rio de Janeiro where he later reunited with Dom and family in Fast Five. Despite Vince having settled down with a wife and a baby son, he agreed to join Dom’s daring heist of Rio’s most feared crime boss Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). Unfortunately, Vince was killed during an ambush by Reyes’s team. After successfully pulling off the heist, Dom left Vince’s intended share of the money with his wife and son.

1 Elena
Elena Neves walks with her gun drawn by a car

Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) worked alongside Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in apprehending Dom and his crew in Fast Five. She and Dom gradually developed feelings for each other, however, and departed for Spain with Dom at the end of the movie. After Dom learned that his wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) was still alive despite her apparent death in Fast & Furious, Dom and Elena had an amicable split, only for it to later be revealed that Elena is the mother of Dom’s son in The Fate of the Furious.

RELATED: How (& Where) To Watch The Fast & Furious Movies In Order By Release Date & Chronologically

After Elena was killed by the villainous Cipher (Charlize Theron), Dom and Letty raised the boy together, with the two naming him Brian after Brian O’Conner. Meanwhile, Dom later met Elena’s sister Isabel (Daniela Melchior), who joined Dom’s crew in Fast X. While Elena remains deceased as of Fast X, the arrival of her sister Isabel and Fast & Furious’s habit of not truly killing off characters makes her the most likely thought-to-be-dead hero to potentially return as the franchise speeds towards its finale.

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