- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 2004

Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” was one of the most expensive flops of 2004. But it doesn’t take a big budget to make a loud thump at the box office:

Jude Law — The busy British actor isn’t done for the year. (He has a role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “The Aviator,” and opening weekend numbers for “Closer” in limited, phased release look promising.) But his track record so far isn’t pretty. He’s bombed as a romantic leading man (“Alfie”), art-movie sideman (“I Heart Huckabees”) and family action hero (“Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”). The lesson: Work less.

Ben Affleck — While not quite a 2003 (remember “Gigli”?), this year hasn’t been much kinder to Hollywood’s favorite punching bag. “Jersey Girl” never took off, and, more recently, “Surviving Christmas” saw nothing but coal in its stocking. At least his beloved Sox reversed the curse.

Viggo Mortensen — He went from a kingly role in one of history’s most successful movie franchises (“The Lord of the Rings”) to a forgotten cowboy in a Disney Western (“Hidalgo”) that failed to make its money back worldwide.

Nicole Kidman — Miss Overexposure 2003 picked her spots more conservatively this year and met with no more success. Her choices were edgy — “The Stepford Wives” — controversial — “Birth” — and profit-free.

Tom Hanks — “The Ladykillers” tanked, and “The Terminal” failed to meet expectations. Were it not for the late momentum of “The Polar Express,” 2004 would have been Mr. Hanks’ worst year since 1990, when he appeared in “Joe Versus the Volcano” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

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