The Star System

The Star System still exists, but is not the only way to make a film. Many recent movies have become hits without a single A-List name attached (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the recent Star Trek, Slum Dog Millionaire, The Hangover, Precious, etc.). 'Stars' or 'A-List" talent are often necessary for very large budget movies requiring 'pre-sells' (acquiring monies before the film is shot from domestic and international distributors).

Many studios are also waking up to the realization that movie stars can get a picture made, but be bad for business. Jeffrey Katsenberg, top executive for Disney and Dreamworks writes:
“Movie stars were bad for business. Unreasonable salaries coupled with giant participations comprise a win/win situation for the talent and a lose/lose situation for us. It results in us getting punished for failure and having no upside in success.”
One genre, the horror movie, can make money without stars because of a ready and eager audience. (6 of the TOP 20 Grossing Movies of 2009 were - Horror Movies).

Horror movies are divided into several categories (Period, Slasher, Torture, Terror-in-the-water, Anthology, Comedy, Remakes, etc.).  For a list of all US Domestic Theatrical Grosses in the category of SUPERNATURAL horror -  only  (and does not include Foreign distribution, television, DVD sales, etc.)

Link below for revenues generated by supernatual horror movies:  http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=supernaturalhorror.htm
Many horror films continue to make money from sequels (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Saw 1- through infinity, Nightmare on Elm Street, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, etc.). Ironically, although the horror genre generally does not use stars the films have launched the careers of actors who later had their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Usually the first week's domestic release of a horror movie lands as the 'Number One' movie at the box office, and then drops in rankings for the next several weeks, but continues to make money in DVD sales and rentals, International sales and world-wide television. There is an undeniable major core of horror movies fans that will see every and any horror movie released. Simply put - horror pictures make money!