Originally Posted by Electrix
Not sure why people are comparing how popular the cast are. People don't see movies for actors anymore, unless it's some character driven Oscar fare.
Totally agree with that. What mostly sells a big event movie these days is the movie itself, the brand name and maybe the specific characters, rather than who is in it. Not to say that recognisable faces don't contribute to the success, but it's far from the biggest factor.
When people talk about "star power" these days, to me it seems more about how an actor is perceived by the industry itself, rather than their actual ability to draw the audiences. And yeah it can be a very transient, fickle thing which depends a lot on the hype and doing the right movies at the right time. Look at Ryan Gosling - he's been around for a few years not but it's only recently that he's become this big thing. With James McAvoy, I don't think he's done a role or a movie that would "make" him yet in the same way.