By Phil Contrino
Shia LaBeouf's last two films have each crossed the $300 million mark domestically. To put that into perspective, most actors don't star in so much as a $100 million grossing film during their entire careers.
Then again, the argument can certainly be made that with well-known properties such as Transformers and especially Indiana Jones, even Pauly Shore could rake in big bucks at the box office.
Of course, LaBeouf may not need any established properties to bring people to the theatre at this point in his career. He may have already built a solid name for himself.
Even from a young age, LaBeouf was able to take the popularity of one property and translate it into success on his own terms. The actor was only 16 when Holes was released in 2003 and at the time he had gained stardom from the television show Even Stevens. Yet while some television stars have difficulty bringing their audiences with them to the world of film (see Ricky Gervais and Rainn Wilson most recently) LaBeouf didn't stumble during the transition. Holes was a sleeper hit that spring and it went on to gross $67.4 million domestically.
After delivering supporting turns in two successful sci-fi flicks, I, Robot and Constantine, LaBeouf switched gears a little and did three smaller films— The Greatest Game Ever Played, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and Bobby —which won him positive reviews but little financial success.
Then, with Distrubia, LaBeouf broke into true leading man territory after the thriller grossed $80.2 million domestically.
Enter Tranformers and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Ka-ching.
Now with Eagle Eye, which hits theatres this Friday, LaBeouf will try to further cement his standing among today's most reliable leading actors.
"I think he's proven himself with past work," said Joel Cohen, Executive Vice President & General Manager for Movietickets.com. "He's certainly popular among Young Hollywood and he's got a strong following through the different genres that he has participated in. I think he's working on his role outside of the franchises."
Dale Hurst, Director of Marketing for Carmike Cinemas, also believes that LaBeouf has a following outside of established properties.
"What makes a movie successful is the audience being able to identify with the main character, and I think with his personality he's easy to identify with," said Hurst.