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1 item from 2010

Can Mel Gibson still draw a crowd?

14 January 2010 2:00 PM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

A-list actors who endured negative public scrutiny

Admit it: You experienced a jolt upon seeing that first billboard for "Edge of Darkness" right after New Year's.

There was that name -- Mel Gibson -- and then the man himself, grim-set face and trenchcoated torso coming toward you in an advertisement for a major studio release. The pitch and the persona were familiar, but it still felt odd, like a good friend you had a falling-out with awhile back who suddenly reappears on your Facebook wall. How do you respond?

Warner Bros. and Gibson's agency, WME, are betting that audiences will respond with a cheery "Welcome back!" and solid opening-weekend attendance when "Darkness" opens Jan. 29. Gibson is returning to the big screen after a seven-year absence -- a century in movie-star years -- and studio marketing is aimed squarely at his old fan base. In TV and print ads, it's Gibson alone -- purposeful, »

- By Jay A. Fernandez

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