Do Any Of The Summer Breakouts Actually Breakout?

Even Hitflix is doing the dreaded
“BREAKOUT STARS OF 2012” List

We see it every spring. Entertainment Weekly does it, People Magazine does it, Entertainment Tonight does it, now even “cooler” sites do it like Hitflix and Television Without Pity, they all do the “who will be the breakout stars of summer” list. You know, where the publication takes the least known stars of the movies they think will be big or new faces on summer TV shows they think will be the next American Idol or Survivor (both were summer shows their first year) and then tell us to “watch out for this fresh face.” The thing is, when were they right? In 2007 we were all supposed to keep our eye on Sarah Roemer. What? You don’t remember who Sarah Roemer is? She was the star of Disturbia, then of Fired Up! two years later and now she is one of those actresses that gets semi-recurring roles on shows like The Event and Hawaii Five-O. Not quite a breakout star. But she isn’t the exception, Sarah Roemer is the rule. Here are some of the other would be breakouts of the recent past:

  • Quentin ‘Rampage’ Jackson was supposed to be the Mr. T of this generation when the MMA champion took on the role of BA Baracus in the A-Team in 2010. When that didn’t work he went back to the MMA and was never the same fighter again either.
What were the odds that a Victoria Secrets model
wasn’t going to be a great actress?
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took over as the eye candy for Michael Bay’s Transformers last summer and was supposed to become the universally accepted hottest woman and actress in the world because of it – then we all saw her act.
  • Lynn Collins played Wolverines wife in X-Men Origins whose death spurs Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to become the hero he was born to be. We didn’t see her again until John Carter (and since no one saw John Carter I guess we haven’t really seen her again).
  • Emmanuel Chriqui has been breaking out for years. With Entourage and 2008’s You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and last year she was doing voice work on the Thundercats.
I saw it coming – Didn’t you?
It’s not the publications fault really. People want to see the list, people want to say they knew person x would be a star. But the truth is we have no idea who is going to breakout and why. How many actresses have had TV movies turn them into super stars (Angelina Jolie did, but I knew that was coming when I saw her in Hackers years before)? Or have a smaller role in the most estrogen laden film of the 20th century launch them to becoming the star of the decade (Julia Roberts did, but I saw that coming when I saw her in Mystic Pizza)? Or have the opportunity to play a two bit thief who is charming and shirtless in what was barely more than a cameo make them the sexiest man alive (Brad Pitt did, but all 15 or 20 people who saw Cutting Class saw that coming from a mile away). Who knows where the next breakout will come from? I don’t, but when it happens I will tell anyone who listens that I saw it coming. 
By the way, I don’t think my wife would forgive me if I mentioned Brad Pitt and didn’t show a clip. So here he is in Thelma and Louise (I’m straight, but man he sure was dreamy):