#2. RetrofameA-list movie stars, especially those with names sounding a lot like "Will Smith", virtually ensure a profitable opening weekend. That celebrity selling power works retroactively, too. When an actor hits the top tier, all those producers from the pre-fame days smell opportunity.
Tom Hanks in Mazes & Monsters
In this 1982 made-for-TV movie, a young Hanks demonstrated how thinly veiled Dungeons & Dragons proxies were turning America's children into suicidal sociopaths.
The film's message got through--kids everywhere soon abandoned fantasy role-playing and turned their full attention to banging prostitutes for health power-ups. Hanks went on to become one of the biggest stars on the planet. A slick re-design of the DVD suddenly makes the film look like a bargain bin Da Vinci Code ...
In another neat trick, Hanks' headshot is from about 15 years after the film was made. The audience thinks they're getting a world-famous actor between Oscar nods--instead it's just a guy fresh off his first guest spot on Love Boat.
Gretchen Mol in Rounders
She was never A-list, but Gretchen Mol's 1998 status as "pretty young thing" scored her a spot on the poster with fellow up-and-comers Damon and Norton:
Retrofame works both ways. Mol is still working, but as Matt and Ed rocketed to mega-stardom, Gretchen made the stupid decision to become a female actress over the age of 30. You would think she didn't like being famous or something.
We're surprised they didn't actually edit her out of the film.
Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun
When released, Warwick Davis (of Willow and "third Ewok from the left" fame) was the closest thing Leprechaun had to an actual celebrity. The film was a surprise hit, though, and its legacy includes cinematic gems such as Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood (a sequel to the continuity reboot Leprechaun in the Hood, a film many consider to be the Batman Begins of the franchise.)
Less than a year later, their token eye candy actress Jennifer Aniston made good and landed a network sitcom. The show was kind of a hit, and by the final season of Friends, Aniston was earning the entire budget of Leprechaun per episode. On the new DVD cover, she finally got co-billing with the midget in scare makeup and tights.