Why Did Brendan Fraser Just Swing Right Out Of Our Lives After The 90s?

Brendan Fraser seemed to be a rising star in the late 1990s, but for some reason that never came to be.

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With his 1994 hit Airheads we remember marveling in his comedic ability along side Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi.

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For a short period of time, Fraser became the most popular movie star in the world.

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His rise in the box office was stimulated by a surprising success of the 1997 Christmas release of George Of The Jungle. No one predicted the level of success Disney would have with this 90s flick. With a $55 million investment in the movie, it tripled its budget earning just shy of $175 million in the global box office.

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Why Did Brendan Fraser Just Swing Right Out Of Our Lives After The 90s?
Bustle

Critically, George Of The Jungle was as delight for the whole family that played on the repeat joke of George continually swinging into trees. But then again, its leading man could sell it.  

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Fraser proved that he had a kind of easy charm that made a movie star successful.

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And George Of The Jungle was just the beginning for Fraser.

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He showed that he was a versitle actor with his amazing performance in 1998 opposite Sir Ian McKellen in Gods & Monsters. He followed that by a charming performance in the romantic comedy Blast From The Past.

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This was when his first summer blockbuster and changed his entire career.

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The success of 1999’s The Mummy reboot was exactly the right mix between a horror story and an Indiana Jones-style adventure that we were all looking for.

The casting no doubt sold this franchise, with Fraser as Rick O’Connell, who was a classic leading man. He was convincing in the action, comedic with his wit and next to his leading lady, it was a really fun movie.

With his success on the big screen, Fraser’s name was linked with more prominent roles, but he didn’t take them.

Facing Flops

Instead he kept doing a mixed-fare of projects including Dudley Do-Right and a remake of Bedazzled.

Why Did Brendan Fraser Just Swing Right Out Of Our Lives After The 90s?
Nicki Swift

The peak of his career came with the three films he made next, which was also where the seeds of his commercial fall happened.

Monkeybone started to get Hollywood suspicious of Fraser’s box office appeal. As it was, the movie would have never gotten the greenlight if his name hadn’t been attached. No surprise that it tanked at the box office.

Why Did Brendan Fraser Just Swing Right Out Of Our Lives After The 90s?
Den of Geek

He then was involved in an attempt at the live-action take of Looney Tunes which ended up being a lack-luster performance.

Fraser’s silly screen demeanor was clearly not getting people to the ticket booths anymore.

Burying The Mummy

Whether you’re a fan of The Mummy Returns in 2001 or not, it was no doubt another huge hit for Fraser.

At this point he could compete with the likes of Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Nicolas Cage for big movie star roles, instead he opted for The Quiet American and Crash.

He had a minor pick-me-up at the box office with The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor with it creeping over the $100 million mark at the U.S. Box Office in 2008.

Killing a Comeback

He also had bigger projects like Journey To The Center Of The Earth and Inkheart.

With The Mummy project clearly dead, this was Fraser’s real chance at success with a new franchise. Unfortunately he held out signing on for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island that was scheduled to come out in 2012, out of loyalty to the first installment’s director, Eric Brevig, who was tied up finishing another project at the time.

Instead of waiting, the studio replaced both the director and filled Fraser’s role with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The film did fine without both of them, and there are expected sequels to follow.

While Fraser hasn’t been out of work, instead of showing up in big pictures like we would have expected in the 90s, he is taking on regular roles in TV shows such as The Affair, Trust and Texas Rising.

In December 2016, Fraser appeared on AOL’s Build Series to discuss his role on Season 3 of The Affair. His appearance went viral for all the wrong reasons.

Viewers pointed out how sad the actor looked when discussing the series and his career.

Fans Miss Him

After the airing of the “Sad Brendan Fraser” video, it started a petition to trying and get him considered for the next Netflix, HBO or Showtime roles.

Some believe that the actor will land on his feet and give us the comeback story we have all be hoping for.

It may be hard not to wonder if we let Fraser’s talents go to waste. If we had followed the actor on the gambles he took, maybe it wouldn’t be Tom Cruise we see headlining the new Mummy and Fraser would be closer to the summer blockbusters than just sitting in the theater.

What do you think of Brendan Fraser? Share with us in the comments.

Inspiration: Den of Geek / Nicki Swift

Emma C
Freelance Writer