Superman Returns (2006)
The casualty: actor Brandon Routh
In 2006, Brandon Routh was on top of the world. Only 27 years old at the time, the young actor had appeared on various television programs, including Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, and One Life to Live. But when he won the coveted role of Clark Kent in director Bryan Singer's massive Man of Steel reboot, Superman Returns, Routh was poised to become one of Hollywood's hottest new faces. Until comic book die-hards saw the film.
To be fair, Superman Returns wasn't a failure; Singer's superhero blockbuster earned $391 million worldwide on a $209 million budget, and Routh even snagged a Best Actor prize at the Saturn Awards. Yet, in the eyes of DC Comics fanatics, his wooden, charisma-free turn as Superman was a non-factor in a largely miscast and ultimately unsatisfying production.
The stigma of being unable to capitalize on such a golden opportunity has since prevented Routh from landing any notable, bigger-sized roles in any major releases. Consider this: His only other leading roles were in last year's horrendous horror-comedy Dylan Dog: Dead of Night and the forgettably generic, and little seen, sports drama Crooked Arrows. Somewhere, Routh is probably praying that Henry Cavill, the star of next year's second Superman reboot, Man of Steel, feels his pain.