Tinseltown, meet the heartland. According to a nationwide Gallup poll commissioned by Entertainment Weekly, 91% of Americans have never heard of hotter-than-hot director Quentin Tarantino, whose upcoming black-comic Pulp Fiction is the talk of Hollywood. (Of those few who say they have heard of Tarantino, 10% believe he’s a soccer player.) Think America loves Tom Hanks because he makes us laugh? Think again: His last three films were among moviegoers’ most mentioned weepies. Sure, you can bank on some things-the nation’s favorite actress has held the title for four years now-but from popcorn consumption to comedians’ careers, tastes keep changing, as this latest accounting shows.
Who is your favorite actress working today? 1. Julia Roberts
2. Meg Ryan
3. Meryl Streep/Susan Sarandon/Michelle Pfeiffer
The hearts of 35- to 44-year-olds are with Ryan. Among men, Pfeiffer takes second place.
Who is your favorite actor working today? 1. Mel Gibson
2. Tom Hanks
3. Harrison Ford
4. Kevin Costner
5. Clint Eastwood/Arnold Schwarzenegger
Women pick Hanks, while men salute Ford, but Gibson’s across-the-board appeal prevails-and all three beat last year’s leader, Eastwood.
Do you think the career of any of the following actors is in decline?
Billy Crystal 39%
Macaulay Culkin 36%
Julia Roberts 19%
Kevin Costner 14%
The lessons here? Don’t make sequels to box office smashes, and avoid puberty at all costs.
Do you plan to see Tom Cruise in Interview With the Vampire?
Probably not/definitely not 58%
Bad news for Cruise? Not really: 56% of moviegoers under 24-and almost two thirds of frequent moviegoers-say they won’t miss it.
Which of the following movies are you most excited about seeing?
Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause 36%
Star Trek: Generations 26%
1995’s Mission: Impossible 15%
1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie 8%
Do you think Pierce Brosnan is a good choice to play James Bond?
Encouraging results for the next 007—but only among those who have heard of him. The bad news: 43% said, ”Remington who?”
Have you ever sneaked in to see a movie without paying?
Multiplex-going Easterners are slipperiest (26%), and yes, Southerners lead in decorum (only 13% sneak).
In the past year, what movies made you cry?
1. Forrest Gump
2. The Lion King
3. Schindler’s List/Philadelphia
5. Sleepless in Seattle/My Life
Do movies move everyone to tears? No way: 68% of men and 41% of women kept their eyes dry all year.
Do you agree with the following? ”I’d go to the movies more often if…
”they didn’t cost so much.” 78%
”there were more interesting and enjoyable movies.” 71%
”there were less explicit sex.” 49%
”there were less violence.” 49%
Compared with one year ago, how much popcorn are you buying when you go to the movies?
More popcorn 5%
About the same amount 45%
Less popcorn 26%
Never did buy popcorn 13%
Last April’s reports that most movie popcorn is high in saturated fat reached 75% of Americans; 14% say they’ve stopped buying the stuff.
From a telephone survey of 607 Americans ages 15 to 60 conducted for Entertainment Weekly July 29-31 by the Gallup Organization. Sampling error is 4.4%.