Hollywood's rapidly ageing leading men could finally be in for a quieter life as the answer to every movie-mogul's prayer arrives in the shape of a handsome vampire.
Johnny, Brad and George have had a long and richly rewarding run at the box office.
But the holy trinity of Hollywood leading men is really beginning to show its age (Brad Pitt turns 46 on December 18; Johnny Depp is already 46; and George Clooney 48).
The major studios are now looking to Robert Pattinson, currently putting a bite into the box office with the latest movie from the Twilight vampire saga, to lead the next generation of bankable heart-throbs.
The 23-year-old English star of New Moon is having a dramatic effect on young women and movie executives alike. Pattinson is being talked up as the leader of the next generation of male stars with the talent and appeal to carry a major movie.
Hollywood has been waiting a while.
Pretenders to the throne have come and faded away (with the likes of Ethan Hawke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor and our own Colin Farrell falling just short).
And the studios are now set to jump a generation to the likes of Pattinson and -- possibly -- High School Musical's Zac Efron, young actors who are judged to have the potential to be classic leading men.
They certainly have captured the young female market.
But it remains to be seen whether the growing legion of bright young things has the acting ability to match their cinematic eye-candy status.
Hollywood's holy grail is to find young talent that can emulate established stars such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
But they both built their careers slowly and carefully, balancing roles showcasing their good looks with those that highlighted their acting abilities. The danger is that studio bosses rush their bright young hopes and try to cash in while they are still finding their feet.
The veteran film critic Barry Norman says there was a danger of young actors being type-cast if they stuck to the teenage "popcorn" genre.
"It's an easy route for the young and the pretty, but I don't think necessarily that it is going to be a good springboard to launch a long career," he said.
Zac Efron has made a deliberate move away from musical movies with his next big release, The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud. Based on a popular novel, it sees Efron starring alongside Kim Basinger, playing a man who is devastated by the death of his younger brother.
Efron is very aware of the need to stretch himself in more substantial roles -- while not alienating his core audience.
"I'm not doing anything to drastically try and change my image," he said recently.
"But I do need to keep things interesting for myself. And grow up. I still make very family-friendly films. I'm not involved with the next Trainspotting sequel or anything like that."
Efron is (unfairly or not) seen as the leader of the pack of young male actors and musicians who appeal to the "tweenie" market. And it's a measure of the power of the tweenie dollar that Efron and the likes of pop stars/actors the Jonas Brothers are being seriously talked up as box office stars.
With movie-going audiences now heavily skewed towards teens, the Jonas brothers, Transformers star Shia LaBeouf and Pattinson have the kind of earning potential that Hollywood has never seen in actors in their early 20s.
Tatiana Siegel, a reporter for Variety who covers castings at the four major film studios in Los Angeles, said British hunk Pattinson was "the most in-demand actor of the generation. Now the trend in Hollywood is not so much to have an actor who carries the movies, but a brand, like Twilight. Robert Pattinson is one of the few actors that the studios can build a movie around."
The sudden craze for all things vampiric has certainly rocketed Pattinson from promising beginnings (one of his first roles was in a Harry Potter movie) to international stardom.
His co-star, Taylor Lautner, is also hot property.
The 17-year-old piled on 30lbs of muscle for his role as the werewolf Jacob Black in New Moon. He has been quoted as saying he would never take his shirt off on-screen again, but teenage girls breathed a sigh of relief this week when he denied the comment, adding that he would strip off if the role required it.
Lautner is still very young but his co-star Pattinson now appears to have the movie world at his feet.
However, he should tread carefully -- his next two or three movies could mean the difference between achieving A-list status or ending up as yet another also-ran.
Source via Pattinson Online