Three of the most exciting, influential, and recognizable movie stars in Hollywood history are gearing up for a high-stakes arms race: Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson. This is the story of their feud—and the surprising results of some exclusive focus group testing. 

Who Is The Biggest Threat To Johnny Depp?

Johnny Depp is undoubtedly the biggest box office star in Hollywood today, having generated an estimated $25 million in his most recent box office outing ($41.8 million total). He has also appeared in some of the most iconic and popular films of all time (The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Edward Scissorhands, for example), and even after all these years, moviegoers still flock to see him as Captain Jack Sparrow. With a seemingly unending stream of popular movies and TV shows, it’s no surprise that more than 20 different acting roles, countless cameos, and a theme park ride have been named after Depp. But while he may be the biggest name in Hollywood, it’s not always been easy for him. 

The actor has had numerous battles with the law, and spent five years in a California prison for identity theft and fraud. All this led up to his appearance in the 2013 documentary The Ides of March, in which he spoke frankly about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In the film, he also revealed that he has been in 12 years of psychotherapy, which he calls “the most important thing” he’s ever done. More recently, Depp has been vocal about the need for more transparency in the entertainment industry, and has signed onto the Creative Alliance for Digital Empowerment (CADEE), a group aimed at fighting for change in Hollywood.

CADEE represents more than 140 entertainment industry leaders and creators, including executives, producers, and directors, who have committed to fighting for gender, racial, and social equity in digital entertainment. One of the group’s main goals is to advocate for more diversity in hiring and representation in media and entertainment, as well as increase transparency in the industry.

An Opportunity For Leonardo DiCaprio?

Leonardo DiCaprio, on the other hand, has had a very different career trajectory. One of the world’s most recognizable faces and most popular cinematic characters, he burst onto the scene with his Oscar-nominated performance in The Devil Wears Prada, and went on to become a leading man in more than a dozen mainstream Hollywood productions, including Titanic, Wolf of Wall Street, and The Great Gatsby. More recently, however, DiCaprio has transitioned to directing, producing, and acting in independent and foreign films, as well as taking on a more behind-the-scenes role in the production of films he’s involved in.

The result is a career full of accolades and box office success, but with the downside of a largely undistinguished recent run of major box office movies. Still, when it comes to live performance, DiCaprio is a genuine theatrical event, and his sold-out shows around the world have created an entire ecosystem of support acts, tribute bands, and fans. 

It’s clear that Depp and DiCaprio represent two very different movie stars. While Depp has been a household name for more than two decades, DiCaprio is still relatively unknown to the average person—he’s often referred to as “Leonardo DiCaprio, movie star” rather than “Leonardo DiCaprio, the famous actor,” for example—which presents a unique opportunity for the A-lister. 

The Biggest Threat To Robert Pattinson?

While Depp and DiCaprio represent two very different movie stars, they have one thing in common: they’re both among the most famous and influential faces in Hollywood. Robert Pattinson, on the other hand, came out of nowhere to become a Hollywood sensation, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as “The Wolf” in The Revenant. A year later came news that he had married his Twilight co-star and best friend, Kristen Stewart, and that they had welcomed a daughter. Stewart had previously given birth to a child with married director Rupert Sanders, which forced a divorce. In 2016, the actor was again linked to another gorgeous actress, this time Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones, though nothing ever came of it. 

Pattinson has been one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood ever since, starring in major blockbusters like The Revenant, Finding Mr. Right, and the upcoming Gemini Man. With a box office draw that continues to grow, it’s clear that movies have not lost their ability to captivate audiences—even those who claim to hate film—and that it will be hard to top 17 years in the industry. Let’s just hope that, in the event of a Depp-DiCaprio war, Pattinson has done enough to secure a spot on the top dog’s hit list.

Who Will Win In The Battle Of The Movie Star Powerhouses?

While three of Hollywood’s most prominent stars are preparing for a high-stakes showdown, who will emerge as the ultimate victor? As with any good battle, this one will be decided by a combination of factors, including but not limited to box office performance, critical accolades, and reputation. While Depp, DiCaprio, and Pattinson have all distinguished themselves in major ways, there are a number of actors, singers, and showrunners who could unseat the throne if one of these three giants falters or falls off the pedestal.

Even beyond superstition, there’s likely to be a clear favorite among movie fans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the epic nature of their competition, it’s Edward Scissorhands, directed by Tim Burton and starring DiCaprio, who emerges as the early favorite. The 1999 comedy stars DiCaprio as an unrepentant former surgeon who has lost his fingers as a “birth defect,” and is now determined to replace them with gleaming mechanical steel. (It’s perhaps worth noting that, back in the 19th century, people with “problems” like DiCaprio’s were commonly referred to as “statues.”) 

While the oddity of Scissorhands aside, it’s still DiCaprio’s world; he’s appeared in every major role since then, save one, and it’s been more than a decade since a theatrical release. In more recent years, the actor has mostly stayed away from the big screen, instead focusing on producing, directing, and acting in independent films. He also recently returned to the big screen in the thriller Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, in which he portrays a Hollywood icon struggling with mental illness. This could be a critical turning point for DiCaprio, as it’s one of the most highly anticipated films of the year and, if it’s a success, could pave the way for a Hollywood comeback. If not, it’s still going to be a very memorable swan song.

Meanwhile, the most recent film from Johnny Depp, the 2019 thriller The Mortician, was a cinematic and commercial bomb, and it appears the actor may have finally found the nail in the coffin of his once-mighty box office draw. Depp’s latest film, based on the Marvel Comics character Black Mask, stars Ansel Elgort as a costumed vigilante who is determined to bring criminals to justice. The movie was plagued by production problems, which included a major battle with the Hollywood talent agency CAA over financial compensation for the use of their stars. The outcome of this legal wrangling was that Depp and his production company, Pirates of the Caribbean, agreed to donate all profits from the movie to various charities, with a percentage going to the union that represented the crew. (Rumors of a Depp-produced musical starring Elgort have also surfaced; this, too, could have serious ramifications for the actor’s career and reputation.) 

Still, while Depp’s reign may be over, his legacy lives on in the thousands of films and dozens of theme parks that bear his name. And let’s not forget about his tireless campaigning, which has resulted in more than 20 organizations naming rights after him. So even if The Mortician marks the end of an era, it will be a very memorable one. 

The battle royale between the most prominent movie stars of our time is about to begin. While it may be hard to predict the winner of this particular competition, it’s clear that this year will be remembered as the “year of the movie star.”