Christine Gledhill and Richard Dyer’s Star Theories
Here’s an article about his status as a movie star and it’s explicitly linked to how his status made The Equalizer lots of money.
Keanu Reeves’s star status was definitely used to promote a film that was ostensibly an independent film. There is a famous meme ‘Sad Keanu‘ based on a picture that was taken before John Wick and when his career was actually in a slump. His image is definitely one of an ‘unassuming’ actor rather than a big star, but he definitely has icon status after his work on the Matrix trilogy and films such as Point Break in the 1990s.
He’s definitely been more involved in the promotion for Chapter 2 and the box office doubled on the original film.
This film is discussed as part of the ‘hip-hop film’ genre (a new one on me). The film featured the rapper Common and a lot was made of this in the promotion including the film releasing clips of him acting in the film. .