There's even the return of a venerable genre, the Western, which has fallen on hard times in modern Hollywood. Crowe and Christian Bale star in the remake "3:10 to Yuma," about a poor rancher helping to escort a captured gang leader, while a second Old West tale comes close on its heels with "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

Brad Pitt, starring as James, said his own celebrity helped him sympathize with the outlaw, whose notoriety as a heroic Robin Hood figure was heavily fabricated.

"I liked the themes of fame, the obsession with fame. The idea of the Jesse James character being trapped behind a facade and not knowing how to get out," said Pitt, who plays James in the last year of his life as he lapses into paranoia over potential betrayal by accomplices and intimates, including young idolizer Ford (Casey Affleck).

"We operate under the assumption everyone is pretty much up on the Jesse James myth, so we start dissecting the myth," Pitt said.