Guardians of the Galaxy 2 used a blend. About 90% make-up, which is why it worked so well. https://screenrant.com/guardians-galaxy-2-kurt-russell-young-deaged-not-...
The author acknowledges something that undermines his thesis in his own essay. He says outright that concessions are made for blockbusters to appeal to the WIDEST possible audience. That's an admission to the LIMITED audience art films, even great art films, have. So his model for audience exposure won't work. It's not a linear relationship. Synechdoche NY would not have made 30 million if it opened on 1000 screens - I just don't see that happening because regional tastes do exist.
Recently there was an analysis of the 9 Best Picture nominees and where they were "best liked" based on social media posts, which I presume translated to audience interest. It was VERY telling. Some, like Manchester By The Sea, only appealed to the Northeast, while others played more broadly. Hidden Figures played well in the South. So already one sees that a linear model would fall apart for a challenging film.
Sony did dump Synechdoche NY like an unwanted child, no question, but I feel the author here shows a bit of naivete when it comes to what a broader audience would seek in their collective trips to the movies. Most people that I know who go to the movies very rarely seek out movies they NEED.