I think The Crow only had the appeal because the dude died filming it.
Not at all. The Crow was a perfect movie for that time. It had an excellent soundtrack, pretty damn good story, appealed to the freaks and geeks, and had enough action, blood and boobs for regular crowd.
It would have been successful if Brandon had lived.
I think Brandon would have been a successful actor. Those B-Movie roles seemed to be an example of him being pigeon holed because of his father's name. The Crow was the first time he really stepped out on his own, and I think his career would have taken off as a result. Probably had a heartthrob run like Pitt for a while.