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Is Jennifer Aniston More of a Movie Star...or a Celebrity?

Jennifer Aniston Chris Watts/INFphoto.com

How is Jen Aniston still relevant as an A-list actor when she only does B movies?
—S.T. Alsop, via Facebook

With the nonstop coverage of Aniston's engagement—the ring! The announcement! That what's-his-name guy who popped the question!—it can definitely seem like Jen is one of the world's biggest stars. But don't let the incessant coverage fool you.

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From a strict business viewpoint, Aniston isn't an A-list star. And before all you Team Jennifer fans freak out in the comments, hear me out.

In Hollywood, the definition of "A-list" has nothing to do with the number of magazines a star covers, or the number of Twitter followers she has, or whether she belongs to a portmanteau couple like Brangelina or Kimye. Your bedroom could be filled, floor to ceiling, with posters of Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus isn't A-list either.

A-list means that a star can get a movie financed pretty much on her name alone. A-listers can sell a movie to fans without any of us really caring what the movie is about. Think Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Robert Downey, Jr., Denzel Washington, maybe.

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In contrast: Jennifer Aniston may garner plenty of hits on gossip websites. But unless those clicks translate into a flood of film financing, ticket sales, DVD rentals or Netflix streams, she ain't A-list.

Now, that isn't to say that Aniston is totally worthless. Far from it! She putts butts in movie seats. A lot of them. The result?

"She's not A-list anymore but is a strong B-plus for mid-budget romantic comedies," says James Ulmer, whose Ulmer Scale tracks the bankability of major stars. "Even then, she needs to be paired with an A-minus male star to be bankable internationally."

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