Jennifer Aniston

Humberto Carreno/

Here's a question: Why does Jennifer Aniston keep getting high-profile film gigs when her films (with very few exceptions, like Marley & Me) are stinkers?
—Freddie B., via Facebook

You clearly speak of The Switch, among other gems, but come now. Movies about misplaced semen are so fresh and unexplored, aren't they? And nobody can deliver them with that special all-American-jilted-cheerleader glow of Aniston's! Hater.

Anyway, I have the secret behind Jen's seemingly unnatural lifespan in filmdom, and it only partially involves a satanic grimoire and the blood of 40 virgins:

The Switch was an official bomb: It made only $8.4 on its opening weekend. But apparently, Satan—or someone—keeps providing Aniston with just enough ticket buyers to keep her alive in Hollywood. Yes, there was Marley & Me, which made more than $242 million (worldwide), and yes, that is considered a hit.

But it hasn't been Aniston's only recent success—believe it, or not.

"The Switch isn't going to earn Aniston any gold stars in Tinseltown," Exhibitor Relations box office analyst Jeff Bock explains. "In fact, her solo rom-com career—where she has top billing over her male costar, like last year's Love Happens, has always been a bit of a box office bust.

"However, when paired with a high profile [actor], such as Vince Vaughn, Jim Carrey or Owen Wilson, she shines."

Proof? Sure: The Bounty Hunter, which costarred Gerard Butler, has grossed a global $136 million on a budget of $40 million.

How does that translate for Aniston's future? Well, there are still plenty of studios that will bank on her. And that makes her, as the Hollywood Reporter recently put it, "second-tier, but reliably second-tier."

"High-profile, high-concept films will always be her bread and butter, as she certainly fills a good-girl niche in Hollywood," Bock says.

If that irks you, then do not read this next sentence: Aniston has a solid dozen movies in the works, at least three of which will be released in the next year or so.

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