Jennifer Aniston

Chris Watts/

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.

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.

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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