This weekend I gave a bunch of thought to the whole A list B list thing and how it really should be defined. In one post somewhere on the site is a way of defining A and B list television stars which makes everything cut and dry. Film though is so much more fluid. I know there are various definitions on this site and others, but what truly makes someone A list?
In my mind, A list is someone who can open a mainstream film all by themselves. When I say mainstream, I mean a film that opens in the 1000+ screen category. I think that is the one true measurement of whether someone is A list or not. The question should be, am I interested in going to see this movie because so and so is in it and I don't care what the movie is about. To me, there are many more male A listers than female A listers and to prove it, just go through any list of female or male actors in your mind and ask the question above. There are just not that many women who can open a film, or even given the opportunity to do so. Most people would say there are about 10 A list female stars. I say that is true, but that there are A list women within A list women.
In one of my blind items I called Kirsten Dunst A list because she was the female lead in several of the highest grossing films of all-time, and she has opened a mainstream film on her own. The problem is that when I stopped to think about it. Almost anyone could have played her role in Spiderman, so why should that give her A list status. Plus, Bring It On, was more of an ensemble film and she just happened to be top billed, but was she the reason everyone went to see the film? No, of course not. No one went "OMG, Kirsten Dunst has a new movie out, we have to go see it." Instead it went like this, "There is this really cool movie out right now and Kirsten Dunst is in it. We should go." There is a big difference.
So, then we get to my other beef with my own theory which is Sarah Michelle Gellar. I actually like SMG and she fits the criteria, except for one thing. Horror films should be excluded from the list. Most horror films have a female lead, but it is the story, not the actress that brings in the audience, and thus, although technically opening a film, they are not the reason the people are going to see the film. Yes, there are people who love SMG. I know this. But you have to be objective about it. I have also thrown Nicole Kidman into this mix now. The only film she has done which did well on its own with her name alone lately has been The Others which was a horror film. She is only making money because she is Tom Cruise's ex. She doesn't deserve A list status or money.
Here are the top ten highest paid actresses from 2007.
1. Reese Witherspoon
2. Angelina Jolie
3. Cameron Diaz
4. Nicole Kidman
5. Renee Zellweger
6. Sandra Bullock
7. Julia Roberts
8. Drew Barrymore
9. Jodie Foster
10. Halle Berry
If you have a franchise, then you are automatically A list, so Reese, Angelina, Renee, and Sandra automatically move on. (for now)
Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore have a franchise, but it is not on their own. Drew however is so A list it isn't even funny and can't believe she is only the 8th highest paid actress. She needs a new agent. Cameron Diaz is someone who will drop from the A list eventually, but people will go see a film solely based on whether she is in it. Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts and so will always be A list. Jodie Foster is in the same category as Cameron Diaz. The only difference is Jodie has been A list for much longer and has probably achieved A list status permanently. Halle Berry is almost there. If she had a franchise like Cameron does, she would be a shoe in. As it is though, she is right on the edge every year of A list B list.
So now you know.