Unless you’re a Hollywood insider, chances are you’ve never heard the name James Ulmer. However, you almost certainly have heard terms like A-List and B-List as they relate to celebrities. The correlation is this: Each year, James Ulmer publishes the Actors Hot List, a statistical analysis of the “bankability” of actors and actresses. The terms A-list and B-list correspond to actual rankings that Ulmer compiles, which is based both upon hard data like box-office results and slightly more murky variables like willingness to travel/promote and professionalism. In advance of the release of this year’s list on May 30 (if you’re curious, Ulmer sells copies of his list in book form for $200), Ulmer sat down with those noted stat hounds over at Entertainment Tonight to preview some of his latest findings.
According to Ulmer, only two movie stars receive his perfect A+ rating: Will Smith and Johnny Depp. Regarding the latter, Ulmer tells ET, “you give him a lemon, he can make lemonade” (it’s important to note that people don’t pay him for his quips, but rather for his data). He also discusses the sinking star power of Brad Pitt (“He’s falling a bit, but … he has huge wanna-see value”) and Russell Crowe (“His professionalism level has gone down a bit”), but he doesn’t mention anything about Crowe’s oft-discussed weight issues. And if you’re wondering what he thinks about actresses, the only one he mentions in his short interview is Reese Witherspoon, but only in the context that “even her position isn’t that stable.” We’re going to try to get our mitts on a copy of the new Hot List when comes out next week, and we’ll certainly keep you posted!