As stars who once ruled the box office get older, lose popularity and make questionable career decisions, a fresh batch of stars waits in the wings to stand among Tinseltown's elite.
Here, we celebrate the new faces of the A-List, and mourn the loss of those who have been dropped from its ranks. (Photos by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images; Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
He's the least bankable of our new A-listers, but his likability on- and off-screen, as well as his initial success on television, has made him one of the most popular, buzz-worthy and consistently funny actors in Hollywood. And making the A-List as a strictly comedic actor is no easy feat.
While her off-screen antics gain her as much buzz as her on-screen achievements, there is no denying Jolie's allure. Her 50/50 split of big budget popcorn movies and award-winning dramas has made her a fan of Joe Moviegoer and critics alike. The public loves to follow this woman's career.
About 2/3 of the films Ben Stiller has headlined in the last 10 years have been considerable box office successes. And even though 1/3 of those films were big stinkers (i.e. "Duplex," "Envy" and "School for Scoundrels"), failure didn't effect his career the way it did with fellow funnymen Mike Myers and Jack Black.
Having carved a niche in Hollywood as both an r-rated everyman and a family film star, Stiller just doesn't show signs of career fatigue.
Sure, he's been around Hollywood since he was 14 years old (and starred in a little movie called "Titanic"), but DiCaprio didn't become a true heavy-hitter until his back-to-back 2002 hits "Gangs of New York" and "Catch Me If You Can."
As if Leo's versatility on film weren't enough to make him one of the most engaging actors in cinema, his selectivity, modesty and public elusiveness only makes him more attractive to film-goers.
With five of his last seven wide releases bringing in more than $100 million each, it's clear that Leo equals success.
This was not an easy call to make. On one hand, the $163 million average speaks for itself. On the other, the strength of the numbers reflect solely upon the success of the "Twilight" series, which probably would have been successful anyway.
However, "The Twilight Saga" has made K.Stew extremely popular and, by all accounts, fans of the books happily accept her as their muggle heroine Bella Swan. Her comings, goings and future film projects are constant fodder for entertainment news outlets and critics have consistently praised her performances in non-"Twi" films such as "Into the Wild," "Adventureland" and "The Runaways."
Only time will tell if Stewart can maintain an A-List status post-"Twilight," but for now, she's one of the most talked-about actresses in one of the most profitable franchises on the big screen today. That's not A-List?
It's easy to forget that Will Smith is one of the most bankable actors working today. He's an extremely likable family man who avoids the public eye and hasn't made a movie in two years. You tend to forget.
Smith's inclusion on this list is merely to serve as a reminder that seven of his last eight live-action wide releases made more than $100 million. In fact, five made more than $150 million. And two of those made more than $200 million.
RDJ's career is one of the greatest comeback stories of all time.
Given his current popularity, it's almost unfathomable to think that, prior to "Iron Man," Downey had never starred as a leading man in a financially successful film.
So, taking into consideration his triumph over personal demons, his magnetic personality and meteoric rise to popularity through the "Iron Man" and "Sherlock Holmes" franchises, it's only fitting that Downey take his seat at the top of the pack.
At the age of only 24, Shia has already proven that he has what it takes to draw as a leading man. Combine that with the support of directors like Stephen Spielberg, Michael Bay and Oliver Stone, and you've got yourself a bonafide A-Lister.
Not only can he boast roles in "Transformers," "Indiana Jones" and "Wall Street" films, but he has also never lead a box office failure.
Following "Edward Scissorhands," it took Johnny Depp nine years to make another successful movie ("Sleepy Hollow") and it would be an additional four years before the eccentric actor would become a household name as Cpt. Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.
Always a critically respected actor, Depp now has the box office cred to back up his positive reviews. Additionally, he's a likable guy off-screen, a charismatic guy on-screen and brings more attention to a film project by his involvement alone than nearly any star working today.
Sure, he's never starred in a wide release that didn't start with the words "Harry Potter," but that doesn't mean he can't be an A-Lister.
Let's face it, the 21-year-old Brit, who has played the "Harry Potter" franchise's title character for nearly 10 years, has helped the series bring in nearly $2 billion. That's hard to ignore.
Not only has Dan Rad shown considerable improvement as an actor throughout the series, but he's also drama-free and oh-so-nice off-camera. It's also worth noting his lauded performance in the Broadway revival of "Equus" and a pair of forthcoming non-Potter films.
Until failure proves otherwise, Radcliffe is batting 1,000 and undeniably A-List.
Cusack's box office draw has never exactly reflected A-List power, but the guy is likable, talented and somewhat of an '80s icon. Thusly, his involvement in film projects stirs up A-worthy buzz.
Unfortunately, Lloyd Dobler's most recent hits have been only moderate successes (with the exception of "2012" and, to some degree, "Hot Tub Time Machine") and have been sporadic to boot.
Given his likability, Cusack is only a couple hits away from making it back onto the A-List, but with recent failures in the comedy, drama and action genres, it's becoming difficult to decipher where audiences want him to fit in.
Let's make this perfectly clear: Jennifer Aniston is not — and never was — an A-List actress.
For some reason, America has given Aniston the attention and buzz that would suggest A-List status, but in reality she has only ever co-lead two hit movies ("The Break-Up" and "Along Came Polly") in her whole career. And, to be honest, her influence in the success of those films is highly debatable.
Jen has proven to be a suitable co-star and love interest in a few hit movies ("Bruce Almighty," "Marley & Me" and "He's Just Not That Into You"), but when it comes to putting butts in the seats, the former "Friend" has been more of a cinema enemy.
There's nothing particularly likable about Russell Crowe. Therefore, his A-List status lives and dies by the success of his movies.
Even though "Robin Hood" made $100 million, it cost $200 million to make. Therefore, Crowe has now lead seven consecutive films to money-losing efforts at the box office. And the only successful film he's appeared in during that stretch was "American Gangster," which was sold on Denzel Washington's involvement.
Once a gladiator, Mr. Crowe's former fans have tossed him to the lions.
It's sad, but true. Not only has DeNiro become a weary, old parody of himself, but the man hasn't made a meaningful movie since "Casino."
We're not taking anything away from his legacy — DeNiro truly is one of the best actors of all time — but he no longer interests movie audiences in a way that is beneficial to Hollywood.
When a legendary career has been reduced to playing foil to Ben Stiller in family comedies or getting killed by a habit-clad Lindsay Lohan ("Machete"), it may be time to spend more time behind the camera and less time in front of it.
This hurts us a lot more than it hurts you, but let's face it, this is not the same Al Pacino that asked us to give a cordial greeting to his tiny friend.
Al hasn't starred in a critically accepted movie since 2002's "Insomnia" and the films between then and now (i.e. "Sim0ne," "Two for the Money," "88 Minutes" and "Righteous Kill") were absolutely abysmal and tanked in theaters.
Sure, he just won an Emmy for playing Jack Kevorkian in the made-for-TV movie "You Don't Know Jack," but true A-Listers jump from TV to film. Not the other way around.
Sorry, Al, but your popularity is now officially a thing of the past.