Tom Cruise tops the bankability rankings

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The Independent Online
TOM CRUISE has topped the movie industry bible's list of the greatest film stars in the world, not because of his acting talent or the quality of his films, but because of his "bankability".

The Hollywood Reporter has published its Star Power list for the first time in three years, a listing from nought to 100 of the power which Hollywood's major stars have to get films made that make money.

Cruise just edges ahead of Harrison Ford with 100 points to Ford's 99. Behind them come Mel Gibson (98 points), Tom Hanks (97) and Brad Pitt (96). The highest ranking woman on the list is Jodie Foster who at number 10 on the list gets a 93.82 rating.

Those on the top of the Star Power list are those who can get their movies made regardless of the cost, the genre of film, who the director of the film is or what the script is like. They are stars whose name on a reel gets it sold across the globe without film distributors even watching the film.

The highest ranking British star on the list is Sean Connery who gets a 88.32 rating to come in as 18th most powerful star in the movie firmament. This ranks Connery above American stars like Michael Douglas, Demi Moore and even Titanic's Leonardo di Caprio. The next Brit on the list is fellow Bond actor Pierce Brosnan who is 33 on the list. Fellow Celt Anthony Hopkins comes in at three places below with a 76.88 rating. Emma Thompson is Britain's highest ranking female and comes in above stars like Madonna and Whoopi Goldberg.

Although some movers in Hollywood have been talking up the importance of scripts and directors in recent years, others disagree: "Star power gets your movies made and gets your movies sold," says Greg Coote, president of Village Roadshow pictures. "The marketing becomes easier. The ancillaries - TV, video - become easier to sell."

The Hollywood Reporter's list is scarily comprehensive and pulls no punches with an actor's ego. Nick Nolte languishes as the 100th most powerful star in Hollywood and yet he gets 55.38 points and is followed by 300 lesser known stars.

The list was compiled by polling the movie industry's film buyers, executives, producers and distributors on how each star would guarantee financing and overseas sales of films.

"This list is used as a tool in Hollywood," says Jeff Kaye, European bureau chief for the Hollywood Reporter, "especially when execs are trying to guess who to cast in films they want to do well overseas. They will look at the Hollywood Reporter's rankings."