Newton gave us the laws of gravity. Einstein discovered relativity. And now, after months of tireless calculation and cogitation -- with only occasional breaks for downloading Matrix trailers -- we offer our own breakthrough in quantum physics: a formula of thermal power dynamics that can measure with subatomic precision just how much clout Hollywood's players really have.
The formula: P=C+B+IxH. C refers to Control, as in getting and doing exactly as you want. (Fancy making a movie about Jesus Christ in Aramaic? You can!) B is Bankability (you make money for studios or labels or publishing houses -- and lots of it). I is for Influence, or the ability to push culture in bold new directions; H is for Heat, the most unstable element of all -- the one that gets everyone talking about you.
All the people on ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY's 14th annual Power List possess at least traces of the above. Some have modest levels of B but tons of H. Others have limited C but oodles of I. Nobody has all four elements in equal measure (if they did, the universe would blow up). But enough of any one of them is all it takes to rise to the top.
Normally, you'd have to read about this sort of discovery in a boring scientific journal. But we got tired of waiting to hear back from the American Review of Quantum Mechanics, so we're presenting our findings on the following pages.
Einstein, eat your heart out.
1 JERRY BRUCKHEIMER PRODUCER AGE 58
In the halls of Hollywood power, the buzz is the same: Jerry Bruckheimer has been supersized. Already an Uberproducer among Uberproducers, Bruckheimer has solidified and clarified his singular stature with a blockbuster-packed year -- in film, Pirates of the Caribbean (the year's biggest live-action hit) and Bad Boys II; in TV, CSI (the nation's most-watched show) and sophomore hits CSI: Miami and Without a Trace. The man is no longer just a canny packager of talent and content with a fat back-end. Bruckheimer has become a brand. Like a Spielberg or a Hanks, his name drives box office (studios conspicuously emphasize ''from producer Jerry Bruckheimer'' in ads because research shows it can help broaden a movie's appeal) and ratings (witness the sterling premiere of CBS' star-free Cold Case). The Bruckheimer blend of hip, quick, slick, and even smart made Pirates the summer's most surprising (and fun) franchise launch. And this fall, he's the hottest thing on TV. By February, Bruckheimer could have as many as six series on the air. His critic-proof formula does suffer from indulgences that only power can permit: Bad Boys II could have been 20 minutes shorter -- and better for it. But we quibble. Bruckheimer is now boldly extending his brand: Next, he wants to add a PI drama with Jimmy Smits -- and a sitcom. His '04 holiday season opus: Disney's King Arthur. Hubris? Perhaps. But if successful...well, our No. 2 may want to get used to being where he is.
2 STEVEN SPIELBERG WRITER-DIRECTOR-PRODUCER AGE 56