We know that Meryl Streep can rock any role she's given, and save any movie that she graces with her legendary talent. Accents, ABBA songs, and aspics, she does it all with shocking ease. But here's something I bet you didn't know: she's an economic powerhouse. While Hollywood wrings their hands and wonders how to market "to women," and is convinced all ladies want is The Ugly Truth, Streep has been single-handedly turning everyone a profit.

The Independent calls it "The Streep Effect" and notes that she has a Midas touch not only at the box office, but for book sales and tourism. Julie and Juliahas single-handledly sent Mastering the Art of French Cooking back onto bestseller lists. (Though the Independent doesn't mention it, Child's My Life in France is selling just as briskly, as is Julie Powell's Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.) There's also been a boom in French cooking classes and cookware sales as people set out to cook their way to a perky hybrid of Streep, Amy Adams, and Julia Child.

And that's only the most recent example! Mamma Mia! resulted in hundreds of couples flocking to marry on the Greek island of Skopelos, with flights up 13% after the movie's release. Lest you think that was just due to the jaw-dropping seaside scenery, a similar effect happened with Out of Africa. Kenya received 152,000 overseas visitors in 1985, a number that climbed to 176,000 in 1986.