Box Office Power Rankings: A Preordained "Ghost Town" Print
Movies - Box Office Power Rankings
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 24 September 2008 02:18

Ghost TownIf you glance at the box-office top 10 this week, you might think that the supernatural romantic comedy Ghost Town was a bomb, finishing last among the four major new releases and eighth overall. But the movie's title was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Paramount/DreamWorks only exhibited it in 1,505 theatres - a sure sign the studio doesn't believe in the movie. (Its opening-weekend competitors - Lakeview Terrace, Igor, and My Best Friend's Girl - were all released in more than 2,300 theatres.)

Given a wider release and more marketing money, Ghost Town would likely have been a modest hit, easily making back its $20-million production budget in theatres. Consider that it was second-best-reviewed movie in the top 10 (behind only The Dark Knight), and that audiences liked it, too. Yahoo! users rated it B+ (compared to grades of B and B- for the other three big releases), while users of the Internet Movie Database gave it a 7.5 out of 10 (compared to a range of 5.2 to 6.5 for the new-release competition).

It's unlikely that Ghost Town would have overtaken Burn After Reading in our Box Office Power Rankings this week with a more aggressive release, but its performance would have better reflected how people actually felt about it. This is a poster child for mis-released movies.

 

About Box Office Power Rankings

Box Office Power Rankings balance box office and critical reception to create a better measure of a movie's overall performance against its peers than gross receipts alone.

The weekly rankings cover the 10 top-grossing movies in the United States for the previous weekend. I assign equal weight to box office and critical opinion, with each having two components. The measures are: box-office gross, per-theatre average, Rotten Tomatoes (RottenTomatoes.com) score, and Metacritic (Metacritic.com) score.

Why those four? Box-office gross basically measures the number of people who saw a movie in a given weekend. Per-theatre average corrects for blockbuster-wannabes that flood the market with prints, and gives limited-release movies a fighting chance. Rotten Tomatoes measures critical opinion in a binary way. And Metacritic gives a better sense of critics' enthusiasm (or bile) for a movie.

For each of the four measures, the movies are ranked and assigned points (10 for the best performer, one for the worst). Finally, those points are added up, with a maximum score of 40 and a minimum score of four.

For more Box Office Power Rankings, visit CultureSnob.com/bopr. Culture Snob is the Web site of Reader Managing Editor Jeff Ignatius.

 

Box Office Power Rankings: September 19-21
Box Office Ranks Critics' Ranks
Rank Movie Last Week Gross Per Theater Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Total
1 Burn After Reading 1 9 ($11.0M) 9 ($4.2K) 8 (79) 8 (62) 34
2 Lakeview Terrace - 10 ($15.0M) 10 ($6.1K) 5 (40) 5 (46) 30
3 Ghost Town - 3 ($5.0M) 6 ($3.3K) 9 (86) 9 (72) 27
4 Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys 2 5 ($7.3M) 8 ($3.5K) 7 (53) 6 (49) 26
5 The Dark Knight 3 2 ($2.9M) 2 ($1.5K) 10 (95) 10 (82) 24
6 Igor - 7 ($7.8M) 7 ($3.3K) 4 (28) 4 (42) 22
7 My Best Friend's Girl - 8 ($8.3M) 5 ($3.2K) 1 (8) 3 (36) 17
8 Righteous Kill 5 6 ($7.4M) 4 ($2.4K) 3 (22) 3 (36) 16
9 The House Bunny 6 1 ($2.7M) 1 ($1.0K) 6 (41) 7 (55) 15
10 The Women 8 4 ($5.4M) 3 ($1.8K) 2 (10) 1 (27) 10