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|Box Office Power Rankings: Caught in the Middle|
|Movies - Box Office Power Rankings|
|Written by Jeff Ignatius|
|Wednesday, 10 December 2008 02:23|
Cadillac Records opened this past weekend with a respectable $5,023 per theatre, and got good reviews. It came in second place in this week's Box Office Power Rankings behind only Bolt, the unstoppable force that nobody cares about.
But because it was only in 686 theatres, it couldn't make a box-office splash, earning $3.4 million overall and landing in ninth place. And because it was in 686 threatres, it was too big to be one-of-those only-in-major-cities movies that generate buzz and huge per-theatre numbers. (Think Milk.)
If you believe (as I do) that perception plays a role in long-term performance, Sony/Columbia has done Cadillac Records a major disservice. It doesn't smell like a turd, but on the surface it sure looks like one - but only because of how it was released.
What might have been? Dreamgirls ($103 million in total domestic box office) opened in three theatres. Walk the Line ($120 million) opened in 2,961. Ray ($75 million) didn't open wide wide (2,006 theatres), but it still managed a $20-million opening weekend.
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.
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