Box Office Power Rankings: Rare Perfection Print
Movies - Box Office Power Rankings
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Friday, 16 January 2009 12:28
717_movies_of_2008_gran_torino.jpgIn 2008, only one movie got a perfect score in the Box Office Power Rankings: Iron Man, twice in May.

In the second weekend of January, we already have our first perfect score of 2009: for Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.

At the outset, I will note that a perfect score says more about a movie’s circumstances than it does the movie itself. The Dark Knight was, by a hair, a better move than Iron Man in critics’ eyes, yet it opened with WALL•E in theaters, thus blocking its chance at a 40 in our weekly contest.

Gran Torino joins the rarefied company of Iron Man and The Bourne Ultimatum with its Box Office Power Rankings perfection. (Our rankings were launched in mid-2007.) But it’s the lesser of the three. Eastwood’s movie has a combined Rotten Tomaotes/Metacritic score of 148, compared to Bourne’s 179 and Iron Man’s 171.

From that, we can see that Gran Torino benefited from relatively weak competition in the box-office top 10.

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: January 9-11, 2009
Box Office Ranks Critics’ Ranks
Rank Movie Last Week Gross Per Theater Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Total
1 Gran Torino - 10 ($29.5M) 10 ($10.5K) 10 (76) 10 (72) 40
2 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 1 6 ($9.2M) 5 ($3.1K) 9 (73) 9 (69) 29
3 Marley and Me 1 7 ($11.4M) 6 ($3.3K) 8 (59) 7 (53) 28
4 Valkyrie 4 4 ($6.6M) 3 ($2.3K) 7 (58) 8 (56) 22
5 The Unborn - 8 ($19.8M) 9 ($8.4K) 2 (12) 2 (30) 21
5 Not Easily Broken - 2 ($5.3M) 8 ($7.3K) 6 (42) 5 (43) 21
7 Bride Wars - 9 ($21.1M) 7 ($6.5K) 2 (12) 1 (24) 19
8 Yes Man 6 3 ($6.0M) 2 ($2.0K) 6 (42) 6 (46) 17
9 Bedtime Stories 6 5 ($8.8M) 4 ($2.5K) 3 (23) 3 (33) 15
10 Seven Pounds 9 1 ($3.8M) 1 ($1.6K) 4 (27) 4 (36) 10