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Box Office Power Rankings: A Little Help from Its Friends? PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Box Office Power Rankings
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 10:44
milk.jpgNo movie has ever won the Box Office Power Rankings with a 10th-place finish in overall ticket sales. It’s certainly possible, but a film has to be perfect or nearly so in every other category to pull it off.

In just 36 venues, Gus Van Sant’s Milk actually was perfect in every other category — tops in per-theater average and in both critical measures. And the bio-pic about gay-rights icon Harvey Milk still lost.

Put simply, when you start by losing nine points off the maximum at the outset, you need some help to come out on top, and Milk didn’t get much. Four Christmases beat Bolt in total weekend box office, and it and Twilight had better per-theater performances, but no movie got between the Disney cartoon and Sean Penn on the critical measures.

So the dog won.

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 ( score, and Metacritic ( 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 Culture Snob is the Web site of Reader Managing Editor Jeff Ignatius.

Box Office Power Rankings: November 28-30, 2008
Box Office Ranks Critics’ Ranks
Rank Movie Last Week Gross Per Theater Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Total
1 Bolt 1 9 ($26.6M) 7 ($7.3K) 9 (84) 9 (68) 34
2 Milk - 1 ($1.5M) 10 ($40.4K) 10 (94) 10 (85) 31
3 Quantum Of Solace 2 7 ($18.8M) 5 ($5.4K) 7 (66) 6 (58) 25
4 Twilight 4 8 ($26.3M) 8 ($7.7K) 3 (44) 4 (53) 23
5 Four Christmases - 10 ($31.1M) 9 ($9.4K) 1 (25) 1 (41) 21
5 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa 5 5 ($14.2M) 3 ($3.8K) 5 (60) 8 (61) 21
7 Australia - 6 ($14.8M) 6 ($5.6K) 4 (51) 4 (53) 20
8 Role Models 3 3 ($5.3M) 1 ($2.4K) 8 (75) 7 (59) 19
9 The Boy in Striped Pajamas 8 2 ($1.7M) 2 ($2.9K) 6 (63) 5 (55) 15
10 Transporter 3 - 4 ($12.1M) 4 ($4.6K) 2 (36) 2 (51) 12



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