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Box Office Power Rankings: "The Dark Knight" in Perspective PDF Print E-mail
Movies - Box Office Power Rankings
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 13 August 2008 02:24

Gone with the WindBecause nobody has pushed The Dark Knight off its perch (either in the weekly box-office-receipts charts or in the Box Office Power Rankings) ... .

When Batman ($445 million through August 11) knocks Star Wars ($461 million) off as the second-highest-grossing movie in domestic-box-office history — which should happen this weekend — please keep the accomplishment in perspective.

Adjusted for ticket-price inflation, The Dark Knight at that point will still need nearly $130 million in additional gross before it even cracks the top 20. And it will need roughly $800 million more to catch Star Wars in inflation-adjusted revenues ($1.26 billion).

But let’s keep that in perspective. The Dark Knight exists in a culture with frenzied competition for your attention and leisure dollars. When Star Wars opened, the moving-picture options available in my house were limited to three networks and the three other movies playing at our local cinema.

So while I don’t think it’s fair to say with a straight face that The Dark Knight will have beaten Star Wars at the box office after this weekend, it’s just as unfair to say it’s almost a billion dollars short of Gone with the Wind ($1.43 billion in inflation-adjusted receipts). The truth lies somewhere in between.

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. We assign equal weight to box office and critical opinion, with each having two components. The measures are: box-office gross, per-theater 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-theater 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: August 8-10

Box Office Ranks Critics’ Ranks
Rank Movie Last Week Gross Per Theatre Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Total
1 The Dark Knight 1 10 ($26.1M) 9 ($6.5K) 9 (94) 9 (82) 37
2 Pineapple Express - 9 ($23.2M) 10 ($7.6K) 8 (69 8 (64) 35
3 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 - 7 ($10.7M) 7 ($3.9K) 7 (65) 7 (63) 28
4 WALL•E 5 2 ($3.1M) 2 ($1.5K) 10 (97) 10 (93) 24
5 Step Brothers 2 6 ($9.1M) 6 ($2.9K) 4 (51) 4 (50) 20
5 Journey to the Center of the Earth 2 4 ($4.9M) 4 ($2.5K) 6 (61) 6 (57) 20
5 Mamma Mia! 2 5 ($8.2M) 5 ($2.6K) 5 (54) 5 (51) 20
8 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 6 8 ($16.5M) 8 ($4.4K) 1 (11) 1 (31) 18
9 Hancock 8 3 ($3.3M) 3 ($1.5K) 2 (38) 3 (49) 11
10 Swing Vote 7 1 ($3.1M) 1 ($1.4K) 3 (39) 2 (47) 7


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