Box Office Power Rankings: May 18-20, 2007

(A new weekly feature on Culture Snob.)

Most of us know that box-office gross is a largely meaningless number, and many people think that critics are worthless. In an effort to try to better measure a movie’s overall performance, Culture Snob here offers the first of its weekly Box Office Power Rankings.

The 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-screen 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-screen 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.

In the listings below, the numbers in parentheses represent, respectively: box office, per-screen, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and total. For instance, Hot Fuzz gets two points for finishing ninth in overall box office, three points for finishing eighth in per-screen average, 10 points for having the highest Rotten Tomatoes score, and 10 points for having the highest highest Metacritic score, for a total of 25 points.

Box Office Power Rankings: May 18-20
(1) 28 Weeks Later (8, 8, 8, 9: 33)
(2) Shrek the Third (10, 10, 4, 4: 28)
(2) Spider-Man 3 (9, 9, 5, 5: 28)
(4) Fracture (5, 5, 9, 8: 27)
(5) Hot Fuzz (2, 3, 10, 10: 25)
(6) Disturbia (6, 6, 6, 6: 24)
(7) Blades of Glory (1, 4, 7, 7: 19)
(7) Georgia Rule (7, 7, 3, 2: 19)
(9) The Invisible (3, 1, 2, 3: 9)
(10) Delta Farce (4, 2, 1, 1: 8)

I’m open to suggestions on tweaking the formula.

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