Box Office Power Rankings: May 25-28, 2007

As expected, the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie dominated the Memorial Day box office, but $142 million was no match for the feisty limited-release Waitress in Culture Snob’s Box Office Power Rankings. Adrienne Shelly’s film used strong reviews and a blockbuster-worthy per-screen average to land atop this week’s ratings, even though it ranked fifth in overall box office.

Pirates of the Caribbean tied 28 Weeks Later for second place, with middling reviews sinking Jack Sparrow and company. To overtake Waitress, Pirates needed to score 67 at Rotten Tomatoes (instead of 47) and 63 at Metacritic (instead of 50).

Spider-Man 3 and Shrek the Third rounded out the top five.

Box Office Power Rankings: May 25-28
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-screen, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Waitress (-; 6, 8, 10, 9: 33)
(2) 28 Weeks Later (1; 5, 3, 9, 10: 27)
(2) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (-; 10, 10, 4, 3: 27)
(4) Spider-Man 3 (2; 8, 7, 6, 5: 26)
(5) Shrek the Third (2; 9, 9, 3, 4: 25)
(6) Bug (-; 7, 5, 5, 7: 24)
(7) Fracture (4; 2, 4, 9, 8: 23)
(8) Disturbia (6; 4, 2, 7, 6: 19)
(9) Wild Hogs (-; 1, 6, 1, 2: 10)
(10) Georgia Rule (7; 3, 1, 2, 1: 7)

Methodology

Culture Snob’s Box Office Power Rankings balance box office and critical reception to create a better measure of a movie’s overall performance against its peers.

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-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.

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