Box Office Power Rankings: July 20-22, 2007

So Hairspray knocked the rat off its pedestal after three weeks at the top, ranking second or third in all four components of the Box Office Power Rankings to sneak past Pixar’s latest offering.

But I’m more interested in The Simpsons Movie. I have a bet with Mike Schulz, our frequent collaborator on Drunken Commentary Tracks. Basically, I think the movie will Grindhouse bomb, and he thinks it will rule the box office with a force not seen since ... well, at least a couple weeks ago.

Our bet: Two bottles of wine to me if The Simpsons Movie grosses less than $20 million in the U.S. its opening weekend. One bottle of wine to me between $20 million and $40 million. One bottle of wine to him $40 million to $60 million. And two bottles of wine to Mike if it rakes in more than $60 million.

Box Office Power Rankings: July 20-22, 2007
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-screen, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Hairspray (-; 8, 9, 9, 8: 34)
(2) Ratatouille (1; 6, 6, 10, 10: 32)
(3) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2; 9, 8, 6, 7: 30)
(4) I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (-; 10, 10, 2, 3: 25)
(5) Live Free or Die Hard (3; 5, 5, 7, 6: 23)
(6) Transformers (5; 7, 7, 4, 4: 22)
(7) Knocked Up (5; 1, 3, 8, 9: 21)
(8) 1408 (7; 3, 4, 5, 5: 17)
(9) Evan Almighty (9; 2, 2, 3, 2: 9)
(10) License to Wed (8; 4, 1, 1, 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.

I hope Mike doesn’t get to choose the price of the bottles, because two bottles of a great Burgundy can set you back hundreds, and you’d be screwed. Which is another way of saying that The Simpsons Movie grossed around $72 million last weekend.

We limited wine prices to between $8 and $12 a bottle. Mike requested a Shiraz and a Pinot Grigio, and received a Fat Bastard (just for fun) and a Coppola (movies and all), respectively.

He promises he’ll share when he comes over for dinner and a drunken commentary track on Moulin Rouge this weekend.

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