Box Office Power Rankings: August 17-19, 2007

Jason Bourne is so mean. He’s spent two weeks atop our Box Office Power Rankings, and now he won’t give up his place for those nice boys from Superbad.

The comedy from the Judd Apatow factory illustrates that even when you dominate the box office as Superbad did this past weekend, good reviews might not be good enough when it comes to Culture Snob’s system. Because it had lower Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores than three movies — The Bourne Identity, Hairspray, and The Simpsons MovieSuperbad had to settle for second place in our rankings.

Box Office Power Rankings: August 17-19, 2007
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-screen, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) The Bourne Ultimatum (1; 8, 8, 10, 10: 36)
(2) Superbad (-; 10, 10, 7, 7: 34)
(3) The Simpsons Movie (2; 7, 6, 8, 8: 29)
(4) Hairspray (2; 4, 4, 9, 9: 26)
(5) Rush Hour 3 (4; 9, 9, 3, 3: 24)
(6) Stardust (5; 5, 7, 5, 5: 22)
(7) The Invasion (-; 6, 5, 4, 4: 19)
(8) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (6; 2, 3, 6, 6: 17)
(9) I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (9; 1, 2, 2, 2: 7)
(9) Underdog (7; 3, 1, 1, 2: 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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