Box Office Power Rankings: September 21-23, 2007

I wasn’t surprised that David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises topped this week’s Box Office Power Rankings, but I was surprised by the margin. Even though the Russian-mob movie took fifth place in overall box office this past weekend (its first in wide release), its per-theater average and enthusiastic reviews gave it an easy victory.

Perhaps that’s a little less impressive when you consider that its new-release competition was box-office champ Resident Evil: Extinction (Rotten Tomatoes score: 26), Good Luck Chuck (Rotten Tomatoes: 3!), and Sydney White (Rotten Tomatoes: 39).

Box Office Power Rankings: September 21-23, 2007
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Eastern Promises (-; 6, 8, 9, 9: 32)
(2) Resident Evil: Extinction (-; 10, 10, 4, 4: 28)
(3) The Brave One (2; 8, 7, 6, 6: 27)
(3) 3:10 to Yuma (1; 7, 4, 8, 8: 27)
(5) The Bourne Ultimatum (4; 2, 3, 10, 10: 25)
(6) Superbad (3; 3, 2, 8, 8: 21)
(6) Sydney White (-; 5, 6, 5, 5: 21)
(8) Good Luck Chuck (-; 9, 9, 1, 1: 20)
(9) Mr. Woodcock (5; 4, 5, 2, 3: 14)
(10) Dragon Wars (D-War) (6; 1, 1, 3, 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-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.

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