Box Office Power Rankings: September 7-9, 2007

It must be the fall movie season, because last weekend’s box-office champ brought in all of $14 million. What we’ll discover in the coming months is how the youthful Box Office Power Rankings (started in May) react to an autumn environment, with its decidedly different dynamic. My guess is that absent summer blockbusters, critical reception will carry more weight.

That hypothesis didn’t get tested this past weekend, because James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma did well with audiences and critics alike, topping our rankings and knocking Superbad from the number-one spot.

Box Office Power Rankings: September 7-9, 2007
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-screen, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) 3:10 to Yuma (-; 10, 10, 8, 9: 37)
(2) Superbad (1; 8, 7, 9, 9: 33)
(3) The Bourne Ultimatum (2; 6, 5, 10, 10: 31)
(4) Shoot ’Em Up (-; 7, 8, 6, 5: 26)
(5) Halloween (3; 9, 9, 2, 4: 24)
(6) Mr. Bean’s Holiday (4; 3, 6, 5, 6: 20)
(7) Stardust (6; 1, 1, 7, 7: 16)
(8) Balls of Fury (5; 5, 4, 3, 1: 13)
(9) The Nanny Diaries (7; 2, 2, 4, 3: 11)
(10) Rush Hour 3 (7; 4, 3, 1, 2: 10)

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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