Box Office Power Rankings: February 29-March 2, 2008

semi-pro.jpgThe lesson from this week’s Box Office Power Rankings is that sometimes the winner tells you more about its competitors than itself.

The Spiderwick Chronicles, in its third week in release, topped the rankings this week after finishing third last week. That could mean that its relative box-office fortunes have improved — that audiences have finally found it — or it could mean that it had shitty competition. It had shitty competition. (Spiderwick’s per-theater average has dropped each week.)

Semi-Pro or The Other Boleyn Girl could have easily won this week’s contest with anything better than middling reviews. Alas, “middling” is somewhat generous.

Box Office Power Rankings: February 29-March 2, 2008
(Rank) Movie (last week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) The Spiderwick Chronicles (3; 8, 5, 9, 9: 31)
(2) The Other Boleyn Girl (-; 7, 10, 6, 7: 30)
(3) Semi-Pro (-; 10, 9, 3, 4: 26)
(3) No Country for Old Men (-; 3, 3, 10, 10: 26)
(5) Vantage Point (1; 9, 8, 5, 3: 25)
(6) Penelope (-; 2, 7, 7, 5: 21)
(7) Step Up 2 the Streets (5; 5, 4, 4, 7: 20)
(8) Definitely, Maybe (6; 1, 1, 8, 8: 18)
(9) Jumper (3; 6, 6, 2, 2: 16)
(10) Fool’s Gold (10; 4, 2, 1, 1: 8)


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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