Box Office Power Rankings: April 18-27, 2008

sarahmarshall.jpgWelcome to summer movie season, now officially begun on the first weekend of May thanks to our friends at Iron Man. That blockbuster wannabe will be followed in short order by Speed Racer, Narnia’s second installment, and Indiana Jones before Memorial Day.

Closing out the ever-modest spring movie season, Forgetting Sarah Marshall notched one outright victory and one shared victory in our Box Office Power Rankings, scoring a mild upset by tying Baby Mama in last weekend’s rankings.

Looking ahead, May looks pretty safe in terms of box office; you should be able to predict the champion in our rankings with little risk of being wrong.

June, on the other hand, looks to be full of potential critical and commercial flops: The Happening, The Incredible Hulk, Get Smart, The Love Guru — and that’s just in two weekends. Even Pixar’s Wall-E looks a little risky, but then again, I thought nobody would go see a movie called Ratatouille.

Box Office Power Rankings: April 18-20, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (-; 9, 9, 10, 9: 37)
(2) The Forbidden Kingdom (-; 10, 10, 8, 8: 36)
(3) Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (2; 3, 2, 9, 10: 24)
(4) Nim’s Island (5; 6, 5, 6, 6: 23)
(5) Prom Night (7; 8, 8, 3, 2: 21)
(6) Street Kings (1; 4, 3, 5, 6: 18)
(7) Leatherheads (3; 2, 1, 7, 7: 17)
(7) 88 Minutes (-; 7, 7, 1, 2: 17)
(7) 21 (6; 5, 4, 4, 4: 17)
(10) Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (-; 1, 6, 3, 3: 13)

Box Office Power Rankings: April 25-27, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Baby Mama (-; 10, 10, 7, 7: 34)
(1) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (1; 7, 8, 9, 9: 34)
(3) Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (-; 9, 9, 7, 7: 31)
(3) The Forbidden Kingdom (2; 8, 7, 8, 8: 31)
(5) Nim’s Island (4; 6, 4, 5, 7: 22)
(5) Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (3; 2, 1, 9, 10: 22)
(7) 21 (7; 4, 3, 4, 4: 15)
(8) Prom Night (5; 5, 5, 2, 2: 14)
(9) 88 Minutes (7; 3, 6, 1, 2: 12)
(10) Deception (-; 1, 2, 3, 3: 9)

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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