Box Office Power Rankings: May 2-4, 2008

ironman.jpgSo the 2008 summer-movie season begins the way the last ended: with a perfect score.

Iron Man became the first movie since The Bourne Ultimatum in August to top all four of the Box Office Power Rankings criteria. That Jon Favreau’s movie will win our title next week is all but assured, and there’s a good chance that it will retain all of its 40 points — which would be a first.

The only way that won’t happen is if people actually go to see Speed Racer, and I can’t fathom living in a world in which they do.

Then again, our world is often unfathomable to me ... .

Box Office Power Rankings: May 2-4, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Iron Man (-; 10, 92, 10, 10: 40)
(2) Baby Mama (1; 8, 61, 6, 6: 30)
(2) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (1; 6, 84, 9, 9: 30)
(4) Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (3; 7, 54, 6, 7: 27)
(5) The Forbidden Kingdom (3; 5, 61, 8, 8: 26)
(6) Made of Honor (-; 9, 12, 3, 3: 24)
(7) Nim’s Island (5; 4, 48, 5, 6: 19)
(8) 21 (7; 2, 31, 4, 4: 12)
(9) Prom Night (8; 3, 9, 2, 2: 10)
(10) 88 Minutes (9; 1, 6, 1, 2: 5)

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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