Box Office Power Rankings: May 16-June 1, 2008

indianajones.jpgThe few weeks that I neglected the Box Office Power Rankings featured two hotly anticipated movies — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Sex and the City — as well as the second chapter in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Iron Man kicked all their asses, with a little help.

I’m guessing its five-week reign atop our chart will end this week, but it has been an impressive run. Beating Speed Racer is one thing, but besting Indy?

Dr. Jones simply didn’t have the critical juice, even though his movie tied for the crown in its second week of release. Opening weekend, it was hamstrung not by a giant metal man but by The Visitor, whose pesky presence in the box-office top 10 relegated Indiana Jones to fourth place in both of our critical criteria.

Sex and the City was doomed in the Power Rankings by its mediocre reviews. And can you recall a movie that this many critics have dismissed with such aggression and preemptive defensiveness? Roger Ebert: “I am not the person to review this movie.” Jim Emerson: “Nobody has enough money to pay me to go see Sex and the City.”

By the way, the minimum price for me to see it is $1,182.16, plus expenses, with no guarantee that I’ll stay awake.

Box Office Power Rankings: May 16-18, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Iron Man (1; 9, 9, 10, 9: 37)
(2) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (-; 10, 10, 7, 7: 34)
(3) The Visitor (-; 1, 7, 10, 10: 27)
(4) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2; 4, 4, 8, 8: 24)
(5) Baby Mama (3; 5, 5, 6, 4: 20)
(6) Speed Racer (4; 7, 6, 3, 3: 19)
(6) What Happens in Vegas (5; 8, 8, 2, 1: 19)
(8) Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (6; 3, 2, 4, 6: 15)
(8) The Forbidden Kingdom (6; 2, 1, 6, 6: 15)
(10) Made of Honor (8; 6, 3, 1, 3: 13)

Box Office Power Rankings: May 23-26, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Iron Man (1; 8, 8, 10, 9: 35)
(2) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (-; 10, 10, 7, 7: 34)
(3) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2; 9, 9, 6, 6: 30)
(4) The Visitor (3; 1, 6, 9, 10: 26)
(5) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (4; 3, 5, 8, 8: 24)
(6) What Happens in Vegas (6; 7, 7, 2, 1: 17)
(6) Baby Mama (5; 4, 4, 5, 4: 17)
(8) Speed Racer (6; 6, 2, 3, 3: 14)
(9) Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (8; 2, 1, 4, 5: 12)
(9) Made of Honor (10; 5, 3, 1, 3: 12)

Box Office Power Rankings: May 30-June 1, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2; 9, 9, 8, 8: 34)
(1) Iron Man (1; 7, 7, 10, 10: 34)
(3) Sex and the City (-; 10, 10, 5, 5: 30)
(4) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (3; 6, 6, 7, 7: 26)
(5) The Strangers (-; 8, 8, 4, 4: 24)
(6) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (5; 1, 4, 9, 9: 23)
(7) Baby Mama (6; 3, 3, 6, 6: 18)
(8) What Happens in Vegas (6; 5, 5, 2, 1: 13)
(9) Speed Racer (8; 4, 2, 3, 3: 12)
(10) Made of Honor (9; 2, 1, 1, 3: 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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