Box Office Power Rankings: July 25-27, 2008

titanic.jpgAfter two weekends, the only question remaining about The Dark Knight’s box-office prowess is whether it will become the all-time domestic champion, toppling Titanic. It’s unlikely, but Christopher Nolan’s second Batman movie is a very good bet to unseat Star Wars from second place, as long as we don’t consider pesky factors such as inflation.

Titanic earned nearly $601 million in the U.S., while Star Wars has grossed $461 million. After 10 days, The Dark Knight stands at nearly $314 million.

That’s a big gap, but if Batman follows the lead of Iron Man, he’ll be north of $550 million — well ahead of George Lucas and within spittin’ distance of James Cameron. Iron Man has earned roughly 44 percent of its gross since its second weekend, after which it stood at $178 million.

And if The Dark Knight has anywhere close to the staying power of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet — who topped the box office for 15 consecutive weeks — Titanic might be sunk.

But Cameron shouldn’t sweat too much — yet. The Dark Knight lost a greater percentage of its business in weekend two (52 percent) than Iron Man at the same point in its release (48 percent).

(And while I can’t prove it, this was written before Variety came to the same conclusion.)

Box Office Power Rankings: July 25-27, 2008
(Rank) Movie (previous week; box office, per-theater, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic: total)
(1) The Dark Knight (1; 10, 10, 9, 9: 38)
(2) WALL•E (2; 4, 4, 10, 10: 28)
(3) Mamma Mia! (4; 8, 8, 5, 5: 26)
(3) Step Brothers (-; 9, 9, 4, 4: 26)
(5) Journey to the Center of the Earth (4; 6, 7, 6, 6: 25)
(6) Hellboy II: The Golden Army (3; 3, 2, 8, 8: 21)
(7) The X-Files: I Want to Believe (-; 7, 6, 1, 3: 17)
(8) Hancock (6; 5, 5, 3, 3: 16)
(8) Wanted (7; 1, 1, 7, 7: 16)
(10) Space Chimps (10; 2, 3, 2, 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 than gross receipts alone.

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.

Leave a comment