Box Office Power Rankings: August 8-10, 2008

gonewind.jpgBecause nobody has pushed The Dark Knight off its perch (either in the weekly box-office-receipts charts or in our Box Office Power Rankings) ... .

When Batman ($445 million through August 11) knocks Star Wars ($461 million) off as the second-highest-grossing movie in domestic-box-office history — which should happen this weekend — please keep the accomplishment in perspective.

Adjusted for ticket-price inflation, The Dark Knight at that point will still need nearly $130 million in additional gross before it even cracks the top 20. And it will need roughly $800 million more to catch Star Wars in inflation-adjusted revenues ($1.26 billion).

But let’s keep that in perspective. The Dark Knight exists in a culture with frenzied competition for your attention and your leisure dollars. When Star Wars opened, the moving-picture options available in my house were limited to three networks and the three other movies playing at our local cinema.

So while I don’t think it’s fair to say with a straight face that The Dark Knight will have beaten Star Wars at the box office after this weekend, it’s just as unfair to say it’s almost a billion dollars short of Gone with the Wind ($1.43 billion in inflation-adjusted receipts). The truth lies somewhere in between.

Box Office Power Rankings: August 8-10

Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1The Dark Knight110 ($26.1M)9 ($6.5K)9 (94)9 (82)37
2Pineapple Express-9 ($23.2M)10 ($7.6K)8 (698 (64)35
3The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2-7 ($10.7M)7 ($3.9K)7 (65)7 (63)28
4WALL•E52 ($3.1M)2 ($1.5K)10 (97)10 (93)24
5Step Brothers26 ($9.1M)6 ($2.9K)4 (51)4 (50)20
5Journey to the Center of the Earth24 ($4.9M)4 ($2.5K)6 (61)6 (57)20
5Mamma Mia!25 ($8.2M)5 ($2.6K)5 (54)5 (51)20
8The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor68 ($16.5M)8 ($4.4K)1 (11)1 (31)18
9Hancock83 ($3.3M)3 ($1.5K)2 (38)3 (49)11
10Swing Vote71 ($3.1M)1 ($1.4K)3 (39)2 (47)7


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.

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