Box Office Power Rankings: October 31-November 2, 2008

zackandmiri.jpgThe consensus that Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Clint Eastwood’s Changeling were poor performers — the weakest Halloween weekend in a decade! — certainly isn’t based on the track records of the filmmakers.

Smith’s bawdy comedy debuted with a little more than $10 million, while Eastwood’s missing-child drama brought in $9.4 million in expanded release. Those numbers might not be good for that particular weekend (compared to previous years), but they’re in line with Smith’s and Eastwood’s recent careers.

Zack and Miri is Smith’s second-best opening weekend, a million dollars behind Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and just a hair ahead of Clerks 2. Considering the number of screens it opened on, Zack and Miri is at worst a very mild disappointment compared to those two but is otherwise exactly what one might have guessed.

Similarly, Changeling’s first weekend of wide release was slightly off the peak performances of Flags of Our Fathers and Mystic River, and nearly $3 million off Million Dollar Baby’s Oscar-buzz wide release. Downright predictable.

So while neither was able to knock High School Musical 3 from its box-office or Box Office Power Rankings pedestals, you’d have been a fool to expect them to.

Box Office Power Rankings: October 31-November 2, 2008
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1High School Musical 3: Senior Year110 ($15.3M)9 ($4.2K)10 (67)9 (57)38
2Changeling-7 ($9.4M)10 ($5.1K)7 (54)10 (63)34
3Zack and Miri Make a Porno-9 ($10.1M)8 ($3.7K)9 (65)7 (55)33
4The Secret Life of Bees24 ($4.0M)6 ($2.5K)8 (58)9 (57)27
5Saw V58 ($9.7M)7 ($3.2K)2 (12)1 (19)18
5Beverly Hills Chihuahua75 ($4.9M)3 ($1.6K)6 (40)4 (41)18
7The Haunting of Molly Hartley-6 ($5.4M)5 ($2.0K)1 (4)3 (32)15
7Eagle Eye102 ($3.5M)4 ($1.7K)4 (28)5 (43)15
9Pride and Glory41 ($3.4M)1 ($1.3K)5 (35)6 (45)13
10Max Payne83 ($3.7M)2 ($1.4K)3 (21)2 (31)10


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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