In 2008, only one movie got a perfect score in the Box Office Power Rankings: Iron Man, twice in May.
In the second weekend of January, we already have our first perfect score of 2009: for Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.
At the outset, I will note that a perfect score says more about a movie’s circumstances than it does the movie itself. The Dark Knight was, by a hair, a better movie than Iron Man in critics’ eyes, yet it opened with WALL•E in theaters, thus blocking its chance at a 40 in our weekly contest.
Gran Torino joins the rarefied company of Iron Man and The Bourne Ultimatum with its Box Office Power Rankings perfection. (Our rankings were launched in mid-2007.) But it’s the lesser of the three. Eastwood’s movie has a combined Rotten Tomaotes/Metacritic score of 148, compared to Bourne’s 179 and Iron Man’s 171.
From that, we can see that Gran Torino benefited from relatively weak competition in the box-office top 10.
|Box Office Power Rankings: January 9-11, 2009|
|Box Office Ranks||Critics’ Ranks|
|Rank||Movie||Last Week||Gross||Per Theater||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Total|
|1||Gran Torino||-||10 ($29.5M)||10 ($10.5K)||10 (76)||10 (72)||40|
|2||The Curious Case of Benjamin Button||1||6 ($9.2M)||5 ($3.1K)||9 (73)||9 (69)||29|
|3||Marley and Me||1||7 ($11.4M)||6 ($3.3K)||8 (59)||7 (53)||28|
|4||Valkyrie||4||4 ($6.6M)||3 ($2.3K)||7 (58)||8 (56)||22|
|5||The Unborn||-||8 ($19.8M)||9 ($8.4K)||2 (12)||2 (30)||21|
|5||Not Easily Broken||-||2 ($5.3M)||8 ($7.3K)||6 (42)||5 (43)||21|
|7||Bride Wars||-||9 ($21.1M)||7 ($6.5K)||2 (12)||1 (24)||19|
|8||Yes Man||6||3 ($6.0M)||2 ($2.0K)||6 (42)||6 (46)||17|
|9||Bedtime Stories||6||5 ($8.8M)||4 ($2.5K)||3 (23)||3 (33)||15|
|10||Seven Pounds||9||1 ($3.8M)||1 ($1.6K)||4 (27)||4 (36)||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.