Box Office Power Rankings: February 6-16, 2009

friday-13th.jpgCoraline won our Box Office Power Rankings for the past two weekends, and its success forces me to make two confessions: (1) I felt a touch ashamed and flawed for not adoring Henry Selick’s two previous stop-motion features (The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach), and (2) I loved his live-action/animation hybrid Monkeybone. My memories of those three movies are too faded to justify or explain myself, and I haven’t seen Coraline, but my conscience is now clear.

Let’s move on.

What could possible explain Friday the 13th’s $43.6-million holiday-weekend take? Let’s be honest: The first one sucked — yes, I have seen it as an adult — and the movies didn’t exactly improve as the franchise progressed. The series proper (1980’s first installment through 2002’s Jason in Space [I know, I know]) has gotten less popular as it’s gone on, with its domestic gross shrinking in spite of inflation. (The order, from highest box office to lowest, is 1, 3, 4, 5, 2, 6, 7, 9, 8, 10.) Sure, Freddy Vs. Jason opened with $36.4 million in 2003, but it’s a special case of synergy.

To the surprise of no one, a remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is in pre-production. So what’s next on the 1970s/’80s horror/sci-fi list? Poltergeist? RoboCop?

I’m generally not bothered by remakes/reboots/re-imaginings, and I certainly believe fresh eyes and contexts can find new uses for recycled material. But Friday the 13th was a threadbare knock-off of a movie that skated by (quite well, admittedly) on technique over originality.

And audiences reward this shit by showing up.

Incidentally, Monkeybone barely made $5 million in theaters in the United States — about $8 million less than the lowest-grossing Friday the 13th. But I’m not bitter.

Box Office Power Rankings: February 6-8, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1Coraline-8 ($16.8M)9 ($7.3K)9 (88)9 (79)35
2He’s Just Not That Into You-10 ($27.8M)10 ($8.8K)5 (42)5 (47)30
2Taken29 ($20.5M)8 ($6.5K)7 (55)6 (50)30
2Slumdog Millionaire14 ($7.2M)6 ($4.2K)10 (94)10 (86)30
5Gran Torino33 ($7.2M)2 ($2.6K)8 (77)8 (72)21
6Paul Blart: Mall Cop76 ($10.9M)4 ($3.4K)3 (27)3 (39)16
6Push-5 ($10.1M)7 ($4.4K)2 (25)2 (36)16
8The Pink Panther 2-7 ($11.6M)5 ($3.6K)1 (11)2 (36)15
8Hotel for Dogs41 ($5.7M)1 ($2.1K)6 (45)7 (51)15
10The Uninvited52 ($6.3M)3 ($2.7K)4 (33)4 (43)13
Box Office Power Rankings: February 13-16, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1Coraline17 ($18.9M)9 ($8.1K)9 (88)9 (79)34
2Taken28 ($21.8M)6 ($7.0K)8 (55)7 (50)29
3He’s Just Not That Into You29 ($22.3M)7 ($7.0K)6 (42)6 (47)28
4Slumdog Millionaire22 ($8.7M)5 ($5.3K)10 (94)10 (86)27
5Friday the 13th-10 ($43.6M)10 ($14.0K)5 (29)1 (34)26
6The International-3 ($10.7M)3 ($4.5K)7 (53)8 (52)21
7Confessions of a Shopaholic-6 ($17.8M)8 ($7.1K)2 (21)4 (38)20
8Paul Blart: Mall Cop65 ($13.6M)4 ($4.6K)4 (27)5 (39)18
9Push61 ($8.0M)2 ($3.5K)3 (25)3 (36)9
9The Pink Panther 284 ($10.8M)1 ($3.3K)1 (11)3 (36)9


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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