Box Office Power Rankings: November 13-December 13, 2009

new-moon.jpgThe Box Office Power Rankings do not like the Twilight movies. We are not fooled by the excitement or ticket-buying power of teenage girls. We are on Team No One. (Did I do that right?)

Neither movie has ever finished better than third place in the Box Office Power Rankings. We are confident that this validates our methods.

The first movie in the series was hammered by stiff competition. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 44, it was 10th in the top 10 its opening weekend. To put that in context, New Moon’s 28 netted it a seventh-place finish in the Rotten Tomatoes criterion its first weekend. (Thank you, Couples Retreat, The Fourth Kind, and Planet 51.)

But the reality is that neither of these movies, given Thanksgiving release, is ever really in the Box Office Power Rankings conversation, even though they’re mostly avoiding the end-of-year Oscar bait. They might be ATMs for the studio, but without even better-than-mediocre reviews, they’re DOA in this neighborhood.

And that means there’s lots of room for movies that are more ... colorful. These five weeks of rankings feature wins by Precious (twice), The Blind Side (twice), and The Princess and the Frog, and a second-place debut by Invictus.

Box Office Power Rankings: November 13-15, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire-8 ($5.9M)10 ($33.8K)10 (91)10 (79)38
2Disney’s A Christmas Carol19 ($22.3M)8 ($6.1K)7 (55)7 (55)31
32012-10 ($65.2M)9 ($19.2K)4 (39)5 (49)28
4The Men Who Stare at Goats47 ($5.9M)7 ($2.4K)6 (54)6 (54)26
4Michael Jackson’s This Is It26 ($5.1M)4 ($1.7K)8 (80)8 (67)26
6Paranormal Activity33 ($4M)2 ($1.5K)9 (82)9 (68)23
7The Fourth Kind65 ($4.6M)5 ($1.8K)2 (18)3 (34)15
8Law Abiding Citizen82 ($3.8M)6 ($1.8K)3 (24)3 (34)14
9The Box71 ($3.2M)1 ($1.2K)5 (45)4 (47)11
10Couples Retreat104 ($4.2M)3 ($1.7K)1 (12)1 (23)9
Box Office Power Rankings: November 20-22, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire15 ($10.9M)9 ($17.3K)10 (91)10 (79)34
2The Blind Side-9 ($34.1M)8 ($11K)8 (71)6 (53)31
3The Twilight Saga: New Moon-10 ($142.8M)10 ($35.5K)4 (28)4 (44)28
4Disney’s A Christmas Carol26 ($12.3M)5 ($3.4K)7 (55)8 (55)26
5201238 ($26.4M)7 ($7.7K)5 (39)5 (49)25
6The Men Who Stare at Goats44 ($2.8M)4 ($1.4K)6 (54)7 (54)21
7Michael Jackson’s This Is It41 ($1.6M)1 ($1K)9 (80)9 (67)20
8Planet 51-7 ($12.3M)6 ($4K)3 (23)3 (39)19
9The Fourth Kind72 ($1.7M)2 ($1.1K)2 (18)2 (34)8
9Couples Retreat103 ($1.9M)3 ($1.1K)1 (12)1 (23)8
Box Office Power Rankings: November 25-29, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1The Blind Side29 ($57.5M)10 ($18.3K)8 (71)6 (53)33
2Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire12 ($9.4M)8 ($14.2K)9 (91)9 (79)28
3Disney’s A Christmas Carol46 ($22.1M)6 ($7.3K)7 (55)8 (55)27
4The Twilight Saga: New Moon310 ($66.3M)9 ($16.4K)3 (28)4 (44)26
4Fantastic Mr. Fox-3 ($9.4M)3 ($4.6K)10 (92)10 (83)26
6201258 ($25.2M)5 ($7.3K)5 (39)5 (49)23
7Ninja Assassin-5 ($21.2M)7 ($8.5K)4 (31)2 (34)18
8The Men Who Stare at Goats61 ($2.2M)1 ($1.9K)6 (54)7 (54)15
9Old Dogs-7 ($24.2M)4 ($7.1K)1 (5)1 (19)13
10Planet 5184 ($13.9M)2 ($4.6K)2 (23)3 (39)11
Box Office Power Rankings: December 4-6, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1The Blind Side110 ($20M)10 ($6K)10 (71)8 (53)38
2Brothers-8 ($9.5M)9 ($4.6K)9 (57)10 (58)36
3Disney’s A Christmas Carol37 ($7.8M)6 ($3K)8 (55)9 (55)30
4Armored-4 ($6.5M)7 ($3.4K)7 (47)7 (50)25
5The Twilight Saga: New Moon49 ($15.4M)8 ($3.7K)3 (28)4 (44)24
6201265 ($6.8M)5 ($2.1K)5 (39)6 (49)21
7Everybody’s Fine-1 ($3.9M)2 ($1.8K)6 (46)5 (47)14
8Ninja Assassin73 ($5.1M)4 ($2K)4 (31)2 (34)13
9Old Dogs96 ($6.9M)3 ($2K)1 (5)1 (19)11
10Planet 51102 ($4.4M)1 ($1.5K)2 (23)3 (39)8
Box Office Power Rankings: December 11-13, 2009
Box Office RanksCritics’ Ranks
RankMovieLast WeekGrossPer TheaterRotten TomatoesMetacriticTotal
1The Princess and the Frog-10 ($24.2M)10 ($7K)10 (82)9 (73)39
2Invictus-8 ($8.6M)8 ($4.1K)9 (77)10 (74)35
3The Blind Side19 ($15.1M)9 ($4.4K)8 (71)6 (53)32
4Brothers25 ($5M)6 ($2.4K)7 (57)8 (58)26
4Disney’s A Christmas Carol36 ($6.8M)7 ($2.8K)6 (55)7 (55)26
6The Twilight Saga: New Moon57 ($8M)4 ($2.2K)2 (28)3 (44)16
6201263 ($4.4M)5 ($2.4K)4 (39)4 (49)16
8Armored42 ($3.5M)3 ($1.8K)5 (47)5 (50)15
9Old Dogs94 ($4.4M)2 ($1.4K)1 (5)1 (19)8
10Ninja Assassin81 ($2.7M)1 ($1.3K)3 (31)2 (34)7

Methodology

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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