Box office tallies. You hate them. All they do is cause movie fans to become armchair studio gurus and justify the continued production of horrible big-budget movies with inflated opening weekend grosses.
But what if we could rejigger the whole formula so that we had a much better idea of what makes a film "successful"? WE CAN!
At PopcornBiz we've come up with a proprietary new SABRemetric-style (see "Moneyball") moviegoing formula that makes the weekend box office numbers only a small fraction of how we statistically grade movies.
We call it the PBCS standings.
Here's how it works: We've put together an actual formula that considers not just gross box, but also staying power, critical reception and the film's budget. Is it better than box office rankings? O HELLZ YEZ it is. We used MATH! For example, here are your weekend box office rankings, according to Box Office Mojo:
1. Lion King 3D - $22.1M
2. Moneyball - $20.6M
3. Dolphin Tale - $20.3M
4. Abduction - $11.2M
5. Killer Elite - $9.5M
6. Contagion - $8.6M
7. Drive - $5.8M
8. The Help - $4.4M
9. Straw Dogs - $2.1M
10. I Don't Know How She Does It - $2M
Can you believe that many people went and paid money to see "Abduction"? Me too! So here is what our weekend ranking looks like when we apply our formula:
1. Lion King 3D - 393
2. Moneyball - 247
3. Dolphin Tale - 169
4. The Help - 153
5. Drive - 125
6. Contagion – 68
7. I Don't Know How She Does It - 11
8. Killer Elite - 5
9. Straw Dogs - 3
10. Abduction - 1
See? Isn't that much better? The top three remain the same, largely because those movies earned well AND were praised by critics ("The Lion King," of course, is an outlier since it's a classic film being rereleased). But doesn't it put Taylor Lautner and his enormous neck precisely where they belong in the film hierarchy? I say yes. This kid is all kinds of handsome, and he's got a huge following thanks to the Twi-hards, but looking at these numbers it's clear that unless his dreamy six-pack is morphing into a snarling lycanthrope, folks—not even acritical teen girls--can't be bothered.
We have to confess to being stunned--STUNNED--by how well "Dolphin Tale" did. We hadn't even heard of it until two weeks ago, the lesson being never underestimate the allure of a dolphin with a robotic tail. Meanwhile, "The Help" continues to display great straying power, weeks after it surprised everyone with its strong opening, while big-budget dogs like "Killer Elite" get buried.
Do not question the PBCS standings. You will be mathematically thrashed if you do.
NEXT WEEK: "50/50" Runs the table, unless "The Lion King" keeps performing like a new release.