Metacritic's First Annual Movie Studio Report Card

  • Comments: ↓ 14 user comments
  • Publish Date: January 27, 2010

Warner Bros. (incl. New Line)

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Summary of 2009 Films
Metascore Breakdown
Good / So-So / Bad:
23,58,19
Quality: Performance:
C– A

By any financial measure, Warner Bros. had a very good 2009. The studio finished in first place in overall market share for the second consecutive year, and also became the very first distributor to break the $2 billion domestic box office barrier.

Warner's domestic market share actually increased in 2009, from 2008's 18.4% to last year's 19.9%. Internationally, though the studio finished in third place, it collected another $1.85 billion.

Six Warner Bros. films topped the $100 million barrier (domestically), including the studio's two biggest hits of the year, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the somewhat unexpected comedy blockbuster The Hangover.

However, those two films were among just six Warner Bros. releases receiving mostly positive reviews from critics. (Indeed, Potter was Warner's best-reviewed film of the year.) The studio's C– quality grade stems from the fact that most of its releases fell deep within the "mediocre" category -- or worse. Yet those middling or negative reviews did not deter audiences from seeing many of these movies; The Blind Side and Sherlock Holmes are among several Warners releases that scored big box office in spite of less-than-glowing notices.

Warner's New Line label was responsible for many of those critically-shunned releases. The eight films -- mainly genre pictures and "chick flicks" -- released under the New Line banner received an average Metascore of just 42.3, and not one of those titles received generally favorable reviews from critics.

2009 Film Quality Overview - Warner Bros.
Total Releases # Great # Awful Avg. Metascore Avg. User Score
26 0 0 52.1 6.0
Low - Median - High: 28 - 51.5 - 78 Score Distribution: 28,44.8,51.5,57.8,78

In the Score Distribution chart, half of all scores (from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile) fall within the shaded box, with the vertical line in the middle of the box representing the median. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). The User Score is an average of scores submitted by Metacritic users, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 10 (good).

2009 Performance Overview - Warner Bros.
Category Total (in Millions) Rank Market Share
Domestic Gross $2,106 1st 19.9%
Foreign Gross $1,850 3rd 17%
Per-Film Average Gross $81.8 3rd  
# of Hits (Domestic Gross > $100M) 6 films 1st  

Per-Film Average is the average domestic gross of all films released during 2009, and includes receipts through January 25, 2010 for films still in theaters. Rank indicates the studio's ranking among the six major studios. Sources: Box Office Mojo, The Hollywood Reporter, and Metacritic staff research.

2009 Releases for Warner Bros.
Film Studio Domestic Gross* Metascore User Score
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceWarner Bros.$301,959,197786.6
Under the Sea 3DWarner Bros.$19,733,883775.4
InvictusWarner Bros.$35,805,147747.1
The HangoverWarner Bros.$277,322,503737.2
Where the Wild Things AreWarner Bros.$77,105,365716.5
The Informant!Warner Bros.$35,389,564665.5
The Invention of LyingWarner Bros.$18,451,251585.4
Sherlock HolmesWarner Bros.$191,076,852576.9
WatchmenWarner Bros.$125,322,469567.5
Observe and ReportWarner Bros.$24,007,324545.4
The Blind SideWarner Bros.$233,678,402536.6
ShortsWarner Bros.$20,919,166532.6
Terminator SalvationWarner Bros.$184,448,783526.0
My Sister's KeeperNew Line$49,200,230516.0
17 AgainNew Line$64,167,069485.6
He's Just Not That Into YouNew Line$93,953,653476.1
The Time Traveler's WifeNew Line$63,414,846477.0
InkheartNew Line$17,303,424477.0
The BoxWarner Bros.$15,051,977474.2
Chandni Chowk to ChinaWarner Bros.$921,738445.5
OrphanWarner Bros.$41,596,251427.2
Friday the 13th [2009]New Line$65,002,019346.8
Ghosts of Girlfriends PastNew Line$55,250,026344.7
Ninja AssassinWarner Bros.$38,038,354346.7
The Final DestinationNew Line$66,477,700304.8
WhiteoutWarner Bros.$10,275,638285.1

* Domestic Gross includes box office receipts through January 25, 2010 for films still in theaters. Source for grosses: Box Office Mojo.

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Comments (14)

  • This Week’s Mo  

    [...] a related note, Metacritic recently released its first annual report card on the major studios’ revenues for 2009, and Universal finished dead last. How terribly [...]

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  • djkparry  

    why is there no mention of Inglourious Basterds?

  • Lucas  

    Very interesting indeed. The only variable missing is the cost of each movie and a revenue/costs ratio.

  • Evan B.  

    Metacritic keeps getting better every day I come back to this website! Keep up the great articles, Metacritic!

  • John Busey  

    Go Zeitgeist! IV: I don't understand what your problem is. If the general public is rewarding the box office why can't critics, whose job it is to watch films all day long, reward what they like? Isn't that fair? I mean, if everyone liked the same thing you would be bored with that too. I think it's nice that critics and moviegoers are at odds. Keeps things interesting.

  • nathan  

    this is great! thank you for doing this..I've often thought this was an interesting topic to cover, just never thought anyone actually covered it this well. Great Job!

  • Collin  

    Regarding your assessment of Dr. Parnassus, I don't necessarily think it's the audiences fault that the film has failed to garner a substantial amount of money. It's the studio's promotion of the film. I haven't seen one advertisement on television, nor have I barely heard anything at all about it's release in the last few months. I know it's definitely an independent film, but the studio still could have (somewhat shamelessly) promoted more widely the fact that this was Ledger's last film, given it a wider release (it's had very limited showings in Sacramento), and then most certainly recoup the movie's budget domestically.

  • christi  

    Fantastic stuff! Well done!

  • IV  

    Yes, Metacritic's report LOOKS nice. However, it's FLAWED. Why? Check out the critics' scores under films, The Blind Side, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, etc. Moviegoers are the BEST CRITICS, not film critics. Until Metacritic develops a model that incorporates general audience reviews, their annual Studio Report Card will not mean much. Furthermore, how can non-major studios like Zeitgeist, Sony Classics get such high remarks and be taken seriously when their films DID NOT attract a wider audience. Previews and word-of-mouth are the top factors that draw moviegoers to the box office. So, it stands to reason that if a film released by non-majors are marketed to a niche "art house" audience. An audience that film critics tend to favor and identify with. Most film critics DO NOT identify with frequent moviegoers and vice versa. There are too many movies to count that critics panned but moviegoers LOVED repeatedly (and rewarded those films at the Box Office). And not talking about Transformers 2

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