In a world where Rotten Tomatoes scores are obsessed over, there is another grading system Hollywood really cares about: the CinemaScore grade.
Since 1978, Hollywood has used the tool to predict how well a film will hold on at the box office, once the public finally sees it. The system is a good predictor for films that have legs.
Here's how it works: the CinemaScore people send out cards to theaters across the country on opening night and moviegoers fill out the cards. The grades go from A to F, and can also provide studios with a look at the demographics of a film's audience.
The current CinemaScore card also asks audiences if they would buy a copy of the movie they saw on DVD or Blu-Ray, or rend it On Demand.
Audiences are also asked why they went to the movie. Did they like the lead actor or actress? Is it their favorite genre? Did the subject matter or plot appeal to them? Did they see it because of the director?
Here are 10 recent films to notch an A+ CinemaScore rating. All box office data is from Box Office Mojo.
Photo Credit: Facebook / Warner Bros.
Disney and Pixar's critically acclaimed Coco earned the highest CinemaScore rating, notes The Wrap. The film is widely expected to win the 2017 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and was also nominated for Best Original Song for Rober Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez's "Remember Me."
The film is clear evidence that word of mouth can power a film, since it has grossed $715 million worldwide since its November release.
The first big blockbuster of 2018 was also beloved by the audience. Marvel and Disney's Black Panther is packing in audiences, and its A+ CinemaScore guarantees strong word of mouth after its opening weekend. It is tracking for a $200 million debut. It made $25 million on Thursday night alone.
Stephen Chbosky's film adaptation of R.J. Palacio's novel about Auggie, a child with facial deformity, won over audiences. Critics also loved Wonder, which earned an Oscar nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. The film connected with audiences on an unprecedented level, taking in $286.1 million worldwide since its November release.
Malcolm D. Lee's Girls Trip was one of the surprise hits of the summer, and audiences loved it. The film made a star out of Tiffany Haddish, who went on to host an episode of Saturday Night Live. Some even thought she would get an Oscar nomination, but she missed out on the award.
She did win Best Supporting Actress at the African-American Film Critics Association and earned several other nominations from critics groups. Girls Trip made $140 million worldwide after its July release.
Although none of the 2017 Best Picture Oscar nominees have A+ CinemaScore grades, the 2016 Best Picture group does have one A+ student: Hidden Figures. The inspiring story of three African American women who worked at NASA during the early days of the space program earned $235 million worldwide. The movie earned three Oscar nominations, although came home empty-handed.
Patriots Day is proof that not all A+ CinemaScore graded films become box office hits. Peter Berg's film about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, starring Mark Wahlberg, took in just $50.5 million after its debut in December 2016. And while the film was included on the National Board of Review's Top 10 Films of 2016, it failed to earn a single Oscar nomination.
Clint Eastwood's biopic about Chris Kyle, starring Bradley Cooper, was a big hit with audiences. Its box office success was a total shocker, taking in $350.1 million domestically alone. The film even did well in foreign territories, taking in $197.3 million. American Sniper was nominated for the 2014 Best Picture Oscar, and took home an award for Best Sound Editing.
At the beginning of 2015, audiences also loved Ava DuVernay's Selma. The film was critically acclaimed and was a big draw for audiences. However, Paramount's late release was partly to blame for its lack of Oscar nominations. It was only nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song. Common and John Legend did take home that Oscar though, thanks to the song "Glory." The Martin Luther King Jr. biopic made $66.7 million worldwide.
While Patriots Day failed financially, Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg's Lone Survivor was a big hit. The Afghanistan War movie earned two 2013 Oscar nominations for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. It made $154.8 million worldwide. Wahlberg starred as the leader of a team sent to kill a notorious Taliban leader.
Love it or hate it, Frozen became an indisputable phenomenon after it came out in November 2013. The Disney film is now the 10th highest-grossing film of all time, with $1.27 billion. The film won Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for "Let It Go." Disney is also working on a sequel, which will open in November 2019.