CinemaScore is a market research firm based in Las Vegas. It surveys film audiences to rate their viewing experiences with letter grades, reports the results, and forecasts box office receipts based on the data.

Private company
IndustryMarketing research
Founded1979 (1979)
FounderEd Mintz
ProductsMovies ratings


Ed Mintz founded CinemaScore in 1979 after disliking The Cheap Detective despite being a fan of Neil Simon, and hearing another disappointed attendee wanting to hear the opinions of ordinary people instead of critics. A Yom Kippur donation card with tabs inspired the survey cards given to audience members.[1] The company conducts surveys to audiences who have seen a film in theaters, asking them to rate the film and specifying what drew them to the film. Its results are published in Entertainment Weekly. CinemaScore also conducts surveys to determine audience interest in renting films on video, breaking the demographic down by age and sex and passing along information to video companies such as Fox Video Corporation.[2]

CinemaScore pollster Dede Gilmore reported the trend in 1993, "Most movies get easily a B-plus. I think people come wanting the entertainment. They have high expectations. They're more lenient with their grades. But as (moviegoers) do it more and more, they get to be stronger critics". In 1993, films that were graded with an A included Scent of a Woman, A Few Good Men and Falling Down. Films graded with a B included Sommersby and Untamed Heart. A C-grade film for the year was Body of Evidence.[2]

CinemaScore at first reported its findings to consumers, including a newspaper column and a radio show. After 20th Century Fox approached the company in 1989, it began selling the data to studios instead.[1] A website was launched by CinemaScore in 1999, after three years' delay in which the president sought sponsorship from magazines and video companies. Brad Peppard was president of CinemaScore Online from 1999 to 2002.[3] The website included a database of nearly 2,000 feature films and the audiences' reactions to them. Prior to the launch, CinemaScore results had been published in Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reno Gazette-Journal. CinemaScore's expansion to the Internet included a weekly email subscription for cinephiles to keep up with reports of audience reactions.[4]

In 1999, CinemaScore was rating approximately 140 films a year, including 98–99% of major studio releases. For each film, employees polled 400–500 moviegoers in three of CinemaScore's 15 sites, which included the cities Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, Phoenix, and Coral Springs.[4]

In the summer of 2002, CinemaScore reported that the season had the biggest collective grade since 1995. In the summer of 2000, 25 out of 32 films received either an A or B grade. Twenty-six of the summer of 2001's 30 films got similar grades, while 32 of the summer of 2002's 34 films got similar grades, the latter being the highest ratio in a decade.[5]

Since July 2014, CinemaScore reports its results also on Twitter,[6] and from January 16, 2016, it began with Collateral Beauty to use for each of them an image with the movie poster on the left and the grade obtained on the right.[7]

Usually, only films that open in more than 1,500 screens are polled and reported on CinemaScore's website and social media. The distributor of a film that opens in fewer screens can optionally contract with CinemaScore for a private survey, whose result would be disclosed only to the client.[8]


CinemaScore describes itself as "the industry leader in measuring movie appeal".[9] There are 35 to 45 teams of CinemaScore representatives present in 25 large cities across North America. Each Friday, representatives in five randomly chosen cities give opening-day audiences a small survey card.[10][11][12] The card asks for age, gender, a grade for the film (A, B, C, D or F), whether they would rent or buy the film on DVD or Blu-ray, and why they chose the film.[11] CinemaScore typically receives about 400 cards per film;[13] the company estimates a 65% response rate and 6% margin of error.[12]

An overall grade of A+ and F is calculated as the average of the grades given by responders. In this case, grades other than F are qualified with a plus (high end), minus (low end) or neither (middle). The ratings are divided by gender and age groups (under 21, 21–34, 35 and up).[4] Film studios and other subscribers receive the data at about 11 p.m. Pacific Time. CinemaScore publishes letter grades to the public on social media and, although the detailed data is proprietary, the grades become widely shared in the media and the industry. Subsequent advertisements for highly ranked films often cite their CinemaScore grades.[11][13][12]

As opening-night audiences are presumably more enthusiastic about a film than ordinary patrons, a C grade from them is - according to the Los Angeles Times - "bad news, the equivalent of a failing grade".[11] According to Ed Mintz, "A’s generally are good, B’s generally are shaky, and C’s are terrible. D’s and F’s, they shouldn’t have made the movie, or they promoted it funny and the absolute wrong crowd got into it". Horror films consistently score lower; The Conjuring's A- was the first time a horror film scored better than B+. CinemaScore's Harold Mintz said that "An F in a horror film is equivalent to a B- in a comedy".[14]

An A+ grade from CinemaScore for a film typically predicts a successful box office. From 1982 to August 2011, only 52 films (about two a year) received the top grade, including seven Academy Award for Best Picture winners.[10] From 2000 to November 2019, there were 52 movies with A+.[15] As of November 22, 2019, 88 films have received A+.

From 2004 to 2014, those rated A+ and A had multiples of 4.8 and 3.6, respectively, while C-rated films' total revenue was 2.5 times their opening weekend.[12] Ed Mintz cited Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise as the "two stars, it doesn’t matter how bad the film is, they can pull (the projections) up".[1] (DiCaprio's Shutter Island had a 3.1 revenue multiple despite a C+ grade, and Cruise's Vanilla Sky had a 4 multiple with a D grade.)[12]

As of 2019, nineteen films have received an F grade from CinemaScore.[14][16][17][18] Vulture wrote that besides horror,[14]

Another type of movie features prominently on the list: let’s call it "Misleading Auteurism." These are movies made by prominent, often Oscar-nominated directors that investigate risky and controversial subject matters and receive both praise and pans. But because of how the movie industry works — the name of a director alone not being enough to get most people to go see something — they tend to be marketed as more straight-ahead genre films, resulting in a whole bunch of misled and pissed-off audience members.

Vulture cited as examples of such F-graded films Steven Soderbergh's Solaris with George Clooney, Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt, and Darren Aronofsky's Mother! with Jennifer Lawrence.[14]

CinemaScore's forecasts for box-office receipts based on the surveys are, according to the Los Angeles Times, "surprisingly accurate" as "most of [the company's] picks...are in the ballpark", in 2009 correctly predicting the success of The Hangover and the failure of Land of the Lost.[11] Hollywood executives are divided on CinemaScore's accuracy. One told Deadline Hollywood "It's not always right, but it's a pretty good indicator. I rely on it", while another said that competitor PostTrak was "much better...more thorough and in-depth".[12][19]

List of A+ films

No. Year Title Director
1 1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[10][18] Steven Spielberg
2 1982 Gandhi[10][18] Richard Attenborough
3 1982 Rocky III[10][18] Sylvester Stallone
4 1986 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home[10][18] Leonard Nimoy
5 1987 The Princess Bride[10] Rob Reiner
6 1988 Die Hard[10] John McTiernan
7 1989 Dead Poets Society[10] Peter Weir
8 1989 Driving Miss Daisy[10] Bruce Beresford
9 1989 A Dry White Season[10] Euzhan Palcy
10 1989 Lean on Me[10] John G. Avildsen
11 1989 Lethal Weapon 2[10][18] Richard Donner
12 1989 When Harry Met Sally...[10][18] Rob Reiner
13 1990 Dances with Wolves[10][18] Kevin Costner
14 1991 Beauty and the Beast[10][18]
15 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day[10][18] James Cameron
16 1992 Aladdin[10][18]
17 1992 A Few Good Men[10][18] Rob Reiner
18 1993 The Fugitive[10][18] Andrew Davis
19 1993 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey[10] Duwayne Dunham
20 1993 The Joy Luck Club[10] Wayne Wang
21 1993 Schindler's List[10] Steven Spielberg
22 1994 Forrest Gump[10][18] Robert Zemeckis
23 1994 Iron Will[10] Charles Haid
24 1994 The Lion King[10][18]
25 1995 Mr. Holland's Opus[10] Stephen Herek
26 1997 Soul Food[10] George Tillman Jr.
27 1997 Titanic[10] James Cameron
28 1998 Mulan[10][18]
29 1999 Music of the Heart[10] Wes Craven
30 1997 Star Wars (1997 re-release)[10][18] George Lucas
31 1999 Toy Story 2[10][18] John Lasseter
32 2000 Finding Forrester[10][15] Gus Van Sant
33 2000 Remember the Titans[10][15] Boaz Yakin
34 2001 Monsters, Inc.[10][15][18] Pete Docter
35 2002 Antwone Fisher[15] Denzel Washington
36 2002 Drumline[10][15] Charles Stone III
37 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets[10][15][18] Chris Columbus
38 2003 Finding Nemo[15][18] Andrew Stanton
39 2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King[15][18] Peter Jackson
40 2004 The Passion of the Christ[10][15][18] Mel Gibson
41 2004 The Incredibles[10][15][18] Brad Bird
42 2004 The Polar Express[10][15] Robert Zemeckis
43 2004 Ray[10][15] Taylor Hackford
44 2005 Dreamer[10][15] John Gatins
45 2005 Diary of a Mad Black Woman[10][15] Darren Grant
46 2005 Cinderella Man[10][15][18] Ron Howard
47 2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe[10][15][18] Andrew Adamson
48 2006 Akeelah and the Bee[10][15] Doug Atchison
49 2007 Why Did I Get Married?[10][15] Tyler Perry
50 2009 Up[10][15][18] Pete Docter
51 2009 The Blind Side[10][15] John Lee Hancock
52 2010 The King's Speech[10][15] Tom Hooper
53 2010 Tangled[10][15][18]
54 2011 Soul Surfer[10][15] Sean McNamara
55 2011 Courageous[15][18] Alex Kendrick
56 2011 Dolphin Tale[15] Charles Martin Smith
57 2011 The Help[10][15] Tate Taylor
58 2012 The Avengers[15][18] Joss Whedon
59 2012 Argo[15][18] Ben Affleck
60 2013 42[15][18] Brian Helgeland
61 2013 Instructions Not Included[15][18] Eugenio Derbez
62 2013 The Best Man Holiday[15] Malcolm D. Lee
63 2013 Frozen[15][18]
64 2013 Lone Survivor[15][18] Peter Berg
65 2014 Selma[15][18] Ava DuVernay
66 2014 American Sniper[15][18] Clint Eastwood
67 2015 War Room[18][20] Alex Kendrick
68 2015 Woodlawn[15][18] Erwin Brothers
69 2016 Miracles from Heaven[15][18] Patricia Riggen
70 2016 Queen of Katwe[15][18] Mira Nair
71 2016 Hidden Figures[15][18][21] Theodore Melfi
72 2016 Patriots Day[15][18][22] Peter Berg
73 2017 Girls Trip[15][18][23] Malcolm D. Lee
74 2017 Wonder[15][24] Stephen Chbosky
75 2017 Coco[15][18][25] Lee Unkrich
76 2018 Black Panther[15][18][26] Ryan Coogler
77 2018 I Can Only Imagine[15][18][27] Erwin Brothers
78 2018 Love, Simon[15][18][28] Greg Berlanti
79 2018 Incredibles 2[15][18][29] Brad Bird
80 2018 The Hate U Give[18][30] George Tillman Jr.
81 2018 Green Book[18][31] Peter Farrelly
82 2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse[15][18][32][33]
83 2019 Unplanned[18][34][35]
  • Chuck Konzelman
  • Cary Solomon
84 2019 Avengers: Endgame[15][18][36]
85 2019 The Peanut Butter Falcon[37]
  • Tyler Nilson
  • Michael Schwartz
86 2019 Overcomer[15][38][39] Alex Kendrick
87 2019 Harriet[15][40][41] Kasi Lemmons
88 2019 Ford v Ferrari[15][42][43] James Mangold

As of 2019, only two directors have made the list three times: Rob Reiner (1987, 1989, 1992) and Alex Kendrick (2011, 2015, 2019). The following directors have been on the list two times: Steven Spielberg (1982, 1993), James Cameron (1991, 1997), Robert Zemeckis (1994, 2004), Pete Docter (2001, 2009), Malcolm D. Lee (2013, 2017), Peter Berg (2013, 2016), Erwin Brothers (2015, 2018), Brad Bird (2004, 2018) & George Tillman Jr. (1997, 2018).

List of F films

No. Year Title Director
1 1999 Eye of the Beholder[16][14] Stephan Elliott
2 2000 Dr. T and the Women[16][14] Robert Altman
3 2000 Lost Souls[16][14] Janusz Kamiński
4 2000 Lucky Numbers[16][14] Nora Ephron
5 2002 Darkness[16][14] Jaume Balagueró
6 2002 Fear Dot Com[16][14] William Malone
7 2002 Solaris[16][14] Steven Soderbergh
8 2003 In the Cut[16][14] Jane Campion
9 2005 Alone in the Dark[16][14] Uwe Boll
10 2005 Wolf Creek[16][14] Greg McLean
11 2006 Bug[16][14] William Friedkin
12 2006 The Wicker Man[16][14] Neil LaBute
13 2007 I Know Who Killed Me[16][14] Chris Sivertson
14 2008 Disaster Movie[16][14] Jason Friedberg
Aaron Seltzer
15 2009 The Box[16][14] Richard Kelly
16 2011 Silent House[16][14] Chris Kentis

Laura Lau

17 2012 Killing Them Softly[16][14] Andrew Dominik
18 2012 The Devil Inside[16][14] William Brent Bell
19 2017 Mother![16][14][44] Darren Aronofsky


  1. Lawrence, Christopher (2016-08-30). "Las Vegan's polling company keeps tabs on Hollywood". Vegas Voices (story series). Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  2. Wieland, Chris (March 20, 1993). "In Springs, Everybody's a Critic". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Broward County, Florida. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  3. Proxy Statement to SEC, April 18, 2004 Archived March 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Rainmaker Systems, Inc.
  4. Cling, Carol (1999-09-16). "CinemaScore expands to Internet to offer moviegoers current information". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Stephens Media.
  5. Bowles, Scott (2002-08-01). "Movies make the grade with fans, critics alike". USA Today. Gannett Company.
  6. CinemaScore's account on Twitter.
  7. CinemaScore on Twitter (January 16, 2016). "Collateral Beauty". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  8. Wilkinson, Alissa (August 13, 2018). "CinemaScore, Rotten Tomatoes, and movie audience scores, explained". Vox. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. "Cinemascore :: About Us". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  10. McClintock, Pamela (August 19, 2011). "Why CinemaScore Matters for Box Office". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  11. Goldstein, Patrick (October 13, 2009). "CinemaScore's box-office swami". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  12. Busch, Anita (August 9, 2014). "B Grade For 'Turtles': What CinemaScores Mean And Why Exit Polling Matters". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
  13. Cunningham, Todd (June 18, 2013). "CinemaScore Gets 'A' From Studios, Especially When It Counters Critics". TheWrap. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  14. Lincoln, Kevin (September 20, 2017). "What the 19 Movies to Ever Receive an 'F' CinemaScore Have in Common". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  15. Geier, Thom (November 16, 2019). "52 Movies With A+ CinemaScore Since 2000, From 'Remember the Titans' to 'Ford v Ferrari' (Photos)". TheWrap. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. Geier, Thom; Fuster, Jeremy (February 17, 2018). "All 19 Movies That Flunked CinemaScore With F Grade, From 'Solaris' to 'mother!' (Photos)". TheWrap. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  17. Pooley, Jack (April 5, 2018). "Every Movie That Received An F CinemaScore Ranked From Worst To Best". WhatCulture. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  18. Carbone, Gina (July 10, 2019). "10 Recent Movies With An A+ CinemaScore That Are Worth Checking Out". CinemaBlend. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  19. McClintock, Pamela (September 18, 2013). "CinemaScore in Retreat as Studios Turn to PostTrak". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  20. Anthony D'Alessandro (August 31, 2015). "'At Room Finds More Followers on Sunday, But 'Compton' is Still King - Monday Box Office Finals". Deadline. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  21. CinemaScore on Twitter (January 6, 2017). "Hidden Figures". Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  22. CinemaScore on Twitter (January 13, 2017). "Patriots Day". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  23. CinemaScore on Twitter (July 21, 2017). "Girls Trip". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  24. CinemaScore on Twitter (November 18, 2017). "Wonder". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  25. CinemaScore on Twitter (November 23, 2017). "Coco". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  26. CinemaScore on Twitter (February 16, 2018). "Black Panther". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  27. CinemaScore on Twitter (March 16, 2018). "I Can Only Imagine". Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  28. CinemaScore on Twitter (March 16, 2018). "Love, Simon". Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  29. CinemaScore on Twitter (June 15, 2018). "Incredibles 2". Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  30. CinemaScore on Twitter (October 19, 2018). "The Hate U Give". Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  31. D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 25, 2018). "'Ralph' Breaking The B.O. With $18.5M Weds., Potential Record $95M Five-Day; 'Creed II' Pumping $11.6M Opening Day, $61M Five-Day". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  32. CinemaScore on Twitter (December 14, 2018). "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse". Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  33. D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 15, 2018). "'Spider-Verse' Catching $36M, 'The Mule' Carrying Near $18M, 'Mortal Engines' Fails To Start With $7M+". Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  34. CinemaScore on Twitter (April 1, 2019). "Unplanned". Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  35. Pamela McClintock (March 31, 2019). "Weekend Box Office: 'Dumbo' Disappoints With $45M U.S. Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  36. CinemaScore on Twitter (April 26, 2019). "Avengers: Endgame". Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  37. D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 11, 2019). "'Hobbs' Hauls $25M; 'Scary Stories' Frighten 'Dora'; 'Kitchen' Sinks Melissa McCarthy & Tiffany Haddish To Career B.O. Lows – Saturday AM Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  38. CinemaScore on Twitter (April 23, 2019). "Overcomer". Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  39. D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 24, 2019). "'Angel Has Fallen' Still Ascending Close To 'London' With $20M; Tarantino's 'Hollywood' Beating 'Basterds' – Saturday AM B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  40. CinemaScore on Twitter (November 2, 2019). "Harriet". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  41. D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 1, 2019). "'Terminator: Dark Fate' Loads Up $2.4M On Halloween Night". Deadline. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  42. CinemaScore on Twitter (November 15, 2019). "Ford v Ferrari". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  43. D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 14, 2019). "'Ford v Ferrari' Cruising To $28M+, 'Charlie's Angels' Kicked Out Of Heaven With $10M+ Start". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  44. CinemaScore on Twitter (September 16, 2017). "Mother!". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
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