According to the aggregate reviews site, metacritic.com, "Watchmen" scored an average of 56 on the site's one-to-100 rating scale. Five of metacritic's surveyed critics gave the movie a 100 rating, an unusually strong level of acclaim. Their enthusiasm, however, was tempered by the fact that 18 surveyed critics slammed the movie with a rating of 50 or lower. The lowest rating came from the Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern, whose metacritic score was a blistering 20.
A preponderance of mixed-to-negative reviews didn't stop "Watchmen" fans from pushing the movie to the top of the weekend's box-office heap. According to Variety, the movie grossed $55.7 million over the weekend, a result Variety described as "lower than expected, but still the best opening of the year."
But here's the deal with this kind of opening: You have to watch the second weekend to know whether audiences agree with the critics. The first weekend -- particularly with "Watchmen" facing no real competition --was bound to bring out fans of Alan Moore's graphic novel, as well as those hungry for some hard-boiled diversion. If "Watchmen" tops next weekend's charts in a significant way, you'll know that audiences are going against the critical tide and can be relied on to turn "Watchmen" into a top earner.
My bet: At two hours and 43 minutes in length and without uniformly positive word-of-mouth, "Watchmen" will slip. Stay tuned.