Avoid movies that open in 2,000 theaters
Erik Lundegaard compares movie release size with Rotten Tomatoes aggregate review score and finds that movies that open in less than 500 theaters (indie pictures) are critic favorites, while movies that open in 3000+ theaters (popcorn movies) are somewhat watchable. In the middle is a no-mans-land of terrible movies. He suggests studios and distributors know what they're doing: good movies that have wide appeal go out to the most theaters, while crappy movies open smaller to save theater space for the better movies.
Imagine that you only saw films that opened on 2000-2999 screens. Here's what you would've seen in the first 12 weeks of 2008: One Missed Call (0% RT rating), Meet the Spartans (3%), College Road Trip (12%), First Sunday (15%), Untraceable (16%), The Eye (19%), Mad Money (20%), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (25%), Never Back Down (26%), Step Up 2 the Streets (27%), Rambo (31%) and Definitely, Maybe (72%).