Every so often I like to look at the ratings on the Internet Movie Database, just to keep my finger on the pulse of popular opinion. You can use their power search feature to sort through all kinds of lists. So I recently did a search for all 2006 movies with more than 400 votes. (For perspective, the new documentary Wordplay has 420 votes, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest has nearly 40,000.) From there, you can sort through the top 100 movies, ranked by ratings on a scale of 1 to 10. It's like an ongoing American Film Institute list of the year's best movies, which are really the year's most popular movies.
In any case, this list gives one a clearer idea of the popular climate than the actual box office scores.
The number one movie of the year so far is, rather surprisingly, a Bollywood film called Rang De Basanti. It opened here in San Francisco back in May and I missed it. All I can tell you about it is that it was three hours long. But I can tell you that Bollywood films have a following far more rabid than anything we know here in America, where Tom Cruise acts crazy for a couple of weeks and fans turn up their noses at him. In Bollywood, he'd be bronzed.