Not gonna lie, some version of “you’re not Walt Hickey” was my first impression. But! I was super interested in this frame of analysis. First off, I;d suggest IMBD scores are a relatively poor metric, not only for their level of volatility, but because they represent random users rather than critics, who were the ones polled. A better approach would be to use Metacritic. I wonder how it would differ.
As for the general thesis though, I think it’s very strong, aptly summed up when you write “it is the big movies — the ones that exist at the intersection of entertainment and art — that best bridge the gap between hardcore cinephiles and the sort of people who use IMDb scores as their barometer of success.” I think that’s why this summer feels like a “flop” to so many — there were very few of those sorts of films. While there were a ton of great indies released, their total box office may well total that of just *one* flop.