Don’t Blame the Critics: More Attacks on Rotten Tomatoes

Posted on August 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

Rotten Tomatoes is named after one of the earliest forms of criticism. Audiences who did not like what they were watching on stage would hurl rotten tomatoes at the actors. The most popular aggregator of movie reviews is successful because moviegoers enjoy the opportunity to look at the thoughts of a range of critics. Movie studios are delighted with Rotten Tomatoes when they can brag about a 90% “fresh” rating, but when the rating is not good and the movie does not do well, they accuse the site of being superficial or without nuance or trying to tell people what to think.

Of course, even a terrible rating won’t keep people from buying tickets if they do not care about a movie’s quality. So films based on video games (which often are not even shown to critics in time for reviews) will make a profit. And a film like “The Emoji Movie,” one of the worst-reviewed of the summer, did very well at the box office, at least in its first week of release. When that happens, we get the “Does Rotten Tomatoes matter” stories. We’re with longtime box office analyst, ComScore’s Paul Dergarabedian: “The best way for studios to combat the ‘Rotten Tomatoes Effect’ is to make better movies, plain and simple.”

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