Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Movie Studios Are Blaming Rotten Tomatoes for a Miserable Summer

Brooks Barnes, New York Times:

Studio executives’ complaints about Rotten Tomatoes include the way its Tomatometer hacks off critical nuance, the site’s seemingly loose definition of who qualifies as a critic and the spread of Tomatometer scores across the web. Last year, scores started appearing on Fandango, the online movie ticket-selling site, leading to grousing that a rotten score next to the purchase button was the same as posting this message: You are an idiot if you pay to see this movie.

Just thinking aloud here, but have these studios considered — oh I don’t know — making better movies? For example:

Kersplat: Paramount’s “Baywatch” bombed after arriving to a Tomatometer score of 19, the percentage of reviews the movie received that the site considered positive (36 out of 191). Doug Creutz, a media analyst at Cowen and Company, wrote of the film in a research note, “Our high expectations appear to have been crushed by a 19 Rotten Tomatoes score.”

“Baywatch” did poorly because it was a terrible film — all critics did was confirm that fact. If you filter its Rotten Tomatoes page to show only reviews from top critics, the news isn’t much better: just 23% of them were okay with the movie.

Browse through Rotten Tomatoes’ summer scorecard and you’ll note that many of the bigger-budget films were simply not good. And, yet, most of them found an audience. People went to see “The Emoji Movie”, despite it being objectively appalling; people even went to go see “The Mummy”, and the latest “Transformers” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, despite both of those getting crappy reviews.

But the better films of the summer — “Baby Driver”, “Wonder Woman”, “Girls Trip”, and “Dunkirk” — performed even better at the box office. Maybe that’s a clue: it’s not the fault of Rotten Tomatoes for pointing out that bad movies are bad, but the fault of studios for making expensive bad films. So, maybe make better movies.