It is hard to deny that a film’s hype during the lead-up to its theatric launch will make or break the film. Some film’s cite over marketing and poor fan reception for failing. Now, more than ever, we have films that are not received well, but still kill it at the box office. A recent example of this is Batman vs. Superman. The film made a ton of cash at the box office, but holds a really low score on Rotten Tomatoes (27%) and Metacritic (44).
Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) has a theory why some films are doing worse than they deserve, and he blames Rotten Tomatoes and other review aggregation sites. Ratner has yet to have a huge hit, but his films typical are decent (After the Sunset, Red Dragon, X-Men: The Last Stand, Hercules). While speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival, Rather took a stab and blamed Rotten Tomatoes for ruining the film business:
“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore.
Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on ‘Batman v Superman’ I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.
People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’
But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
Shortly after Ratner’s comments went public, Rotten Tomatoes posted a statement on their site saying:
“It’s easier than it has ever been for fans to access potentially hundreds of professional reviews for a given film or TV show in one place.”
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