Why Rotten Tomatoes scores don’t mean what they seem

Why Rotten Tomatoes scores don’t mean what they seem


Chances are you’ve seen this tomato before. It’s become ubiquitous — and quite contentious This chart helps to explain why. We’re releasing more films now than ever
before. And in a world of excess choice, people need
guidance to make tough decisions. Which is why we need services like Rotten
Tomatoes The internet staple got its start in the late
90s. And in 2016, Fandango bought its parent company. Now, you go to buy a ticket, and there it
is. Which makes that rating important to understand. Because the tomatometer — it’s more complex
than you might expect. Films can earn one of three designations:
rotten, for movies rated 60% of critics gave a positive review. Fresh, for those earning a rate above 60% Or Certified Fresh. That’s reserved for films that were reviewed
80 times and 70% or more of the reviews are positive. 5 of those reviews need to be from top critics. Critics submit a review with their own rating,
or sometimes Rotten Tomatoes asks the critic if it’s positive. If it’s borderline, Rotten Tomatoes usually
says the review is fresh. Rotten Tomatoes depends on a small army of
reviewers to make the tomatometer work. There’s about three thousand critics that
are counted right now though not every critic reviews every film so it’s usually a few hundred
per film. That’s Alissa Wilkinson — she’s a staff
film critic at Vox.com. Which means her reviews count toward the official
Tomatometer. But the nuance in Alissa’s writing is largely
reduced to the rating you’ll find near the top of her articles. Because Rotten Tomatoes uses a thumbs up thumbs
down method on everyone’s reviews it means that it kind of makes a vaguer statements
of consensus. we don’t get a sense so much of people who
have mixed ideas about a film. Look at these two films: Ridley Scott’s
Alien: Covenant, and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. Both films are certified fresh, but the similarities
end there. Alien was an underwhelming blockbuster sequel
with a reported budget of 97 million dollars. Moonlight was an Oscar winning drama from
a fledgling director with a budget 1/24th the size of Alien’s. Both films achieved the blanket consensus
needed for the certified fresh badge. Alien finished with a Tomatometer at 70% — toward
the low end of the certified fresh spectrum. Moonlight received a 98 percent Tomatometer
— near total consensus. But Alien was rated 6.4 out of 10 on average,
after Rotten Tomatoes converted critical star ratings, letter grades, and number scores
to its 10 point scale. Moonlight, on the other hand, earned an average
rating of 9 out of 10 per review. Most critics loved it and agreed with one
another. So the two films earned the badge, but were
qualitatively world’s apart. This demonstrates the imperfection of the
Rotten Tomatoes system. This imperfection also appears when you compare
two of 2017’s most critically acclaimed films. Here’s another scenario:
Both Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out are highly rated and certified
fresh. But according to the Tomatometer, Get Out
edges out Dunkirk by 6 percentage points. If you saw these scores on the Fandango purchase
page, you might think that critics rated Get Out higher than Dunkirk. The Rotten Tomatoes page for each film shows
that Dunkirk earned a higher average rating per review. Dunkirk earned a lower tomatometer because
there was less agreement among critics — more variance in the data. And when there is less consensus, the rating
is lower. But a cute single tomato rating just can’t
give you all that information. Other rating systems try to circumvent these
problems with their own methodology. Metacritic, the most visible aggregator aside
from Rotten Tomatoes, is very subjective. It casts a much smaller net than Rotten Tomatoes,
and generally does more interpretation and weighting in their scoring. Metacritic is also less transparent about
their rating system than Rotten Tomatoes. So, is there a one-size fits all, killer method
to get digestible and accurate reviews of film in a fraction of time than it logically
could take? Absolutely not. That’s preposterous; the whole point of the Tomatometer is to help
you make a decision quickly. If you want context, you click and then you
read. Or, watch. And in a world of limited time and excess
choice, we all benefit from a bit of guidance. Just make sure you know how your guide is
getting you there.

80 thoughts on “Why Rotten Tomatoes scores don’t mean what they seem

  1. Read more on how Rotten Tomatoes works from Vox's Alissa Wilkinson: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/8/31/16107948/rotten-tomatoes-explainer-critics-movies-aggregation

  2. I dont follow critic score since they watch so many movies they prefer artistic and original movies with deep meaning.

    No, I watch movies at most once a month I want to watch entertaining movies with lots of explosions.

  3. Rotten tomatoes sux, the critics are not representative for the population. These are people in their own artsy world.

  4. I don’t really agree with a lot of the critics on things. Rotten Tomatoes seems to be worse to me because audience scores aren’t filtered into the main score, only critic scores. I don’t think a higher rating should make your decision. A bad movie in one's eyes might be a great movie in another's eyes and vice versa. Sure, I like to read the reviews, but only for the fun of it. I have thought about becoming a movie reviewer for fun, but I wouldn’t be a very serious one. You wouldn’t really be able to call me a critic with my reviews.

  5. This guys voice sounds like he is trying to do an asmr thing. Can you please get a little more excited about this good topic?

  6. I don't need rotten tomatoes as a guide to what movie I wish to see. If a movie looks interesting to see based on its ad then I would see it. In other words I would see a movie based on my own judgement and not by someone else.

  7. Solution: force your friend (that has similar taste to you ) into watching for you and then see if they say it’s good or not before spending your money

  8. The reason I don't like rotten tomatoes is because critics and general audianced watch movies completely differently.

  9. It really, really isnt hard. "Professionnal critics" will be voting with political correctness in mind. That's it. Pretty sad… but works whatever movie you pick.

  10. Relying on narrow-minded critics whose lifestyles and interests don't align with yours is a bad idea to begin with.

  11. Nowadays critics are so freaking strict they care about the small cinema sins details smh

  12. Dis is why idl rotten tamatoe as much cause most of the movie they review aren't that accurate i just downloaded fandango on my phone and im a huge fan of godzilla and im extremely excited for godzilla:king of the monsters and i saw the rotten tamatoe reviews and instead of being fresh it was rotten and that pissed me so much cause the people on the audience score were positive reviews.

    I love rotten tamatoe it just that they must find a way to be more accurate.

  13. There's a video on Youtube where supposed food tasting experts were served with McNuggets.
    They praised it on high regards.

    This is why i rely on user scores be it video games or movies.
    50 Critics are too nitpicky with everything, while thoudands of consumers will still arrive at a general consensus of their rating.

  14. when people say is made up of every kind of critic I really just think it’s just A few hypocritical ones pulling the strings Around The Whole Thing To what Movie They Deem Worthy, And, Just.”!!!!!

  15. I've always had pretty ambivalent views on RT (sometimes I agree with critics and/or audience members, sometimes I strongly disagree), so I appreciate nuance takes on the site like this video

  16. IMBD for the win…. I've been a decade old user of that page and it usually doesn't let me down in their scores

  17. Actually Rotten Tomatoes scores no longer have any meaning.

    They're decision to LIE in support of Captain Marvel means their Site is worthless for accuracy.

    No one I know still goes there for anything.

  18. Better not believe the critics (which mostly paid to hype up) and take a look yourselves.

  19. After I found out about Rotten Tomatoes 🍅 I know how the critical system of Cinemas, Games and TV shows.

  20. rottentomatoes are the worst. There is no distinction between very good movies, good movies and above average. Black Panther and Spider-verse is a good example. Both had 97% but Spiderverse had 8.5 imdb but Black Panther just 7.3.

  21. We don’t need Rotten Tomatoes. People should use Letterboxd for what real audiences and people who love movies think.

  22. It’s idiotic how now a days a movies RT scores is the one thing that matters more than quality story or who directed.

  23. 90% or More in rotten tomatoes of the movies have bad ratings. Is the worst thing to use before watch a movie. Just use Imdb or google % liked because they are rated by regular people how watch the movies.

  24. Excuse me! But you forgot the ranking where the critics been snorting mold that ended with a totally opposite result. From the looks of it Rotten Tomatoes still hasn’t learned its lesson of the after affects mold addiction! 😒

  25. Rotten tomatoes isn't just corrupt: it's a fraud. It is not a public opinion aggregater: it's merely a publish posing as a poll of public opinion. Jail time and restructuring of this fraudulent consumer control company is a must.

  26. The best shows are ones which have low critic scores but high viewer scores. Is there a way to search for those? Like Dave Chappelle's new special has 23% from critics but 99% from viewers and it's brilliant. The Orville also has high viewer scores but critics hate it, while Star Trek Discovery has high critic scores but fans hate it. It would be great if there was an easy way to search those out.

  27. Rotten tomatoes is just not reliable for me and many others like me, because most of the critics just look for fun & entertainment(their form of entertainment). For instance look at the ratings of interstellar and the marvel movies. The movie that is said to be the worst marvel movie got 78% and interstellar-72%. ART is not always intended to make you comfortable.

  28. The problem with the rotten tomatoes is that the people who are reviewing these movies don't have a clue and are out of touch with what people find entertaining.

  29. My god could they make it more difficult to understand this. So if it has a high rotten tomato score it's a good movie? If that's what it boils down to then just say that.

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