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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

curated: yes, Hollywood is trying to game opening-day Rotten Tomatoes scores

I knew it.

posted in:
critic buzz | Net buzz

  • RogerBW

    I can tell, this is your surprised face.

    (“Hollywood”, of course, is hugely profitable; it’s only cinemas that are dying.)

  • Bluejay

    “Most importantly, studios are panicking because moviegoing is no longer a habit for most Americans. Because of climbing prices and competition from other forms of entertainment, a trip to the multiplex has become a special event. In particular, more movie fans are ignoring low- and mid-budget films when they are in theaters: Ehh, let’s wait until they show up on Netflix.”

    Bingo. Solutions:

    1. Make movie tickets cheaper.
    2. Make better movies.

  • rick

    Two scary quotes from the article:

    “Over lunch last month, the chief executive of a major movie company looked me in the eye and declared flatly that his mission was to destroy the review-aggregation site.”

    “Studios have also started screening films early for pockets of critics. In some cases, studios create spreadsheets of which critics to invite to early screenings — often at festivals — based on questions such as who liked what in the past and who gives positive reviews more often than not.”

  • RogerBW

    Yes, but that latter’s been happening for years – if you’re a site that gives uncritically positive reviews to any old rubbish (AICN, if that’s even still going), you get a whole of junkets.

  • Bluejay

    Y’know, I’m going to defend AICN a bit. You seem to be passing a blanket judgment without considering the actual reviews they write.

    Just recently they panned The Dark Tower:

    And Wish Upon:

    And they came to practically the same conclusion about Atomic Blonde that MaryAnn did:

    I may not always agree with their take or enjoy their writing style, but their reviews have usually struck me as having a lot of earnest thought behind them – never uncritically positive (despite their exclamatory headlines).

  • RogerBW

    If they’ve toned down the “it has superheroes in it therefore it’s the best thing EVAR” approach that they used to have, that’s excellent news.

  • Bluejay

    Again, though, I think you’re making a superficial judgment without engaging with the actual reviews.

    Read their reviews of the 2015 Fantastic Four film (here and here). Or go further back and read their review of the 2005 version. Or their even older – and admittedly horribly written – review (reposted in 2007) of Batman and Robin.

    Yes, they’re predisposed to like superheroes (much as MAJ has her own predispositions) and they’ve never been shy about it. And yes, they get excited (“EXCITED!!!”) about news of upcoming geeky projects. But they’ve never rubberstamped the final product as good just because of its genre. They’re still able to sit with a film, analyze its components, and point out its flaws as they see them. If it’s a turd, they’ll call it a turd. Filmmakers may think inviting AICN to a press screening will guarantee them a slobbering, glowing review, but maybe they should ask the Fantastic Four folks how that turned out.

  • Danielm80

    The quote that really scared me was this:

    Also in development are a half-dozen video series, including one built around a cheeky event created by Ms. Drake, the senior movie editor, called Your Opinion Sucks. At that event, which started at the Comic-Con International fan convention in San Diego a few years ago, movie fans debate critics. The hourlong sessions can get heated.

    I can imagine ways that the event might be funny and clever, but it sounds far too much like a live version of the IT thread, only the trolls are right in the room with you and won’t stop talking.

  • Bluejay

    I dunno – one of the reasons we’re so savage on the Internet is because we forget there’s a human being on the other side of the screen. Maybe having these discussions in person will help us listen to each other. (…he says hopefully.)

  • Danielm80


    And here’s the study:


    I’m not certain I’m convinced by his data. It contradicts other studies I’ve seen. But it’s something to consider.

  • Bluejay

    The latest anecdata, for what it’s worth: mother!, which has a 69% Fresh rating on RT (as well as a 75% on Metacritic), crashed and burned this weekend and got an audience CinemaScore of F.

    Critics are important. But audiences are not sheep.

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