Rotten Tomatoes Is Changing Its Audience Score to Combat Online Trolls
After numerous controversies, Rotten Tomatoes announced today it will change its audience score. The key shift, per the Los Angeles Times, is that the site will stop allowing users to rate movies prior to their release in theaters. Users “will now have to wait until a movie’s actual release to review and rate a film. The company is also changing the way it polls moviegoers about whether they want to see a film.”
A press release claims the changes are designed “to elevate the voices of fans and increase data relevance.” In practice, it is clearly a response to angry trolls giving movies they haven’t seen negative reviews weeks or even months before their release in order to ... well, frankly, I don’t know why they do it. To feel better about their unhappy lives? That’s about all I’ve got.
The most recent victim was Captain Marvel, which had an audience rating of 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes before almost anyone beyond a handful film critics had even seen the movie. Some Marvel “fans” (I use that term in the loosest way possible) were upset that a woman was the subject of a superhero film (can you imagine such a thing?!?!?!?!?!) and so they downvoted the movie sight unseen. In a related story, the internet was a huge mistake and should be destroyed.
As far as I can tell from reading about the changes, the only major one is eliminating the audience score prior to a movie’s release. It’s not clear to me at this point that there will be anything to stop an angry fan from doing exactly what they did before, only after the film’s in theaters — although the Times article claims Rotten Tomatoes “is considering ways to verify user comments based on whether they bought tickets for the movie on Fandango or how often they post reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.” That would theoretically ensure that those leaving negative reviews had at least actually seen the movie.
It’s absurd that Rotten Tomatoes even allowed audiences to rate movies before they came out in the first place, an act that serves no purpose except to intentionally harm a film on political or dorky grounds. If you ask me, the audience score should go altogether. Rotten Tomatoes is a site about film and TV critics. Its audience score is clearly tainted and untrustworthy and only serves to undermine the entire site’s credibility. Pushing back when users can leave reviews doesn’t fix the problem. It only postpones it.
Gallery — 15 Movies You Never Knew Inspired the Marvel Cinematic Universe: