If you’ve ever relied on film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings to judge whether or not you should check out a new release, you might want to reconsider…
A vulture According to the report, ratings are influenced by paid reviews on small blogs, with film companies paying their owners to write positive reviews.
While most film PR firms aim to get the attention of critics from top publications, Bunker 15 takes a more bottom-up approach, recruiting unknown, often self-published, critics who are nonetheless part of the pool, Rotten Tomatoes tracked. In another break from standard practice, several critics say Bunker 15 pays them $50 or more for each review.
The article cites an example of a film whose Rotten Tomatoes rating was changed from Rotten to Fresh with the addition of seven positive reviews, mostly from bloggers who had reviewed other Bunker 15 films. The author of one negative review said the company asked him to change it to a positive one, while another author suggested hiding each negative review in a separate blog not crawled by Rotten Tomatoes.
The reason this works is because the aggregator doesn’t differentiate between well-known critics of big publications and the smallest amateur blogs.
His math stinks. Ratings are calculated by classifying each rating as either positive or negative and then dividing the number of positive ratings by the total. That’s the whole formula. Each review carries equal weight whether it appears in a major newspaper or a substack with a dozen subscribers.
Film studios can also hold pre-screenings, to which they only invite critics who they think will write positive reviews. This initially ensures a high score for Rotten Tomatoes, even if the film is praised in subsequent reviews. So far it has done its job.
For example, the Tomatometer score for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was 79 percent in February based on the first set of reviews. Days later, after more critics commented, the rating dropped to the 40 mark. But the move may have worked. Quantumania had the best opening weekend of any Ant-Man film at $106 million. By its second weekend, as the film’s squalor was more firmly established, the film’s box office earnings plummeted 69 percent, the steepest drop in Marvel history.
Studios also know that those who attend film festivals often get carried away by the excitement of the event and give more positive reviews than those who watch in theaters. In one case, a film premiered at a festival, received 100% positive reviews, and the studio then declined to arrange further screenings because they wanted to use that score on the posters.
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Source : 9to5mac.com