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Hacking Rotten Tomatoes: How Studios Manipulate Movie Ratings for Box Office Success

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Rotten Tomatoes Manipulation

In a world where time is precious, who has the patience to dive into lengthy movie reviews anymore? We get it; you’re probably guilty of this too. You glance at a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score, make a snap judgment, and decide whether it’s worth your precious viewing hours. But hold on to your popcorn because there’s more to the story, and it’s a tale of how Rotten Tomatoes has cast its spell on Hollywood and reshaped the film industry.

Rotten Tomatoes, while undoubtedly a handy tool for moviegoers, has a fundamental problem. It simplifies every film into two stark categories: good or bad. There’s no room for the gray areas, the nuances, the redeeming qualities that make a movie more than just a binary verdict. For instance, yes, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” might be a great movie, but does it excel in every single aspect? And does “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” truly have no redeeming qualities at all?

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With Rotten Tomatoes celebrating its 25th birthday, studios have had ample time to figure out how to harness its power. Studios are, at their core, money-making machines, and they won’t hesitate to exploit Rotten Tomatoes to fill those theater seats.

Consider this year’s releases, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “The Flash.” Both superhero blockbusters, both lackluster entries into their respective universes. The studio’s strategy? Use early reactions, often from the most enthusiastic fans, to artificially inflate the movie’s score. “Ant-Man 3” premiered with a seemingly impressive 79% score. However, as more critics weighed in, that score plummeted to a paltry 46% over the following weeks. Yet, that initial score was enough to secure the film the best opening weekend in the Ant-Man trilogy, raking in over $100 million. It’s like putting a shiny coat on a rusty car and hoping nobody notices.

But wait, there’s a shadier side to this story. Studios and distribution companies have been known to give positive reviews a little nudge, sometimes through financial incentives, to boost a movie’s rating. Vulture spilled the beans on this practice. Ad companies make big promises to studios based on Rotten Tomatoes scores, and then they go to great lengths to ensure that the film achieves that coveted “Certified Fresh” status. This might involve suppressing negative reviews or even hiring so-called “critics” with the sole purpose of churning out positive reviews to pad the Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s like having a jury where some members are paid to always deliver a favorable verdict.

And here’s the grand finale of our story: the ownership of Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not a mere coincidence that this review aggregator is under the umbrella of Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., not to mention Fandango – a ticket sales company. The vested interests become clear when you realize that a website polarizing conversations often translates into better box office numbers. Extreme reactions, whether love or hate, generate buzz, and that buzz means more ticket sales. It’s a classic case of “any publicity is good publicity.”

But there’s hope. Rotten Tomatoes could do better. It could make the conversation around movies and series more nuanced. Perhaps categorizing reviews into more detailed categories could be a start. Since Rotten Tomatoes has become the ultimate authority on “quality,” it could encourage viewers to explore those reviews and think beyond the binary good-bad verdict. After all, movies are an art form, and art thrives on discussion, debate, and, yes, even a little bit of nuance.

For the full scoop, check out the Vulture report on their website. So, the next time you check Rotten Tomatoes, remember that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. It’s a world of manipulation, vested interests, and a desperate quest for those coveted fresh tomatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rotten Tomatoes Manipulation

Q: What is the main issue with Rotten Tomatoes, as mentioned in the article?

A: Rotten Tomatoes’ primary problem is its oversimplified rating system, categorizing movies as either good or bad without considering nuances or redeeming qualities.

Q: How do studios use Rotten Tomatoes to their advantage?

A: Studios manipulate Rotten Tomatoes by using early reactions and scores to artificially boost a movie’s rating, aiming to attract a larger audience and increase box office success.

Q: Are there shady tactics employed by studios to influence Rotten Tomatoes scores?

A: Yes, studios have been known to employ strategies like financially incentivizing positive reviews and suppressing negative ones, all in an effort to improve a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score.

Q: Who owns Rotten Tomatoes, and why does this matter?

A: Rotten Tomatoes is owned by parent companies such as Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., along with Fandango, a ticket sales company. This ownership suggests a vested interest in polarizing conversations, which often translates into better box office numbers.

Q: How could Rotten Tomatoes improve its system?

A: Rotten Tomatoes could enhance the conversation around movies and series by categorizing reviews into more detailed categories, encouraging viewers to delve into the nuances and complexities of each title beyond the binary good-bad rating.

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