Rotten Tomatoes announced on Tuesday that it’s making major changes to the site. Following a series of instances in which trolls took to the film and TV reviews site to criticize unreleased films like GhostbustersStar Wars Episode VIII and most recently, Captain Marvel, the Rotten Tomatoes staff has decided to remove certain components of the site to limit further bad-faith usage.

As of yesterday, Rotten Tomatoes will no longer show the ‘Want to See’ percentage score during pre-release. In a statement, the staff explained that the ‘Want to See’ score is frequently confused with the ‘Audience Score’; the latter tracks the percentage of all users who have rated a film or TV show positively. Users can only see this score after release.

Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes will disable comments during pre-release. This will hopefully cut back on the number of comments left by trolls, who frequently take to the comments to air grievances having nothing to do with the films themselves.

“Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership,” the staff explained. “We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action.”

- Advertisement-

Don’t worry: fans can still leave reviews and comments after release. Thus, these changes won’t stop bad-faith actors entirely, but will limit trolling in the pre-release period.

According to several outlets, including Alternative Press, the most recent instance of this involves Captain Marvel, which doesn’t hit theaters until March 8.

Despite mostly rave reviews from critics, the film’s ‘Want to See’ score dropped to just 47 percent over a few days. Why? Because commenters were angry at something Brie Larson said in an interview with Marie Claire.

“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed 
it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” Larson told the magazine in her February cover interview. “So, I spoke to 
Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive.”

Several white men took these comments to mean that Captain Marvel “isn’t for them to see” and expressed their anger via the Rotten Tomatoes comment section on the film. As mentioned above, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Hopefully, Rotten Tomatoes’ new changes will eliminate future incidents.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Samantha,

    Do you have any reporting to back up the fact that “several white men” expressed their anger or is this an assumption? Just to be clear since it is stated as a fact, but I don’t believe you can validate race or sex or gender via Rotten Tomatoes.

    Also, I don’t know if I agree with the idea that this was trolling. There was no review of the movie it just said if you were interested in seeing the movie. As the new broke, more people did not want to see the movie and used the platform. This is actually 100% correct usage of the service and the guidelines set-out by Rotten Tomatoes. I just don’t understand how they were “bad faith” if they actually used the service as described.

    And it isn’t like Rotten Tomatoes did not capitalize on this service — https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/the-5-most-anticipated-movies-opening-in-december/

    So I am guessing that this isn’t a fight against trolls – but a squashing by the House of Mouse over criticism to an important tent pole film for their movie plans with the Marvel brand. That is it. It would be great if there was some actual reporting around this and not just a cut and paste from a press release. I am much more concerned with corporate censorship then whether the 21st film in a franchise makes $100M or $80M on opening weekend.

    Thanks!

  2. After that incisive and well thought out reply I see that Rotten Tomatoes admitting that it has become a part of the marketing arms of the major studios is nothing to get upset about after all. I see you did not mention anything about them stating that only 3.5 or higher scores would count for audience scores either.

    ” (The ‘Audience Score’ percentage, for those who haven’t been following, is the percentage of all users who have rated the movie or TV show positively – that is, given it a star rating of 3.5 or higher – and is only shown once the movie or TV show is released.)”

    So I guess bad or even below average movies just do not exist on Rotten Tomatoes.

  3. Sorry I dropped a line there. And they do not count votes of below 2 towards the audience score. So .5 to 1.5 are thrown out 2 to 3 go against the score and 3.5 and above inflate the score. Sounds fair to me.

  4. The audience score is a percentage of people who liked the movie. Rating it a 3.5 or higher is considered liking it. Anything lower is not. So yes, your precious 0 for the movie you haven’t seen will still count towards the audience score. It just won’t be displayed until after the movie is released so you tools can’t try to sabotage something that has no impact on your life whatsoever.

  5. Anyone looking for proof that several white men expressed their anger can just search Twitter for #comicsgate.

  6. It’s a percentage-score, meaning that percentages of 3.5 and higher are counted as ‘yes’, and below 3.5 as ‘no’. If 15 users say ‘yes’ and 5 users say ‘no’, the percentage score is 75%. So this does NOT mean negative reviews are disregarded. And if one is concerned about the long reach of huge corporations, the logical course of action would be to ignore their output, not to spend a lifetime online bashing it.

  7. Do a search for “Brie Larson” on YouTube and you’ll find dozens of videos attacking her, claiming she has destroyed the MCU and brought about “The End of Marvel.”

    How did she do this? By “insulting” the “true fans,” who are — of course — conservative white guys. The same guys who posted hundreds of videos expressing outrage over the female “Ghostbusters” reboot.

  8. As someone who remembers the gender-bending and androgyny of the 1980s giving way to the hetero-porn-infused 1990s, I’m amused at all the people who think they have the upper hand now and how it will never change.

    Mike

  9. They ought to apply a 3.5 star and higher scale to their critics ratings as well. Critics get to determine whether a 3/5 is is negative, or a 2/5 is positive. Good on RT though for limiting the space for trolls on the internet. It’s a joke site with joke importance. At least there’s less griping we all have to hear about before a movie is released now.

  10. In case someone didn’t get “RealReader”‘s use of NPC:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/npc-meme-right-wing-trolls-liberals-donald-trump-twitter-insults-republicans-a8588036.html

    “Like “snowflakes”, “cucks” or “libtards”, “NPC” has become a popular insult for criticising Democrats and other left-leaning web users, accusing them of being unable to think for themselves, parroting orthodoxies of inclusivity rather than challenging mainstream assumptions.” The term was “born in the fever swamps of 4chan and Reddit.”

    There are so many right-wingers posting here these days, this site needs a glossary to explain the acronyms and slang terms they use.

Comments are closed.