Moviegoers and TV show enthusiasts often find themselves anticipating how well titles perform on the site known as Rotten Tomatoes. The popular public review platform where both critics and audiences can have their say.
Critic scores on the site are typically used as the official rating, however, newly reported information claims that critic scores have been manipulated for over five years now.
The site provides two ratings, one for a Critics Consensus which takes all critic reviews and creates an average score, the other being the audience score.
When it comes to the Critics Consensus, you must be an approved Rotten Tomatoes critic, which prevents non-critics from adding an official review.
Audiences don’t always agree with general critic ratings on the site, something that the report below may shed some light on as to why.
Paid Rotten Tomatoes Scores (Report)
As per Vulture, reports claim that a PR firm has been manipulating movie scores on Rotten Tomatoes by directly paying critics to do so. It’s noted that this has also been happening for over five years, with no specification as to how “over”.
Bunker 15, the PR firm said to be paying critics, is reportedly paying up to $50.00 for a single critic Rotten Tomatoes review. It’s described that the payments aren’t typically disclosed, and are usually given to more obscure critics who “happen to be part of a pool tracked by Rotten Tomatoes” (as per Screen Geek).
Notably, Rotten Tomatoes forbids this kind of transactional-based review system, and has a specific rule prohibiting “Reviewing based on a financial incentive.”
Paul Schrader Speaks Out About Rotten Tomatoes
Director and Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader, who’s also a critic, spoke out against Rotten Tomatoes by stating that “the system is broken.”
“Audiences are dumber. Normal people don’t go through reviews like they used to. Rotten Tomatoes is something the studios can game. So they do.”
Rotten Tomatoes responded by removing a variety of Bunker 15 films from their review rating website, as well as issuing a warning to any critics that reviewed said titles.
“We take the integrity of our scores seriously and do not tolerate any attempts to manipulate them. We have a dedicated team who monitors our platforms regularly and thoroughly investigates and resolves any suspicious activity.”
The question that is now being asked by both critics and audiences alike is if anybody else has done, or is doing this. Could other scores have been manipulated in the past to boost its rating in the hope of more ticket sales?
It’s currently unclear, however, it’s clear that film enthusiasts are starting to lose faith in trusting Rotten Tomatoes scores, as well as believing that people rely far too heavily on these scores to preemptively gather an opinion. Something that has been apparent for some time now, hence why this all came to fruition.