This summer, the movie reviews site Rotten Tomatoes sparked controversy after its critics gave a poor score to â€œSuicide Squadâ€ despite positive reactions from fans.
Rotten Tomatoes provides an explanation on their website that the â€œtomatometer,â€ which is used to score movies and TV shows, is â€œbased on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics.â€ The three ratings â€“ rotten, fresh and certified fresh â€“ reflect the amount of positive reviews critics have said about a movie.
In the tomatometer format, the numerical value a movie receives on Rotten Tomatoes serves simply to summarize the â€œpercentage of positive professional reviews.â€ Rotten Tomatoes provides access to the reviewsâ€™ sources, which includes over 200 critics from about two dozen different film critic groups.
The site offers short passages of criticsâ€™ ideas and links to their full works, and also includes audience reviews alongside the criticsâ€™ opinions. Ongoing discussion about recently released films takes place in each movieâ€™s forum, which primarily involves fans responding to criticsâ€™ opinions.
Critics and audience reviewers generally come to a consensus when rating movies, but in the case of â€œSuicide Squad,â€ the criticsâ€™ and fansâ€™ reactions to the film are significantly different.
A brief look at the discussion forum for â€œSuicide Squadâ€ proves that many non-critic viewers have expressed positive reactions to the film, and displeasure with the Rotten Tomatoes system. â€œI donâ€™t get it, Rotten Tomatoes was a site to gain insight. These reviews are so misleading,â€ said one fan reviewer.
Though the fans and critics donâ€™t match opinions on this summer film, the box office earnings suggest that the movie is doing better than a typical movie with bad reviews would. For two weekends in a row, â€œSuicide Squadâ€ has sat at the top with an estimated $43 million earned, and set a new record for an opening weekend in August.
Since the ticket sales and movie reviews have fallen out of sync for what was a highly anticipated film, why did people decide to see a poorly reviewed movie?
One possible explanation lies in the underestimated devotion of DC Comics fans. After the initial poor results of â€œBatman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justiceâ€ earlier in the year, there was hope that â€œSuicide Squadâ€ could make up for the failure. The timing of the filmâ€™s release could also have contributed to the record breaking opening weekend, but without in-depth research it would be mostly speculation.
The Rotten Tomatoes controversy between critics and fans is a familiar tension in the entertainment business, but it will be interesting to see how the tension will influence future reviews and the production of new DC films.