Rotten Tomatoes Bends the Knee: Removes User “Want to See” Gauge

After several public and outspoken comments by Brie Larsen in regards to “while males,” her upcoming MCU film, “Captain Marvel,” was beginning to see a daily rise in negative sentiment on the movie review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Over the weekend, the website removed their “Want to See” percentage score that measured audience anticipation for upcoming films as part of a site-wide redesign.

Before the change, the pages for upcoming films prominently featured a “Want to See” figure that represented the percentage of users who wanted to see the movie in question. Thousands of users were indicating that they were “Not Interested” in Captain Marvel, and eventually the “Want to See” rating for the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie dropped to as low as 28%, as the below screenshot from Feb. 25 shows.

If you bothered to check out the leftist media, like The Mary Sue, Polygon, or Bleeding Cool, then you’d be led to believe that those no-good trolls are trying to wreck the movie by review bombing it in the name of misogyny. But that’s not exactly the case.

However, Rotten Tomatoes appears to think that’s exactly the case. Cosmic Book News also feels this is a response to the Captain Marvel rating and they have this reporting:

The post notes the changes at Rotten Tomatoes include the rating that caused the controversy surrounding Captain Marvel, the “Want to See” rating, will no longer be shown (the site doesn’t mention Captain Marvel specifically, but let’s be honest). The site says the “Want to See” rating is different than its “Audience Score” rating, as the latter is made available only after the film’s release, which has caused confusion. Now, instead of a “Want to See” rating, the site will simply show the number of fans that want to see the movie and will avoid revealing the number of fans that don’t want to see the movie: 

As of February 25, we will no longer show the ‘Want to See’ percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period. Why you might ask?  We’ve found that the ‘Want to See’ percentage score is often times confused with the ‘Audience Score’ percentage number. (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.)

 

Rotten Tomatoes further announced they are disabling comments before a movie’s release claiming “we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling.” It is also noted, “Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.” 

Checking the new Captain Marvel Rotten Tomatoes page now shows that the “Want to See” score percentage is not available, but that it states 13,714 fans want to see the movie. In the previous version of the page now removed, it showed only 28% of over 44,735 fans wanted to see the film. That is a huge difference. Worth a mention is that if there is confusion surrounding the “Audience Score” versus the score for people that “Want to See” the movie, no matter what it is called, it still showed the percentage number prior to the film’s release of people that wanted to or didn’t want to see the movie. Now the update only shows what in reality is a 100% number in favor of going to see the movie. What Rotten Tomatoes has done, is removed anything that could be deemed negative surrounding any movie prior to that movie’s release. 

The change isn’t actually surprising and it is something various sites and even studios have been complaining about for years, basically, because it’s bad publicity, so now see that factor has been removed

 

Rotten Tomatoes says this will ensure there is more “accuracy” and “authenticity” and will protect the forums from “bad actors”…

“We’re doing it to more accurately and authentically represent the voice of fans, while protecting our data and public forums from bad actors”

Seems that the only people who will be applauding this decision today are movie studios and shills who don’t want to be subjected to possible bad publicity, but it’s the movie-going public that may be losing here. Now, instead of being able to accurately gauge other moviegoers’ interest in an upcoming film, they will simply be expected to take the studios word for it. This could also hurt movie studios by affecting their ability to get out in front of apathetic moviegoers who may be feeling negativity towards a movie prior to its release. For instance, if a movie studio is now unaware that their lead actor’s outspoken activism is having a debilitating impact on pre-sales, then how will they be able to respond in a way to possibly turn that around?

Have studios now forced a valuable tool to be removed from their toolkit? This is being hailed by some as making things more equitable for fans and films alike, but I’ve seen others comparing this to when Netflix switched from a 5-star rating system to a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system just days after Amy Schumer’s latest stand up comedy special “Leather” suddenly tanked with a 1 star average and she complained about it on Twitter.

Could this be a good move for movie studios? Will fans feel better when they visit Rotten Tomatoes and don’t have to see that others may not be interested in seeing their favorite upcoming movie? Does this mean that every movie gets a participation trophy? Will RT eventually stop publishing bad reviews too? And the question no one seems to be asking is: “was this actually in response to Captain Marvel”, or did the website discover that Star Wars Episode IX was about to get the same treatment from fans still upset over Rian Johnson’s divisive and controversial installment ‘The Last Jedi’? ‘

Disney must be very pleased today.

Personally, I was initially very excited for Captain Marvel, but even this Marvel fan-boy has been worn down by the star’s repeated comments on “identity politics” in the media and I’ve decided not to see the movie on opening weekend. I may even wait until home video.

Perhaps I should wait until I see some reviews I trust over at Metacritic instead.

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'