Rotten Tomatoes has become one of the go-to sites for movie and television fans everywhere. The fresh or rotten score the site applies to films and TV shows has, in many ways, become a new generation’s version of “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”, likely playing a greater role in some audience members’ decision to buy a ticket or tune in at home than many might like admit.
Aggregating reviews from various publications, RT’s Tomatometer has become increasingly important on the marketing side as well, to the point where being Certified Fresh is promoted in trailers and on Blu-ray covers. While movies like Deadpool might get a boost from being Certified Fresh, the opposite may also be true as a rotten rating on the site can be the death knell for films struggling to find an audience or battle poor advance reviews. Any way you cut it, Rotten Tomatoes has become a huge website for the film and television industry and Fandango has apparently taken not of the site’s potential.
In an official statement from Fandango president Paul Hanover, it was revealed the company will acquire both Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes in an effort to better serve their ticket-buying customers:
“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs.”
Warner Bros., which has owned Flixster since 2011, will take a minority stake in Fandango and “serve as an ongoing partner,” according to Deadline. Thomas Gewecke of Warner Bros. also commented on the acquisition by touting the move as a way to “accelerate… movie discovery and ticketing,” which seems like a given when you combine the appeal of a simple binary like Fresh or Rotten with the sometimes overwhelming choices of what to spend your hard-earned dollars on at the theater. Gewecke also commented that the move would make “moviegoing an even more compelling experience,” which is a somewhat more dubious claim.
Here are Gewecke’s comments in full :
“Combining the expertise and assets of Fandango, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes will create an incredible resource for consumers to fulfill all their moviegoing needs. Bringing these properties together into a single, integrated portfolio creates an opportunity to truly accelerate innovation in movie discovery and ticketing, making moviegoing an even more compelling experience.”
Last year, Fandango found great success with online ticketing as the site saw an “81% growth in U.S. ticketing and 1B visits to its website.” With the acquisition of the popular review aggregator like Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango can better integrate RT reviews on its site, which could even further its successful ticket sales. However by attaching RT scores on films, Fandango can surely motivate audiences to buy a ticket for movies with a Certified Fresh rating. Considering the purpose of Fandango’s site is to sell movie tickets, will Rotten Tomatoes ratings stay the same under Fandango?
It’s a question worth asking, as more people are turning to online movie sites for their ticket purchases. Also, given that the current Fandango rating system rounds up ratings for movies and rarely gives a movie a rating less than 3 stars, the company may want to do something similar to RT. Depending on how Fandango integrates Rotten Tomatoes on its own website, the RT rating may become less reliable for movie fans, which becomes a problem for many, as they turn to Rotten Tomatoes for honest reviews of upcoming movies.
However, there is still a chance Rotten Tomatoes may remain independent as it did under Warner Bros. Entertainment, but it may be wise to keep an eye on that Tomatometer.