Facebook says it has shut down the group page that was recruiting members to help sabotage Black Panther's Rotten Tomatoes score in an effort to alter the public perception of the film. Following the exciting debut of the character played by Chadwick Boseman in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, fans are only two weeks away from the Black Panther solo movie and the anticipation is already at a fever pitch. Early reactions to Marvel superhero extravaganza have been overwhelmingly positive, and fans are clearly hyped, too, as the film is projected to pull in at least $120 million (and as much as $150 million) in its opening weekend.
Despite all the positive vibes about Black Panther, a specter of negativity has been looming over the film in the past couple of days. It began Wednesday when word surfaced that a group claiming to be DC fans said they were organizing an effort to storm Rotten Tomatoes to trash the film's audience score as revenge for the low scores that DC Extended Universe's films have received on the site. And while director Ryan Coogler said he wouldn't let the trolling effort affect him, Rotten Tomatoes stepped up in an effort to prevent people from meddling with the film's audience score on its site. Now, in a further effort to prevent the anti-Black Panther initiative, the people behind the social media platform where the movement began is taking action.
According to Variety, Facebook has shut down the group "event" page, which was bluntly called “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.” Variety says the page was started by a professed member of the alt-right and had recruited 4,000 Facebook members for the group before the social media giant took it offline. The publication snagged the page's event description before it shut down by Facebook, which said:
"Given the massive success of the audience review rigging on the Rotten Tomatoes site for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and due to the sudden rise in those disgruntled with Disney business practices among other factors especially due to the corporate manipulations which created falsified bad press for the DCEU, I feel that it’s time to strike back at all those under Disney and bring down the house of mouse’s actions for paying off the critics that hurt DC Comics on film and for other parties affected by them."
The page's administrator also indicated that Black Panther was just the start, promising "events like this for Infinity War and the Netflix shows etc so we can rally together to truly make a difference. Share this with your friends and all potential sympathizers." Now, of course, Facebook has seen to it that that's not going to happen.
It's hard to say how much of an impact the trolling effort would have had on Black Panther, which, thanks to the massive amount it has already earned in presale tickets, is already projected to earn at least $400 million at the domestic box office. To put things into perspective, that's in the same neighborhood as DC's superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman, which earned $412.5 million in its domestic run to become the top film stateside during the 2017 summer movie season.
Of course, that doesn't mean sites like Rotten Tomatoes and social media platforms like Facebook can ignore similar sabotage efforts in the future. Whether it affected the film's box office is debatable, clearly there was some sort of trolling effort at work with the aggregation site's audience score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was considerably lower than the film's "certified fresh" critic rating.
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