The movie reviews aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes is about to have some competition - and its name is CherryPicks. The site will be a new aggregate movie rating service that will pull its information exclusively from the opinions of female critics. Rotten Tomatoes may be the most trusted site of the sort, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is largely dominated by male critics.
Hollywood has become increasingly aware of the desire for better gender representation both in front of and behind the camera. CherryPicks plans to inject some fresh perspective into the way we look at film. Although the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have already made great strides toward altering the status quo, the site’s founders have stated that the timing of the launch has nothing to do with either campaign.
IndieWire reports that CherryPicks is founded by actor, producer and director Miranda Bailey, as well as author, illustrator and web entrepreneur Rebecca Odes. Bailey described the site’s mission in an official statement:
“For years now, our industry has been proclaiming that we need change to include more minorities and females on both sides of the camera. This would be impossible to do in a speedy fashion, unless we can change the perceived desires of consumers. How can we possibly change what consumers consider good and worthy content if the majority of critics who tell them what to want are predominantly older white males?”
Odes added, “Our goal with CherryPicks is to become the leading brand for the female perspective on media. The timing is perfect. The male-dominated culture of Hollywood has reached a breaking point. It’s time to start building the Hollywood of the future — one that recognizes the multi-tiered problem of gender bias — and corrects it every step of the way.” The idea for the site is incredibly ambitious, with plans for original content, including interviews, lists and podcasts. It will use a four-tier rating system, with “Bowl of Cherries” being indicative of a movie’s excellence and “The Pits” meaning the opposite. The system will also offer some middle ground, with a “Pair of Cherries” being a good rating and a “Single Cherry” signaling a mixed reaction. Aside from that, the site intends to keep "the female lens" at the forefront of their film scores. The plan is to use their own system, called Cherry Check, which would expand upon the Bechdel Test, among other things.
Unveiled at SXSW, this site could really change the way that we discuss movies. Bailey has been clear about the circumstances necessitating CherryPicks and her reasons stem from a desire for diversity. We know that just over half of the people heading to a theater near them happen to be women. Yet, it is generally men who are telling women what it is that they might enjoy. While crowd pleasers like Black Panther are likely to retain similar scores to RT, there are no shortage of movies that men and women would have differing opinions on - like, for instance, the recently released A Wrinkle in Time, which received mixed reviews.
Bailey said the site can be used as a way to “cherry-pick out female opinion” and has high hopes that CherryPicks will help make way for more women to be able to tell their own stories. It is set to launch later this year, giving voice to a moviegoing majority that has, until recently, been largely silent.