The Joker movie isn't Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes despite meeting all the necessary criteria - so why not? Todd Phillips' Joker origin movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as the eponymous character, and it daringly shows how the man Arthur Fleck transforms - and devolves - into the iconic DC Comics villain that helped shape the comic industry as well as the comic book movie genre. And because of that, among other reasons, Joker has been a controversial film, even though it hasn't yet released in theaters.
Joker's unprecedented premiere at the Venice Film Festival catapulted the film's prestige forward, especially when it later won the highly-coveted Golden Lion award. Furthermore, some of Joker's early reviews hailed it as a masterpiece and a genre-defining film, while other reviews derided the production as being dangerous in this day-and-age, with critics worried that glorying it would send the wrong message. All of this has led to Joker's initial Rotten Tomatoes score dropping from the 80s to the mid-70s, and it's remained Fresh on the review aggregator, not Certified Fresh.
At the moment, Joker has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 76%, based on 112 reviews. That certainly puts it in Fresh territory, as a movie has to have at least a score of 60% or higher to get a red tomato - but to be labeled Certified Fresh, a film needs a "steady" score of 75% or higher. Given its controversy, Joker's score has been fluctuating quite a bit, and so, it hasn't been Certified Fresh yet despite hitting the mark and meeting the other necessary criteria: having at least 80 reviews, with five of them coming from Top Critics.
Rotten Tomatoes doesn't review movies itself, but the website does aggregate them in a pretty cut-and-dry way. Critics assign whatever review score they want to a film and then determine whether to attribute a Fresh or Rotten score to their rating. Given that critics have a lot of leeway (one person may feel that 2.5/5 is Fresh while another may feel it's Rotten), a divisive movie like Joker can have its Rotten Tomatoes score go up and down quite a bit before it hits theaters, which is what's happening now.
However, just because Joker isn't Certified Fresh right now, that doesn't mean it won't attain that label in the future. Joker releases at the start of October and may very well be Certified Fresh by that point, so long as it doesn't drop below 75%. This is precisely what Rotten Tomatoes says on their site, noting that a film doesn't automatically get assigned a Certified Fresh label if it meets the requirements. The Rotten Tomatoes staff needs to be absolutely sure that Joker won't dip below the threshold first. So only time will tell.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019