Rotten Tomatoes' New Audience Rating System Is Even Worse

Avengers Infinity War - Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh

Rotten Tomatoes' Changes Makes Things Worse

Unfortunately, this change makes Rotten Tomatoes even worse as a source for critic and audience opinion. To be clear, the old system was also broken, but it at least presented usable data such that anyone familiar with how the site works could still get valuable information from their metrics. Now, the pre-release "want to see" count provides absolutely no value. A count of people excited for Captain Marvel isn't useful information and it can't be compared to other movies coming out because of differences in audiences and marketing practices and other details.

Related: What Do Rotten Tomatoes & Box Office Really Say About a Movie's Quality?

The fact that over 21,000 users want to see Captain Marvel isn't valuable information, and it can't be compared to something like Avengers: Endgame, which currently shows about half that number, because Captain Marvel's score was brigaded (both by trolls and fans trying to compensate for the score drop). Avengers: Endgame may not even have the same number of people who click "want to see" before it arrives in theaters, but it is sure to quickly eclipse Captain Marvel's box office take. If Rotten Tomatoes wanted to correct the way this feature works, full transparency would have been the better option by displaying both positive and negative responses to the "want to see" function. It would be abundantly obvious that the score had been brigaded in the same way Revenge of the Sith's score was brigaded.

This change could also end up making studios upset with Rotten Tomatoes, as displaying the number of positive responses instead of a mix can reveal an even more significant lack of enthusiasm. Captain Marvel, with all the drama surrounding the score, has only racked up over 20,000 votes (meaning there were presumably close to 60,000 negative responses). Surely smaller films could see only 3 digit responses, which actually generates negative buzz, even though they're hiding any negative reactions. Studios would presumably prefer Rotten Tomatoes displays a 60% score instead of just showing a few hundred people marked as interested while other movies generate thousands of interested fans.

The New Audience Rating System Is Bad For Fandom

Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith and Rotten Tomatoes

It also helps foster a negative environment for fandom. Rotten Tomatoes scores have always been a sore spot for fans of different franchises as they're frequently thrown around, alongside box office numbers, as a means of posturing and comparing movie quality. Now, Rotten Tomatoes has replaced a percentage indicator with a literal point system. Now, instead of merely comparing a nebulous percentage of interested theatergoers, fans will be presented with direct point comparisons to fight about.

Given, there's an element that's inherent to any review aggregator, but presenting fans with a single button press option to express - and compare - enthusiasm for an upcoming release is only pouring gasoline on existing fandom turf wars.

Unfortunately, Rotten Tomatoes has a long way to go to fix many of these problems, and while it's admirable for the platform to seek ways to breed less toxicity in online movie discussions, these new changes are certainly not the best route, especially considering the audience scores on movies like Captain Marvel are going to be brigaded anyway. By depriving angry fans of a meaningless way to express their dissent, they're only more likely to also attack the audience rating after the movie releases.

MORE: Rotten Tomatoes Will Only Hurt Itself By Hiding Scores

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