In recent years, Rotten Tomato scores have become increasingly important to the public’s perception of a movie. Before a film even hits theaters, a poor score can discourage thousands of paying customers from seeing a movie. The main problem is, critics and audiences tend to disagree when it comes to labeling something a good or bad movie.
Sometimes tomato and audience scores line up. For example, Thor: Ragnarok earned a 92 from critics and an 88 from audiences, a score that shows most people had positive things to say about the movie. Obviously, the system isn’t perfect. Just because a movie scores a 90 or a 70 on rotten tomatoes, doesn’t mean the movie is technically being rated a nine or seven out of ten. Instead it means that a certain number of critics rated the movie favorably, not necessarily that they all gave it a 90 or 70 themselves.
For every film where critics and audiences tend to agree about a film, there are at least five that show just how different their sensibilities can be. Critics view a movie one way, but the general audience tends to want something else from a film.
Roll up your sleeves everyone, because it’s time to read about 15 Times Rotten Tomatoes Scores Were Way Off In 2017!
Before mother!, Darren Aronofsky hadn’t directed anything since 2014’s Noah. Anticipation was high for the Oscar-nominated director’s return, but fans and critics were pretty split on his comeback film. Drenched in religious undertones, the whole film was essentially a retelling of the Bible with different characters standing in for key biblical figures. From a technical standpoint, the movie was quite impressive as the tension slowly builds and erupts into an uncontrollable rush, but the story left some viewers confused or wanting more.
While the film earned 69 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, only 49 percent of fans registered liking it. In our official review of the film, Screen Rant called the movie “an ambitious work that bucks traditional storytelling techniques,” but acknowledged that it “will not be for all moviegoers.”
14. Transformers: The Last Knight
The Transformers franchise is still chugging along, but The Last Knight earned both the lowest official Tomato score and audience score out of the entire franchise. As Mark Wahlberg’s last appearance in the film series, The Last Knight features a crazy story that touches on everything from King Arthur to Nazi Germany. Optimus Prime is still in space after Transformers: Age of Extinction and the rest of the Autobots are still stuck on Earth.
To lend the movie about exploding robots a sense of gravitas, director Michael Bay brought veteran actor Anthony Hopkins into the mix. Screen Rant‘s official review of the movie said it “featured a bigger spectacle than its predecessors,” but at the end of the day it “prioritizes rapid-editing, explosion-fueled sequences and flashy set pieces over coherent action-driven storytelling.” While only 15 percent of critics reviewed the film positively, 45 percent of the audience enjoyed it.
13. The Emoji Movie
The Emoji Movie feels like one of those fake-trailers from the beginning of Tropic Thunder more than a fully fledged film in its own right. Starring TJ Miller and Patrick Stewart, The Emoji Movie is an extremely one-dimensional, commercial film about setting your own path in a predetermined world. A ripoff of films like Wreck-it-Ralph and The Lego Movie, The Emoji Movie comes across as a cheap imitation instead of an original, heartfelt flick.
Earning one of the lowest tomato scores of the year, The Emoji Movie still connected with some fans. As young people spend more time communicating electronically through emojis, it makes sense that millennials and children would want to see this. Despite its simplicity and the 9% score, it still earned more than $200 million at the box office from an estimated $50 million budget – thanks to the 40% of viewers who liked it.
12. The Dark Tower
Stephen King had a big year in 2017. Not only did It take audiences by storm, but Netflix released two King adaptations this year with 1922 and Gerald’s Game. In addition to those projects, Sony finally released a Dark Tower film starring A-list actors Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Screen Rant said the movie had “fun performances” but it was also full of “uninspired action.”
Despite the anticipation from King fans before the movie came out, it didn’t live up to critic’s expectations. The film has only 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, though 48% of audiences enjoyed it. Even King himself was disappointed with the final result and is hoping the upcoming TV series works as a full reboot.
11. Fifty Shades Darker
No directors or screen writers make movies designed specifically for the critics, but sometimes a movie comes out that is so clearly designed to just please a certain niche of the audience. 50 Shades Darker is the second movie in the 50 Shades franchise and things got even steamier here. Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele are back, and this time Grey insists he is capable of opening up and being less dominant in their relationship.
The film’s soap opera quality and bland dialogue led to it being universally panned by critics, with only 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. Screen Rant called the movie “ridiculous” but acknowledged that the sex sequences in Darker – the main draw for most people who saw the movie – were better than those in 50 Shades of Gray and that they “[embraced] a cheekier and more brisk sense of pacing” than the rest of the movie. Nearly half the fans – 49% – who saw the film enjoyed it.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Captain Jack Sparrow is back in another adventure featuring everyone’s favorite pirate taking on a group of undead sailors in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The swashbuckling, drunk pirate finds himself in over his head and forced to rely on Will Tucker’s son and a mysterious, young female horologist on a quest to discover the Trident of Poseidon.
Directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg brought a fresh sensibility to the franchise, but even coupled with Javier Bardem’s charismatic performance it wasn’t enough to please critics with the fifth Pirates film. With a measly 29%, Dead Men Tell No Tales has the lowest Tomato score of the entire franchise, but its audience score of 62% if higher than 2011’s On Stranger Tides. Despite the low score, it earned $794 million off a $240 million budget, so another sequel is likely.
9. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
A buddy cop-esque movie starring Samuel Jackson and Ryan Reynolds may sound like a hit, but The Hitman’s Bodyguard was a misfire with critics – earning just 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Patrick Hughes, the director of The Expendables 3, brought his eye for vehicle choreography and explosions to the film, but there’s not much there to distinguish it from other action movies. Set in Europe, it uses the setting well and has a few fun boat chases, but there’s not much meat to bite into here.
Screen Rant called the movie “a mediocre action flick elevated by the talent and chemistry” of the main co-stars. The mediocre action stuff stood out to critics more than it did with audiences though, who loved watching the two charismatic actors trade quips and bicker about their differing fight styles. The Hitman’s Bodyguard‘s audience score is 69%.
8. Underworld: Blood Wars
The fifth Underworld film, Blood Wars was helmed by first-time feature director Anna Foerster. What may have been intended as a fresh twist for the franchise fell flat with critics (with just 50% on Rotten Tomatoes) and disappointed some fans of leather-clad vampires. Kate Beckinsale returned to the starring role of Selene as she hides from different vampire clans lusting after her unique bloodline.
Screen Rant said “Underworld: Blood Wars is a poorly-constructed slog of a sequel that fails to engage the audience in any impactful manner.” But for hardcore fans of the franchise, the slick action sequences and deeper exploration of the world was enough to pull them in.
On a $35 million budget, the film only pulled in $85 million, the lowest box office pull from any film in the franchise. Despite the shrinking profit, there is a TV spin-off in development from original creator Len Wiseman that will likely please the 50% of audiences of who enjoyed Blood Wars.
Disney’s live-action remakes are all doing well with critics and fans, but when it comes to adapting old tv shows to the big-screen the reception is more mixed.
An over-the-top movie framed as a buddy cop flick on the beach, Baywatch is more interested in flash than substance. The Rock and Zac Efron both turn in charming performances in a movie Screen Rant said had “more notable action than humor.” That’s a shame too because the posters and trailers leading up to the film presented it as a laugh-filled project, but ultimately the spectacle and big set pieces won out.
Regardless of how critics’ 19% score, a 56% of fans loved the movie and The Rock himself took to Twitter to talk about the disconnect among viewers.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 26, 2017
A big-budget B-movie in all the best ways, Geostorm was a trashy hoot. The central premise centers around a system of satellites that give whoever is in charge of them the ability to alter the climate. This doesn’t mean the government can make a day at the beach a little warmer. Instead, they can defuse typhoons and even trigger ice-age like conditions.
Of course, Gerard Butler is at the center of it all as he tries to diffuse the satellites and save the day. The schlocky film was panned by critics, with 13%, and many compared it to a dumbed down version of The Day After Tomorrow. Despite the fact the film lost nearly $100 million at the box office, enough of the general audience liked the movie to give it 41%.
5. All Eyez on Me
Tupac Shakur may be an undisputed legend in the hip-hop community, but his biopic All Eyez on Me wasn’t met with such universal love. Hoping to cash in on the critical and commercial success that was Straight Outta Compton, director Benny Boom turned in a heartfelt flick that perfectly captured the tensions in Shakur’s life up until his mysterious death in 1996. The film’s title, taken from Shakur’s fourth studio album, speaks to how Shakur handled the pressure of being a black icon.
With 18%, critics might have been too harsh on this one. Clearly, it wasn’t a perfect movie, but Demetrius Shipp Jr., who looks just like Shakur, turned in a thoughtful performance that brought a real emotional weight to the film. Full of heart, the movie went on to gross only $54.9 million off of a $40 million budget, and was enjoyed by 54% of audiences.
4. The Lost City of Z
Usually, the general audience is more receptive to a film than the critics, but that’s certainly not the case with The Lost City of Z. A story about a British soldier tasked with mapping the border between Brazil and Bolivia in the early 20th century, Screen Rant called the movie “a handsome and ambitious historical epic.” Directed by James Gray, The Lost City of Z received solid reviews from a wide variety of outlets, earning it 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics may have appreciated the movie, but fans weren’t sold on the film. The film only made about $8.5 million in the domestic box office, making it Charlie Hunnam’s first flop of the year – though not his last. The film was intelligent and technically solid, but it was hard to feel emotionally connected to the main characters, so audiences scored it a lower 57%.
3. Book of Henry (21% v 63%)
The Book of Henry – a whimsical movie about a dark subject – is a tonally confused film. 11 year old Henry Carpenter is a genius who can take care of his whole family. He can do everything, even invest money to help his family live a comfortable life, but he can’t quite figure out how to help his neighbor Christina from dealing with her abusive step-father. 63% of viewers enjoyed the movie, but Screen Rant described it as “baffling to the point of being fascinating for the wrong reasons.”
Directed by Jurassic World helmer Colin Trevorrow, The Book of Henry was panned by critics – earning only 21% on Rotten Tomatoes. Rumors circulated that Katleen Kennedy already wanted to fire him from directing Star Wars IX, but after the movie’s poor reviews came out he was officially removed from the project.
2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (29% v 69%)
The first major flop of the summer, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword had a lot going for it. Director Guy Ritchie, famous for RocknRolla and Sherlock Holmes, brought a modern spin to the Arthurian legend. His energetic, flashy take on the material, coupled with Charlie Hunnam’s charismatic performance, resulted in an engaging, entertaining movie that 69% of audiences liked.
Packed with sword fights and monsters, the movie was perfectly crafted for the summer season. The problem is, Ritchie’s stylized approach isn’t for everyone and only 29% of critics liked it. Even though the movie is far from perfect, Screen Rant called it a “bombastic yet entertaining King Arthur epic.”
Despite the fact it bombed at the box office, Ritchie has been tasked with directing Disney’s live-action adaptation of Aladdin, due in theaters 2019.
1. Justice League (41% v 82%)
There was no bigger gap between audience and critic perceptions this year than on Justice League. DC’s premiere superhero team finally hit the big-screen, but it received lukewarm reception and the lowest domestic box-office opening for a DCEU film. The chemistry among the team members held this ensemble piece together, but there are a lot of glaring problems in the film.
Everything from the jagged tone to the sloppy CGI – especially on that damn mustache – led to the unfriendly critical reaction of 41%.The Screen Rant review said that “what Justice League offers in terms of whiz-bang entertainment, it lacks with respect to thematic substance.” Tonally, the movie was a bit of a mess as Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon’s personalities battled out for control over the final product, but there were a lot of fun moments that left hard core fans cheering and giving it 82% on Rotten Tomatoes.
What other movies do you think the critics misunderstood this year? Sound off in the comment section!
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