Hollywood filmmaker Brett Ratner says the popular film and television review site Rotten Tomatoes is “the worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture.”
“I think it’s the destruction of our business,” Ratner told a crowd at the Sun Valley Film Festival last weekend, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore.”
The 47-year-old movie mogul’s production and finance company RatPac Entertainment co-financed 2016’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which made nearly $1 billion at the global box office but received an abysmal 27 percent “rotten” ratings score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ratner says Rotten Tomatoes is at the forefront of making film and TV reviewing “about a number.”
“A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives,” he said. “Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.”
“People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie,” the Revenant producer continued. “In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
Rotten Tomatoes Vice President Jeff Voris responded to Ratner’s criticism of his company in statement Thursday.
“At Rotten Tomatoes, we completely agree that film criticism is valuable and important, and we’re making it easier than it has ever been for fans to access potentially hundreds of professional reviews for a given film or TV show in one place,” Voris wrote in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “The Tomatometer score, which is the percentage of positive reviews published by professional critics, has become a useful decision-making tool for fans, but we believe it’s just a starting point for them to begin discussing, debating and sharing their own opinions.”
Media entrepreneur and Breitbart News contributor Patrick Courrielche made a point similar to Ratner’s in a column earlier this year; namely, that Rotten Tomatoes is an example of film critics being “miserably out of touch with Middle America.”
In 2013, The Guardian conducted an analysis on the large chasm between Rotten Tomatoes critic scores and audience scores for several films and TV shows.
Ratner-directed or produced films like the Rush Hour films and the comedy Horrible Bosses have received low Rotten Tomatoes scores but have gone on to become blockbuster successes.