Nolte — Rigged Merger: Rotten Tomatoes Protects Time Warner’s ‘Justice League’ from Awful Reviews

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller in Justice League (Warner Bros., 2017)
Warner Bros.

For those wondering why the proposed AT&T/Time-Warner merger might not be such a good idea, look no further than the corrupting influence Time Warner is already having on Rotten Tomatoes when it comes to protecting Justice League from hideous reviews.

Time Warner, of course, owns Warner Bros. and is a 30% shareholder in Fandango, which owns Rotten Tomatoes.

In other words, Time Warner is part owner of Rotten Tomatoes.

And now we are being told to believe that the decision Rotten Tomatoes has made to not reveal the consensus score for Warner’s Justice League until early Thursday morning, which just happens to be the same day the tentpole opens on over 4,000 screens, has absolutely nothing to do with corporate chicanery.

Naturally, this transparent corruption has all been disguised as something else, as a big event surrounding the launch of a new Rotten Tomatoes’ Facebook show titled See It/Skip It, where the Justice League score will finally be revealed.

How convenient, though, that all of this has been timed to ensure the studio’s most important franchise is not damaged by the middling to withering reviews that are already piling up:

Vanity Fair:

The film is, plainly stated, terrible, and I’m sorry that everyone wasted their time and money making it—and that people are being asked to waste their time and money seeing it. I hate to be so blunt, but it simply must be said this time.

The Verge:

It’s just a pity they couldn’t have consciously worked together to create a cohesive, coherent vision that merged their sensibilities thoroughly, instead of this back-and-forth tug of war that seems to be perpetually checking in with the audience: “Is this what you want? How about this instead?”

The Guardian:

In the end, though, there is something ponderous and cumbersome about Justice League; the great revelation is very laborious and solemn and the tiresome post-credits sting is a microcosm of the film’s disappointment. Some rough justice is needed with the casting of this franchise.

The Telegraph’s one-star review:

Instead, it feels like a sheepish feature-length retraction of the franchise to date. It’s consistently embarrassing to watch, and features plot holes so yawningly vast they have a kind of Grand Canyon-like splendour: part of you wants to hang around to see what they look like at sunset.


The film is the definition of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less. If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat. It’s a tasty franchise delivery system that kicks a certain series back into gear.


The barebones story that we get lacks stakes because we don’t really know most of these characters and Steppenwolf suuuuuucks. I was expecting Steppenwolf to be dull and easily disposable, but I didn’t think he would be this atrocious. I assume he’s CGI because no actor in their right mind would play such a forgettable antagonist[.] … D+

Hollywood Reporter:

Fatigue, repetition and a laborious approach to exposition are the keynotes of this affair, which is also notable for how Ben Affleck, donning the bat suit for the second time, looks like he’d rather be almost anywhere else but here[.]

Entertainment Weekly:

Affleck looks like the highest-paid captive in a hostage video.

The only positive review I could find was from USA Today, which is surprising, because who knew USA Today was still in business?

On top of these reviews, Justice League is also fighting off a very serious Harveywood problem. Ben Affleck is facing multiple accusations of groping (and the nickname Buttman). Co-director Joss Whedon ran around portraying himself as a male feminist while cheating on his wife and mocking the looks of actresses and cancer survivors. Finally, there is Brett Ratner, whose RatPac Entertainment is one of Justice League’s production companies, and who is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

Rotten Tomatoes protecting Justice League in this way might seem a small thing, and it is. But so was CNN (which is also owned by Time Warner) lying about President Trump and fish food; which begs the question…

If Time Warner is willing to be so desperately dishonest over the trivial, imagine how far this powerful corporation will go when it comes to the things that truly matter?


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.