Hollywood director and producer Brett Ratner has labelled movie critic aggregation site, Rotten Tomatoes, as the “destruction of our business.”
“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes,” Ratner said while speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival.
The Rush Hour director used Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which his production company RatPac Entertainment co-financed, as a primary example of why he thinks Rotten Tomatoes is detrimental to both the film industry and to film criticism.
“I think it’s the destruction of our business. 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. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. 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.”
Batman v Superman was a success at the box office, bringing in nearly $900 million worldwide off of a $250 million budget but is generally considered to have been a disappointment due to its critical reception.
“People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that,” Ratner said. “It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. 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.”
Although perhaps Batman v Superman isn’t the best example for Ratner to use to illustrate his point, there is no denying that there are plenty of popular films that have low scores on Rotten Tomatoes. For example, Home Alone and The Mighty Ducks, both considered to be classics of their genres have scores of 55% and 15% respectively.
Vice President of Rotten Tomatoes, Jeff Voris issued this response following Voris’ comments.
“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. “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.”