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The percentage is NOT a rating! How does Rotten Tomatoes work?



Defining whether a movie is good or bad is extremely complicated, after all taste is subjective. Each time, there is a sort of expectation, preferably, preconceived ideas… so a film that appeals to a person can be very upsetting. It’s like the old saying: “I like it like…”.

Over the past month, this polarization of tastes has intensified with the release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” a film that turned out to be either love or hate.

The production blew up a large part of the reviews for technical reasons (dubious characterization, poorly produced special effects …) and intrigue, considered very assertive and empty. However, part of the audience, as well as critics, bought the idea for the film, considering it to be one of the best films in the hero genre.

There is one piece that has grown in importance in all of this controversy. The infamous for some and the benchmark for others, Rotten Tomatoes. There are a lot of doubts how this site works, after all it just throws a random percentage and rates the movie as good or bad? Does it have a unique rating system? Or is it just in the interests of the big entertainment companies to promote one movie or blow up another?

First of all, it’s good to point out that Rotten works as a review aggregator, or rather, it doesn’t write reviews and publish them like most entertainment sites. Instead, it gathers the ratings of several professional reviewers and the final percentage is a preview of all ratings. In order for your opinion to be considered by the aggregator, it is necessary to be a reviewer of a particular website for a minimum period of two years and, in some cases, to be part of certain review associations.

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One of the first things many see on Rotten is the percentage the movie receives, symbolizing whether it’s a good or bad tomato. This percentage is often considered an arbitrary result and is only measured from 0% to 100%.

It should be noted that just below the “tomatomêtro” there is a series of ratings that the film has gone through, among which a so-called “critics counted”, which collects the opinion of the critics approved by the aggregator and who rated the film in question. The percentage, therefore, present next to the film represents the number of critics registered on the site, divided between the “best critics” (the most famous and the “most important critics”) and the others, who have approved the production.

The question of whether the film was labeled ‘certified frescofresco tomato podretomate’ also differs from this already mentioned percentage. From 0% to 59% the rating is that the film is a “rotten tomato”, 60% to 75% indicates that it is “fresh tomato” and 75% to 100% is “certified fresh”. One curiosity is that the choice to use tomatoes as an evaluation is due to the traditional image of a poorly performing artist and being the target of tomatoes by the public.

A more detailed numerical rating of the reviewers involved can be found in the “Average Score” category, which formulates the calculation of all reviewers involved in the final percentage. This category is found just below the “tomometer”.

Public opinion is also taken into account. Do you know the bucket of popcorn that is on the right side of the assessment? It works the same as the percentage of tomatoes in the left corner. The difference is that it calculates the rating of the internet user and calculates (similar to what we have on IMDB, which only averages the rating of the general public on the Internet), well, the final percentage on this movie. Productions with over 60% approval earn a bucket full of popcorn, while those with up to 59% earn a tipped bucket.

In some cases there is a “critical consensus,” which would be a summary of Rotten’s reviews of a certain movie, where they summarize their opinions on it. However, not all productions receive these notices. It takes a lot of critics to rate this film for it to receive that consensus.

The controversies surrounding “Rotten Tomatoes” are, however, much more complex than the rating system used. It has been said for years that the site favors certain films under pressure from a certain studio, many consider this argument to be a mistake, but certain facts give force to these rumors. From the period of its founding, in 1998, until 2009, the site belonged to Senh Duong. In 2010, Rotten was bought by the social cinema network known as Flixster, which in turn was obtained by Warner Bros. in 2011.

In 2016, Warner sold Rotten and Flixster to Comcast, which is nothing more than the world’s largest media conglomerate. These negotiations ended up being the argument of many people on the false impartiality of the site and that ultimately it serves the interests of one large company. Another controversy has been that recently director Martin Scorsese said that sites like Rotten Tomatoes would end in the future. A lot because films are made to be evaluated over time and not immediately.

In your opinion, are Rotten Tomatoes destroying Hollywood?

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