Heading into the tail end of last week, there was no score reported on Rotten Tomatoes for The Emoji Movie and there’s a reason for this–it wasn’t offered to us as a press screening. In other words, if we wanted to consider this film for awards season, we’ll have to see it ourselves.
I’m not going to consider it during awards season and judging by the current Rotten Tomatoes score of 6%, the only awards that anyone will consider voting for it will be the annual Razzie Awards for the worst films of the year.
Over the last few months, it’s no surprise that studio tentpole films such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Baywatch, The Mummy, The House, and Transformers: The Last Knight have all been hit hard during the opening weekend because of less-than-stellar numbers on Rotten Tomatoes. The solution to fixing this is making better movies rather than choosing to not screen it for critics.
Sony Animation, which likely saw the writing on the wall for The Emoji Movie, chose not to screen the film for critics in advance.
According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“What other wide release with a score under 8 percent has opened north of $20 million? I don’t think there is one,” says Josh Greenstein, Sony Pictures president of worldwide marketing and distribution. “The Emoji Movie was built for people under 18, so we wanted to give the movie its best chance.”
This wasn’t a film targeted to adults but children. Do young children check Rotten Tomatoes before leaving for the theaters? No. It’s likely the parents that would have taken them anyway since it’s targeted to those families with children. It’s titles that are targeted to older audiences that usually are hurt by a low score and there are those people that would see it anyway.
Rotten Tomatoes is my make-or-break on films that aren’t offered to me as a film critic. I may consider seeing something in the 50% range if I like the pedigree of those involved but I will already know going in that it may be one that’s hard to keep my attention. Among those films not offered to me as a press screening, I’ve seen more fresh or Certified Fresh films after their release. When they aren’t, it sometimes takes me until Tuesday just to catch up on everything release (in addition to the screener links I receive from the smaller indie films).
Another film from Sony Pictures, The Dark Tower, won’t see its press embargo end until tomorrow after critics see it tonight as a press screening. This has many of us in the press worrying about the quality of the film.
If the studios want better scores, they just need to make better films.