Hollywood blames Rotten Tomatoes for Poor Summer Box Office

Pictured L to R: Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Photo credit: Film Frame. © Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Another day, another Hollywood blames Rotten Tomatoes on their poor summer box office showings article shows up.  I can think of some great films I saw this summer but they didn’t make much money being that they were independent movies and not the product of the Hollywood studio system.

So it’s sad when I see Hollywood attacking us film critics yet again for their dismal summer when there were some great films released and they made money.  It’s the films that they never should have made because those were just for the sake of merchandising or bringing in the money from China.  If studios don’t want negative reviews, they should listen to the best advice they’ve been receiving and make better movies.

There were some interesting quotes in The New York Times this morning.

Brett Ratner, who single-handedly destroyed the X-Men franchise with one of the worst films in the series, refers to Rotten Tomatoes as being “the destruction of our business.”

While Ratner has said that in public, some studio executives have actually said–at least in private–that their movies were bad.  Good for them to own up to it.

According to the NYT article:

Some filmmakers complain bitterly that Rotten Tomatoes casts too wide a critical net. The site says it works with some 3,000 critics worldwide, including bloggers and YouTube-based pundits. But should reviewers from Screen Junkies and Punch Drunk Critics really be treated as the equals of those from The Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker?

At the same time, Fandango president Paul Yanover has said that he would like to see more female and minority voices writing film criticism be included on their site.  The problem with that is when it comes to online film critics, one must have written 100 movie reviews across two calendar years at a single Tomatometer-approved outlet.  Yanover notes that “critics at traditional outlets tended to be white men and that Rotten Tomatoes wanted to include female and minority voices.”

I’m a transgender film critic in three award-voting organizations–two of which are recognized by IMDB but neither of them are the critics groups that RT will consider for inclusion.  I don’t know if or when I’ll ever be writing for a Tomatometer-approved outlet but one of the things I keep hearing is how important it is to have trans voices out there.  I don’t get 500,000 views a month on my site so Solzy at the Movies will never be able to qualify for Rotten Tomatoes.  I’d like to write for a Tomatometer-approved outlet but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

The other day, producer Jerry Bruckheimer was commenting on the possibility of making yet another Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  According to Yahoo Movies:

“I think it did phenomenal,” Bruckheimer told Yahoo Movies during an interview to promote the sequel’s upcoming Blu-ray release. “I mean, you’re talking about the fifth [film] in the series in a down market, and the American dollar is so strong that we’re getting less returns from foreign.”

Bruckheimer blamed a lower exchange rate for the U.S. dollar for significantly impacting the bottom line. “This movie would’ve [made] a billion dollars had it been back in the same financial [situation as On Stranger Tides],” he noted. “But we lost 27 percent of our money just by the conversion rate.”

Bruckheimer rejected the whole idea of franchise fatigue playing into the box office take.  The reality is that franchise fatigue did play into the poor take.  A few years ago, I passed on seeing the fourth Transformers after the third film felt like such an awful let down.  The only reason why I saw the new one was because I attended an advanced screening.  There’s no way that I was going to shell out any money to see that mess.

As far as a new film in the franchise goes:

“Well, I hope we can continue to make it,” he said, “but you know we’ve been having so much fun just promoting this one right now that we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully it’s very successful on DVD as the other ones have been. Then hopefully we’ll sit down and see where we go.”

If Disney is smart, they won’t take the film franchise any further than they already have.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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