Blame Rotten Movies

Anthony D'Alessandro and Anita Busch on Pirates 5 and Baywatch bombing at the box office (something I talked about in a newsletter a couple weeks ago):

Insiders close to both films blame Rotten Tomatoes, with Pirates 5 and Baywatch respectively earning 32% and 19% Rotten. The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies. Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences, and once upon a time these types of films — a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy — were critic-proof. Many of those in the industry severely question how Rotten Tomatoes computes the its ratings, and the fact that these scores run on Fandango (which owns RT) is an even bigger problem.
Both Pirates 5 and Baywatch started high on tracking four weeks ago, $90M-$100M over four and $50M over five days respectively, and the minute Rotten Tomatoes hit, those estimates collapsed. Over the weekend, I heard that some studio insiders want to hold off critic screenings until opening day or cancel them all together (that’s pretty ambitious and would cause much ire, we’ll see if that ever happens). Already, studios and agencies are studying RT scores’ impact on advance ticket sales and tracking.
“There’s just not a great date on the calendar to open a poorly reviewed movie,” said one studio marketing vet this morning.

This is the most ridiculous excuse in the world. Think about what they're trying to say for a minute: the movies are failing because the reviews are awful. Of course this is true. There isn't always a direct correlation between the two, but more often than not... 

So what they're really saying is that people shouldn't be allowed to so easily know if a movie is crap or not.

Yes, movie criticism is subjective. But that's why aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes (and Metacritic, which I prefer) are great (for consumers). It makes the criticism less subjective -- in aggregate, these numbers tend to be at least directionally accurate when it comes to how much a wide audience will enjoy a film. 

I could go on, but this is really simple: if you don't want your movie to bomb at the box office, make a good movie. It won't work every time, but it gives it a much better chance of success. People tend to like to see quality...


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