Brett Ratner Has Beef With Rotten Tomatoes, Says It Hurts The Business

Every week I get dozens of messages from readers saying things like, "Travis, thanks for steering me away from that movie!", and my response is usually something to the effect of "Don't just listen to me. Decide for yourself." Unfortunately, for most people that means just heading over to Rotten Tomatoes, where I am a Tomato-Meter critic, and judging movies on their critical score. As you might expect, a lot of filmmakers have taken issue with having their movies reduced to a simple percentage score, but you might not have expected Brett Ratner to be so vocal about it.

Ratner cut loose on the review aggregating site at the Sun Valley Film Festival, in particular over its negative impact on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which he helped finance. In honesty, the points he makes about that movie are exactly like what I've been saying for the past year...

“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes,” he said. “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 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."

“People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. 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.”

I agree. Not to get into another 'Batman v Superman' discussion, but that movie made a lot of money, the fans generally liked it, but the only thing people referred to was its Rotten Tomatoes critic score which was in the tank. And that negativity has carried over to everything Warner Bros. has done, regardless of the fact each of their movies has been financially successful. 

That said, it's kind of funny for the guy behind Rush Hour, Hercules, Tower Heist, and X-Men: The Last Stand to be complaining about bad reviews. He's actually a very capable producer with good taste in choosing movies, but as a director he leaves much to be desired and, shocker, his movies have horrible Rotten Tomatoes scores. To be fair, practically all critics, even some of the greats, reduce their reviews to either a score, a symbol, or a thumbs up/thumbs down system. The goal for each of us is to make it as easy as possible for curious readers to figure out how we feel about a movie, and Rotten Tomatoes is just an expansion of that. [EW]