- On Thursday, Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review aggregation site, announced that it had added a verification feature to its audience score.
- Going forward, audience scores for movies on the site will indicate if people who rated or reviewed that movie purchased a ticket.
- It’s the latest tweak by Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company, Fandango, to give the score more legitimacy and protect it from being weaponised.
- Before the release of “Captain Marvel,” the audience score for the movie was purposely given a low rating by some internet trolls who were against the movie’s progressive message.
- This led Rotten Tomatoes to change its policy and stop featuring audience scores for movies until they were released in theatres.
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Rotten Tomatoes announced on Thursday that it had added a verification feature to its audience score, which will now show whether a user has seen the movie they have scored or reviewed.
Beginning Thursday, when an audience score is revealed for a title, it will indicate which ratings come from fans who have been confirmed to have purchased a ticket to the movie. And if those fans write reviews, a “verified” badge will appear. Audience scores can also be seen in “verified audience” or “all audience” options. Titles already on the site since Thursday will not feature verified ratings or reviews.
Rotten Tomatoes users can opt-in to get their ratings and reviews verified if they purchase tickets on Fandango, the movie-ticket selling site that’s also the parent company of Rotten Tomatoes. Later this year, the three biggest theatre chains in the country – AMC, Regal, and Cinemark – will also participate as theatre authenticators. And Rotten Tomatoes hopes more chains will come on board in the future.
Rotten Tomatoes is hugely popular for people who want an idea of how good (or bad) a movie is before going to see it themselves. One way to find out is by seeing the site’s “Tomatometer,” which compiles a score for the title from the sometimes hundreds of critics who file their reviews of a movie to the site. The other way is the audience score, which up until now didn’t indicate if the people who were rating a movie on the site had actually seen it.
Through the years, as the site has grown in popularity for not just movie fans but also Hollywood, which loves to tout a high Tomatometer score in the marketing of movies, the audience score has, at times, come under fire.
The most recent audience score that made headlines was when some internet trolls raged against the progressive message of “Captain Marvel,” the first female superhero to have a standalone movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and purposely lowered its audience score before the movie had even hit the theatres. It led to Rotten Tomatoes announcing that an audience score for a movie would no longer appear until the movie was available to the public.
Fandango president Paul Yanover told Business Insider in April that for some time the company had observed that, for certain releases, Rotten Tomatoes (and specifically its audience score) was being weaponised.
“We saw that this was becoming at times a message board,” Yanover said. “They aren’t even talking about the movie, they are talking about their feelings that the movie happens to have triggered. We felt it can’t be that useful for you to listen to people speculating about something they haven’t seen. Or worse, talking off topic. So we addressed it.”
Over on the Fandango site, the five-star fan rating will be replaced by Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score. Unverified ratings and reviews will still be allowed on the site.
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