Movie critical aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes has come under fire in the past year or so for seemingly doing little about organised attacks by both online trolls and programmed bots who target their ‘Audience Score’ of major movies.
Each film page on the site includes both a ‘Critical Score’ which averages out review scores from film critics, and an ‘Audience Score’ which starts out as a ‘Want To See’ score before release, and a ‘Liked It’ score after. The problem is bots and trolls target the ‘Audience Score’ for films mostly ahead and sometimes after release and skew the results – as was reportedly seen with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Black Panther” and “Ghostbusters”.
Both Disney’s “Captain Marvel” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” also came under attack earlier this week, Marvel’s ‘Want To See’ Audience Score quickly plunging to 40% in the wake of 25,830 user ratings. Many of these were automated as the figure is not consistent with the ‘Audience Review’ section which shows 19 pages of 70% or above positive pre-release comments. To give you a comparison, “Alita: Battle Angel” has been out for a few weeks and has racked up 256 pages of comments off of 18,487 user ratings.
Now, in an update posted to the site, they confirm they have overhauled their Audience Rating System. The biggest change is the ‘Want to See’ score has been abandoned – meaning the ‘Audience Score’ will only consist of the ‘Liked It’ score which will begin tallying upon a film’s release.
They’re also disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date due to the “uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling.” This means no more pre-release popularity polls or snarky comments on the site… at least not ahead of opening. Any potential tampering will therefore be delayed until after a film is out, and there’s no word in the posting on any new measures to patrol or control that possibility.