They accuse the advertising agency of paying for good reviews for Rotten Tomatoes – The USA Print

They accuse the advertising agency of paying for good reviews for Rotten Tomatoes - Tomatazos

This is not the first time that the site Rotten Tomatoes is embroiled in controversy. For several years, well-known directors such as Martin Scorsese have launched harsh criticism, and according to an article in the New York Times In 2017, during a meeting, the CEO of a major Hollywood company said that he would destroy Rotten Tomatoes. Now, a new scandal splashes the site, as an article from vulture has revealed that an ad agency paid for positive reviews, which undermines the credibility of the ratings.

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Why accuse an ad agency of paying for positive reviews?

The article begins by explaining that the film Ophelia, starring Daisy Ridley, was not well received by critics. Of the 13 reviews published after the first screenings, seven were negative, resulting in a 46% rating, a disappointing score for a film that aspired to be prestigious and did not yet have a distributor in the country. This is where Bunker 15 comes in, which, unlike other PR agencies, opts for more obscure critics who are part of the set monitored by Rotten Tomatoes, which you pay $50 or more for each review. This information would have been released by the critics themselves.

Current Rotten Tomatoes logo
Current Rotten Tomatoes logo

In an attempt to improve the rating of ophelia, a Bunker 15 employee contacted a prospective critic, suggesting that more opinions from different critics might be needed. When the critic asked what would happen if he didn’t like the movie, Bunker 15 assured him that he was free to write whatever he wanted. However, it was hinted that those kind reviewers often choose not to post negative reviews on their regular sites.

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Between October 2018 and January 2019, eight reviews were added to the review score. ophelia in Rotten Tomatoes. Seven were positive and came from critics who had already reviewed other Bunker 15 films. In this way, the film increased its rating to 62%, going from “rotten” to “fresh”. Soon after, distributor IFC Films picked up the film for US release.

vulture tried to contact Bunker 15, and Daniel Harlowfounder of the agency, argued that only a small group of critics have a system of payment for reviews:

We have thousands of writers on our mailing list. A small group has created a specific system whereby filmmakers can sponsor or pay to have a film reviewed.

In accordance with vulturethe example of ophelia sheds light on the functioning and influence of Rotten Tomatoes. Despite its importance in the industry, the platform is susceptible to manipulation. Filmmaker Paul Schrader opined that Rotten Tomatoes it’s a tool that studios can and do manipulate. The site’s reliability and role in decision-making in the film industry is questionable.

On the other hand, it is quite understandable why it is so popular Rotten Tomatoes. Most people don’t know if it’s going to be worth paying for a movie ticket, and they also don’t have the time or interest to read every single review that’s been written, so the site provides a score, which isn’t a grade, but the passing percentage. If they register ten reviews and seven of them gave a positive rating (which can be from 6 to 10, or from medium to five stars), the approval rate will be 70% and you will have a fresh tomato, and if only three were positive , you will have a 30% approval rating and a rotten, green, popped tomato.

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