Rotten Tomatoes is overhauling its Audience Rating System in an effort to stop so-called “review bombing.” The review aggregation site will start by ditching the “want to see” audience rating ahead of a movie’s release. The update arrives after the alleged “review bombing” campaign against Captain Marvel, which allegedly saw trolls weaponize the user rating system to drive down its “want to see” score. Although there’s no proof this is the case. Many people just don’t like what they have seen of the movie so far.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, visitors were confusing the “want to see” rating with its “Audience Score.” The audience score shows the percentage of all users who’ve rated a movie or show positively — which on the site means a rating of 3.5 stars or more — and is reserved for post-release.
“We’re doing it to more accurately and authentically represent the voice of fans, while protecting our data and public forums from bad actors,” the site wrote in its blog post. The update follows changes made to the critics criteria last August aimed at opening up the Tomatometer to independent voices from YouTube and elsewhere.
What users will think of these changes remains to be seen.
They took down a series of negative Captain Marvel user reviews and are also removing comments altogether for films in pre-release. “Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership,” the site wrote in its blog post. “We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action.” Users will still be able to comment on a film as normal once it’s in theatres.
Rotten Tomatoes’ critics score has previously been criticized by Hollywood for derailing its blockbusters. But that’s easy to say when people don’t want to see your movie.