×

Rotten Tomatoes Dismisses Claim ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ User Ratings Were Skewed by Bots

Did an alt-right fanboy group — supposedly unhappy with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” over its alleged “feminist agenda” — game Rotten Tomatoes’ user ratings to push down the score? The website says the claim is hogwash.

“The Last Jedi” currently has a 92% aggregate critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, making it “Certified Fresh” — but registers a score of just 54% among users. Out of nearly 135,000 ratings tabulated by the site as of Thursday, the average user rating was 3.2 out of 5. The marked discrepancy between critics and audiences was already apparent when the rankings first were released last week.

Now, someone affiliated with a Facebook group called “Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” has claimed that he enlisted bots to spam Rotter Tomatoes with negative reviews of “Last Jedi,” according to a report by the Huffington Post. That’s allegedly because he was angry about “Star Wars” producers emasculating characters like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

“I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots,” the unnamed alt-righter told HuffPost. “There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump.”

But it’s far more likely that thousands of disgruntled “Star Wars” fans are actually responsible for the weak Rotten Tomatoes user score. Asked about the claims outlined in the HuffPost piece, Rotten Tomatoes said the security team tasked with managing the scores hasn’t seen any unusual user activity that would indicate its scores have been successfully tampered with.

“For ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ we have seen an uptick in people posting written user reviews, as fans are very passionate about this movie and the franchise,” a Rotten Tomatoes rep said, but the number of written reviews being posted by fans is comparable to 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“The authenticity of our critic and user scores is very important to Rotten Tomatoes and as a course of regular business, we have a team of security, network, social and database experts who closely monitor our platforms,” the rep added.

In any case, the low Rotten Tomatoes user rating hasn’t slowed down “The Last Jedi” at the box office: The Disney-Lucasfilm movie was poised to top $600 million worldwide Thursday, after just six days in wide release.

Rotten Tomatoes is part of NBCUniversal’s Fandango, which acquired the movie-ranking site in 2016 from Warner Bros.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • James Bond Spectre

    James Bond Movie Title Revealed

    The latest James Bond adventure finally has a title. The 25th entry in the action spy series will be named “No Time to Die.” In the upcoming movie, Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA [...]

  • IFC Midnight Buys Brighton Sharbino Survival

    IFC Midnight Buys Survival Thriller 'Radioflash' (EXCLUSIVE)

    IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to “Radioflash,” a survival thriller starring Dominic Monaghan and Brighton Sharbino, Variety has learned. The company will release the movie on Nov. 15. The film imagines a dystopian future, one in which an electric-magnetic pulse strikes America, knocking out all the power and pushing the country into the Dark [...]

  • Lee-Daniels-headshot

    Lee Daniels Entertainment Announces Diverse Creative Workshop

    Lee Daniels Entertainment and the online entertainment network Represent by OMV have launched a diversity-focused creative workshop to promote a diverse group of new writers. The workshop will be held from Sept. 25-28 in Los Angeles, with travel provided by American Airlines. Industry professionals will mentor aspiring creatives from underrepresented communities with workshops, meetings with [...]

  • Peter Fonda Obit Remembered

    Remembering Peter Fonda, Indie Revolutionary and Counterculture Icon (Column)

    Captain America has died. Not the spandex-clad Marvel superhero, but counterculture poster boy Peter Fonda, who shook up Hollywood and revolutionized the country’s sense of itself by co-writing, producing and starring in “Easy Rider” 50 years ago this summer — the same summer depicted in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” Culture [...]

  • Knives Out

    Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out' Sells to KKR's New Distribution Company in Germany

    Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” has been picked up for Germany by the newly established distribution company owned by New York-based private equity group KKR. Fred Kogel’s rapidly growing, but still unnamed, German independent production and distribution operation has taken all rights for Germany and Austria on the all-star whodunnit, which stars Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content