×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Rotten Tomatoes Scores Don’t Impact Box Office, Study Finds

A new study issued Monday debunks some of the mounting concerns that the scoring system Rotten Tomatoes publishes analyzing movie-critics reactions is hurting box-office performance.

Yves Bergquist, director of the Data & Analytics Project at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, analyzed film data going back to 2000 and came to a conclusion quite counter to the conventional wisdom gaining steam in Hollywood: “Rotten Tomatoes scores have never played a very big role in driving box office performance, either positively or negatively,” he wrote in a blog post published on Medium.

What’s more, his analysis of 2017 alone found that there is no positive or negative correlation between Rotten Tomatoes scores and box office. Bergquist found the same held true when looking at just the summer 2017 season alone, which was a rough one for the studios, and when looking strictly at opening-weekend box office.

Contrary to the notion that critics are too hard on blockbuster films, Bergquist discovered that critics have actually been kinder to movies grossing more than $300 million worldwide:  the median Rotten Tomatoes Score has gone up to 77.5 in 2017, several points higher than it’s been going back to the previous high of 73 in 2013.

As for the notion that critics are souring fans on films, Berquist’s analysis of the audience’s own Rotten Tomatoes scores found them in lockstep. “There’s virtually no difference between critics’ scores and audiences’ scores, and the more successful the film is at the box office, the smaller the difference,” wrote Bergquist. “Which means that audiences are becoming experts at smelling a ‘bad’ movie and staying away.”

Bergquist’s analysis also goes on to demolish other myths that studios may also find distressing with regard to whether the expense of CGI and other investments in production budgets are a reliable guarantor of box office success. Quite the opposite, it turns out.

“This means that, as financial exposure rises, so does financial risk,” he wrote. “This is not good (for a long time it was the opposite), and is a substantial reason why Wall Street has been so tough on entertainment stocks lately.”

The role of Rotten Tomatoes in box-office performance intensified over the summer as titles from “Baywatch” to “The Emoji Movie” saw their varying fortunes hotly debated.

More Film

  • 'The Dirt' Review: A Mötley Crüe

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

  • Zac Efron Amanda Seyfried

    Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Animated Scooby-Doo Film as Fred and Daphne

    Zac Efron has signed on to voice Fred Jones while Amanda Seyfried will voice Daphne Blake in Warner Bros.’ animated Scooby-Doo feature film “Scoob.” It was revealed earlier this month that Will Forte had been set to voice Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, while Gina Rodriguez would be voicing Velma Dinkley. The mystery-solving teens and their talking [...]

  • 'Staff Only' Review: Cultures And Values

    Film Review: 'Staff Only'

    Marta (Elena Andrada) is 17, from Barcelona and alternately bored and mortified to be on a Christmas vacation to Senegal with her estranged dad, Manel (Sergi López), and annoying little brother, Bruno (Ian Samsó). For her, the freedoms of imminent adulthood, such as the occasional poolside mojito, are tantalizing close but still technically forbidden, rather [...]

  • Rocketman

    Candid 'Rocketman' Dares to Show Elton John as 'Vulnerable,' 'Damaged,' 'Ugly'

    Elton John movie “Rocketman” dares to portray the singer’s personality early in his career to have been, at times, “ugly,” Taron Egerton – who plays the pop star – told an audience at London’s Abbey Road Studios Friday, following a screening of 15 minutes of footage from the film. It is a candid portrayal, showing [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck's Addiction Drama Set for Awards-Season Release

    Warner Bros. has given Ben Affleck’s untitled addiction drama an awards-season-friendly release date of Oct. 18. The film, which has been known previously as “The Has-Been” and “Torrance,” is directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Affleck as a former basketball player struggling with addiction, which has led to him losing his wife. As part of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content