×
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

  • Chris Hemsworth'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Is Chris Hemsworth Ready to Leave the 'Avengers' Franchise?

    Chris Hemsworth isn’t exactly sure when he’ll leave the “Avengers” franchise. “There will come a day,” the “Thor” star told me when we sat down to chat for the second episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s new film podcast. “Whether it’s now or in the future, I don’t know…Who knows what the sort [...]

  • Michael B. JordanLAFH Awards 2019, Los

    Michael B. Jordan, Ronda Rousey Join Efforts to Help the Homeless

    Michael B. Jordan and WWE star Ronda Rousey were just two of the powerhouses that gathered in Hollywood Thursday night for the Los Angeles Family Housing’s annual fundraising celebration. The live-auction event, which brought together hundreds of top industry executives, philanthropists, and government partners, aimed to raise $2 million for LAFH, which builds permanent housing [...]

  • Sinemia

    Sinemia Shuts Down U.S. Movie-Ticket Subscription Service

    Sinemia, a would-be rival to MoviePass, is closing down its U.S. operations — telling customers it could not find “a path to sustainability” amid legal headaches, competitive pressures and the challenging economics of the business model. The company announced the shutdown in a notice on its website Thursday. “While we are proud to have created [...]

  • 'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of

    'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of Possibilities,' Will Make You Cry

    The Thursday evening conversation between game-making auteur Hideo Kojima and “Walking Dead” actor Norman Reedus about highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 game “Death Stranding” was filled with interesting anecdotes, but little in the way of hard fact. Instead, Kojima made a promise of sorts to the audience and seemingly fans everywhere waiting for more news on the [...]

  • Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry

    Watch: Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry ‘Song Without a Name’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — Peru’s La Vida Misma and Paris-based sales agent Luxbox have dropped the first trailer and poster of Melina Leon’s “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), selected this week for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight. Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name” sums up some of ambitions and focus [...]

  • 'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set

    'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set for China Debuts

    Disney’s new live-action “Aladdin” will release in China on May 24, day-and-date with North America, giving the studio a run of three films in Chinese theaters as many months.  Two other Hollywood titles will also hit the big screen in the Middle Kingdom in the coming months: “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” on May 10 and the [...]

  • Patrimonio

    Film Review: 'Patrimonio'

    Though it never really went away on much of the globe, a sort of creeping feudalism is making such a striking comeback — with the ever-more-fabulously-rich squeezing the poor of every dime and resource — that Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s documentary “Patrimonio” feels like a frightening portent. Will such crude appropriations of land [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content