‘Hamilton’s’ Brandon Victor Dixon, Director Thomas Eromose Ikimi Launch Movie Review App to Combat Trolls

When online trolls tanked reviews for 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Thomas Eromose Ikimi didn’t get mad, he got inspired.

The fractured response among critics and fans galvanized the filmmaker to create Qurator, a movie review app that allows film enthusiasts to rate and discuss movies without encountering the kind of digital provocateurs that rival sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb have fallen victim to.

“A few years ago I was looking at reviews and I found it very difficult to sift through a rating and decide whether it was accurate,” he told Variety. “I thought that there must be a way of distilling the reactions actual fans would have. That’s what compelled me to look for a solution.”

Ikimi, a computer programmer who directed 2010’s sci-fi thriller “Legacy” with Idris Elba, enlisted Brandon Victor Dixon, best known among theater buffs for “Hamilton” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live,” to bring his vision to life. Dixon and Ikimi financed the app themselves and are now seeking partners and investors since the app launched in Beta in spring.

“I thought it was the immediate solution to a microcosm of the film world,” Dixon explained to Variety. “We are at a point in time where we are really focused on the integrity of the information we’re given. This solution tied both into our film and social zeitgeists.”

Popular on Variety

Qurator aims to weed out biased ratings, particularly from people who have never seen a movie, by testing user’s knowledge with a 60-second quiz before allowing them to weigh in on any particular title. With a barrier to review, the two hope to avoid the type of situation Rotten Tomatoes experienced with “Captain Marvel,” in which thousands of trolls trashed the movie before most of the public even saw Marvel’s first female-led superhero tentpole.

(A sample question from a quiz on Qurator.)

“For people who really care about movies, these things actually matter,” said Ikimi, who adds that the app appeals to both casual moviegoers and film fanatics. “It creates a more unified environment where everyone can participate in their love for films.”

Dixon adds, “I used to pay a lot more attention to reviews, but the issue we’re seeking to fix and what caused me to pay less attention to reviews is I wasn’t getting objective information.”

Since users can’t rate a movie without buying a ticket first, Qurator is designed to have mounting impact over time rather than focusing on opening weekend.

“It reverts back to the golden age of cinema where it’s more about momentum,” Ikimi said. “The more people who say you have to see it prolongs the ability for it to catch fire.”

More Film

  • Feels Good Man

    'Feels Good Man': Film Review

    When is a cartoon frog not just a cartoon frog? When he’s Pepe, the brainchild of artist Matt Furie, who in 2005 created the laid-back anthropomorphic amphibian for a comic about post-collegiate slacker life, only to subsequently watch as the character was adopted as a symbol of white nationalist hate by the alt-right and Donald [...]

  • The Nest

    'The Nest': Film Review

    All work and no play makes Rory O’Hara a dull boy — which is to say, one can scarcely overlook the connections between Sean Durkin’s subtly unsettling second feature, “The Nest,” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” even if this is by far the more tedious of the two movies. While the obsessive dad Law plays [...]

  • Tiziana Soudani

    Tiziana Soudani, Prominent Swiss Producer, Dies

    Swiss producer Tiziana Soudani, who through her Amka Films shepherded prizewinning films by prominent directors from nearby Italy, such as Alice Rohrwacher and Silvio Soldini, as well as by emerging talents in Switzerland and Africa, has died after a struggle with brain cancer. She was in her mid 60s, though her exact age was not immediately verifiable. [...]

  • Time's Up U.K. Teams With British

    British Stars Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel Compile 'Alternative BAFTA' Nominees List

    British stars including Carey Mulligan, Himesh Patel and Gemma Arterton have contributed to an ‘Alternative BAFTAs’ list of nominees that honors talent overlooked by this year’s awards. The campaign is organized by Time’s Up U.K., which is rolling out a social media blitz this week in the lead-up to Sunday’s BAFTA awards honoring the women [...]

  • Rebecca Hall appears in The Night

    'The Night House': Film Review

    A knack for creepy atmospherics and individual scares goes a long way in the horror genre, and it takes “The Night House” pretty far. Though this tale of a new widow’s apparent haunting gets progressively lost in a narrative maze that’s complicated without being particularly rewarding, . Rebecca Hall plays Beth, an upstate New York [...]

  • Herself

    Amazon Studios Buys Phyllida Lloyd's 'Herself' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Amazon Studios has nabbed North American rights to Phyllida Lloyd’s “Herself,” an Irish drama about a woman who builds her dream house after escaping an abusive marriage, Variety has learned.  The streaming service is planning a theatrical release for later this year. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival, where it enjoyed a warm [...]

  • Blast Beat

    'Blast Beat': Film Review

    Back home in Bogota, teen brothers Carly and Mateo — played by siblings (and Disney Channel veterans) Mateo and Moisés Arias — are metal-blasting, skateboard-riding punks, and reluctant partners in crime. Carly, the sensible one, can’t prevent Mateo from dynamiting a dollhouse. But he’ll swoop in, hair flapping like a vampire’s cape, to rescue his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content