Rotten Tomatoes has launched a new Top Critics program for its Tomatometer rating system, including new criteria aimed at boosting inclusion and recognizing individual achievement in criticism.
“At Rotten Tomatoes, we continue our commitment to building a more inclusive critics pool that reflects and serves the global entertainment audience, and today we took another important step by modernizing our Top Critics program,” said Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes head of critics relations. “Our team understands the value of the Top Critic designation and its ability to expand professional opportunities for critics. With an increased focus on individual merit and contributions to the field of criticism, our team is thrilled to award Top Critic status to an additional 170 deserving voices.”
Rotten Tomatoes said its refreshed Top Critics criteria place an increased emphasis on a critic’s individual qualifications, body of work and dedication to the art and future of entertainment criticism, rather than basing the critic’s designation solely on their publication or employer’s status. Critics working in modern media platforms beyond the written review, including podcasts and digital and video series, are also now eligible for Top Critic consideration.
Rotten Tomatoes is a 22-year-old review aggregator site that’s been owned by Comcast’s Fandango ticketing site since 2016. A movie’s Tomatometer score is aimed at providing an overall look at reviews with a film considered “fresh” if positive reviews make up more than 60% of reviews, while a film is rated “rotten” if that number is less than 60%. The Top Critic designation was created in 2008 to distinguish Tomatometer-approved critics who excel at and demonstrate a deep commitment to their craft.
The company said the pool of those offering authoritative perspectives as Top Critics will be more inclusive. Of the 170 new individually approved Top Critics, 60% are women, an estimated 25% are people of color and 24% publish via video and podcast media. Rotten Tomatoes also said it will be granting approval to several new outlets whose high-quality work serves underrepresented audiences.
Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics designation will now be determined by a selection committee that includes the Rotten Tomatoes critic relations and curation teams, as well as a recently formed advisory board of critics and industry professionals.
“Professional critics have been the backbone of Rotten Tomatoes for more than twenty years and they have helped Rotten Tomatoes grow into the trusted resource for entertainment reviews and recommendations,” said Paul Yanover, president of Fandango. “Revamping Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics program is another key move in our ongoing effort to increase inclusion and elevate the voices of underrepresented critics, ensuring that we serve our global audience with the best, most authentic information.”
The company noted that in 2018, it “refreshed” the overall criteria for critics contributing reviews to its Tomatometer rating system, allowing more freelance critics to qualify, as well as those working on newer media platforms. Since then, it has added more than 825 new critics — 51% are women; an estimated 20% are people of color, 59% are freelancers and 13% publish on newer media platforms.