Rotten Tomatoes aggregates movie reviews to spit out a freshness score for each film. There’s a problem though. For Vulture, Lane Brown reports on the flawed system:
But despite Rotten Tomatoes’ reputed importance, it’s worth a reminder: Its math stinks. Scores are calculated by classifying each review as either positive or negative and then dividing the number of positives by the total. That’s the whole formula. Every review carries the same weight whether it runs in a major newspaper or a Substack with a dozen subscribers.
If a review straddles positive and negative, too bad. “I read some reviews of my own films where the writer might say that he doesn’t think that I pull something off, but, boy, is it interesting in the way that I don’t pull it off,” says Schrader, a former critic. “To me, that’s a good review, but it would count as negative on Rotten Tomatoes.”
Studios have of course learned how to game the system, not to mention most of the site is now owned by movie ticket seller Fandango.