Rotten Tomatoes may have started as a simple review aggregation site, but it now wields an extreme amount of power in Hollywood. Studios have bemoaned its ability to make or break a movie and now one fringe group is attempting to subvert the site to take down an upcoming movie.
Now, it’s worth noting that the Rotten Tomatoes score that most people pay attention to is the Critic’s Score, but there’s a separate tally called the Audience Score.
Rather than professional film reviewers, the percentage displayed in the Audience Score is taken from reviews by regular everyday moviegoers.
On February 16, Marvel Studios is releasing their new superhero film, Black Panther, which features a near entirely black cast.
The film is highly anticipated and early word-of-mouth from the Hollywood premiere is that Black Panther is a hugely successful movie.
In fact, the film is on track for a possibly record-setting opening weekend, with pundits predicting the movie will take in between $130-150 million.
However, a Facebook Group called “Down with Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” is attempting to sabotage Black Panther‘s Audience Score.
The group claims that Disney (Marvel’s parent company) is somehow manipulating critics into giving bad reviews for rival Warner Bros.’ DC superhero films.
Over 3,700 participants signed up for the group’s event, “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.”
The group’s actions spurred a rare statement from Rotten Tomatoes themselves, denouncing their actions and making plans to stop them.
“We at Rotten Tomatoes are proud to have become a platform for passionate fans to debate and discuss entertainment and we take that responsibility seriously. While we respect our fans’ diverse opinions, we do not condone hate speech.”
Fortunately, it appears the group has disbanded after Rotten Tomatoes put out the statement. The page has been deactivated and Facebook has not yet made a comment whether they were involved in shutting the group down.