Nowadays, if we want to watch a new film in the cinema, we would check the review of the film first – like IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, MetaCritic, or Chinese sites like Douban Movies (豆瓣电影) and Dushe Movies (毒舌电影). They act like the “testing probe” of the movies, telling us if the movie is worth watching.
While many audience search the reviews in these sites, the Hollywood industry – from filmakers to investors – recently condamned Rotten Tomatoes for “ruining their business”. (Source in Chinese)
From the first weekend of May, to the Labor’s Day in the U.S. on September 4, the gross box office in North America during the period dropped 15% compared to the same time last year, a great decline that the industry never has over the last 20 years.
The Hollywood industry is not the only one that got pissed off. Recently, some of the directors from the National Day blockbuster movies, condamned their work got rated poorly with “1 star” way before they are out for public. (Source in Chinese)
Now, are the film review aggregation websites the culprit to the downfall of the box office, or the poison to the film’s box office?
First of all, the reviews on the film review aggregation websites are not just for professional film critics. Everyone who have watched the film can rate and write a review on it. When the rating count gets large enough, the overall rating and review is reliable and basically revealed the judging and thoughts of most audience.
This mechanism works fine and fair for almost every film of every genre. However, there are some KOL critics violate the rules, leaving bad reviews on purpose before the film release, and ask the directors or investors of the film for money to remove the bad reviews. For these malpractice, the operation group of these websites should be checked often, and take out these bad reviews to prevent them from misleading the audience.
But there’s another type of malpractice that make the audience more dissatisfied – the crew or the investors of the film release fake reviews along with ads or other pomotions before the film release to disguise the film as a good one, while it is actually a poor-made, nonsense BS. This means by the time the audience discover the film’s poor quality, the investors have gained a lot of income.
In the case of National Day blockbuster movies, two of the three directors are actually making false accusations of Douban Movies for “ruining the reputation of the film and the crew”. But, is it actually the story?
If you watch the trailer of these movies, you will find the scenes, the costumes, the plot, the music and everything else is rubbish, and never keep your eye a second more on them. Obviously, these accusations just reveal how bad the movies are.
What’s more, the early stage rating doesn’t mean everything. A lot of films that are not well rated at the beginning, eventually get good reviews and reputations, like Mr. Donkey (驴得水), Duckweed (乘风破浪) and Da Hu Fa (大护法), they get a rating of 7/10 or more, even there are a lot of “1 star” ratings before they are released.
We always emphasize, “Content is always the core”. Without the great content, the work is just a white elephant and not worth a second taste. This is not just for movies, but also for other videos, music, literature and other forms of art. The rating in these film review aggregation websites doesn’t mean everything, but it also reveals how the public speaks to the film industry.