Subject: Rotten Tomatoes Under Fire For "Justice League" Review
The movie-review aggregator waited more than 24 hours to post a poor
critics' score for the new Warner Bros. film "Justice League," breaking
with tradition of posting right after a studio-imposed ban. It incensed
critics and fans alike.
Fueling the fire: WB parent Time Warner owns a 30 percent stake in
More than just a kerfuffle over one superhero movie, the incident raises
larger questions about the relationship between reviewers and the
public, the editorial objectivity of aggregators and how much studios
should be empowered to control the pre-release messaging of their films.
"I think we need more transparency and equality on Rotten Tomatoes,"
said Guy Lodge, a critic who contributes to Variety. "An aggregation
site should practice absolute objectivity. You mix Time Warner into it,"
he added, "and it becomes very confusing."
A Rotten Tomatoes spokeswoman declined to provide a comment for this
story, as did a WB spokeswoman.
With a budget approaching $300 million, "Justice League" is among the
most expensive movies ever made. Warner Bros. has a lot riding on the DC
Comics film, seeking its own ensemble superhero blockbuster to rival the
"Avengers" series from Disney/Marvel.
The Rotten Tomatoes affair began when the site postponed its release of
the "Justice League" critics' score — the percentage of reviewers who
certify a movie as "fresh," or good — from late Tuesday to early
Thursday, just hours before the movie was to begin playing in theaters.
The move was rare, but the site said it wanted to reveal the number on a
new Facebook video segment. The score would turn out to be a subpar 43
Some saw the withholding of the score, which was widely expected to be
low, as an attempt to bury bad news about a sister company and not deter
ticket sales ahead of opening weekend.
"Warner Bros is a minority owner of Rotten Tomatoes' parent company. I
respect a lot of people who work there but this is a BAD bad look,"
Katey Rich, a VanityFair.com editor, tweeted. Rotten Tomatoes is owned
by the ticket-sale site Fandango, of which Warner Bros. owns 30 percent
and Comcast Universal owns 70 percent.