Yesterday EW and others went with a story about Ratpac producer Brett Ratner calling Rotten Tomatoes “the destruction of our business”, mainly because Batman v Superman was hurt by its 27% rating. BvS also earned a 44% Metacritic score — that didn’t matter? And what about the fact that Batman v Superman was mostly a drag to sit through, and that everyone more or less agreed with that view?
The viral thing that really damaged the reputation of Batman v Superman, I feel, was the sad Ben Affleck junket-interview footage overlaid with Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Sounds of Silence.” One look at Affleck’s forlorn expression and people who hadn’t seen BvS just knew.
By the way: Ratner’s comments were from last weekend during his visit to Sun Valley Film Festival (3.15 to 3.19). As EW filed Thursday morning Ratner’s comments were most likely issued sometime late Wednesday, so someone sat on this for at least three days and possibly four. Whoever reported Ratner’s comments (a journalist? a festival staffer?) is a real go-getter.
Related development: In a hastily called press conference this morning, the producers of La La Land, Moonlight, Manchester By The Sea, Hell or High Water and Zootopia joined Ratner in condemning the Rotten Tomatoes effect.
“The fact that our films all scored in the mid to upper 90s is beside the point,” saidu La La producer Jordan Horowitz. “Yes, these scores probably reflected the fact that our films are very well made, emotionally affecting and widely admired, but the important thing from our perspective is to stand by Brett and movies like Batman v Superman, and to remind everyone that the point of modern megaplex cinema is to sit there in meek submission as you’re pounded and drowned by comic-book formula and CG torrents and the imaginings of guys like Zack Snyder. That’s what really matters, and is why we all love movies.” [Note: This is a made-up parody quote — a couple of readers have actually asked if it’s real or not.]
From EW story: “Speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival last weekend, the Rush Hour director wanted to make it clear he has plenty respect for traditional film critics. But he says reducing hundreds of reviews culled from print and online sources into a popularized aggregate score has become a toxic and often inaccurate label.
“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes,” Ratner said last weekend. “I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.
“People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”