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How Rotten Tomatoes Scores Can Be Terribly Misleading

Rotten Tomato Scores Misleading

Would you rather watch a film that all your friends said was pretty good, although not very remarkable, or watch a film that half your friends said was brilliant and the other half said they hated?

Since I consider myself smarter than all of my friends (who doesn’t?), I think I’d be a better judge of the more divisive film than they are. Therefore, I’d be pretty eager to see it for myself and make my own haughty opinion as to whether the film is any good or not.

On the surface, that’s the problem with Rotten Tomatoes scores: they can be terribly misleading. Unlike with Metacritic, for example, which uses weighted scores to qualitatively rank a film from 0-100, Rotten Tomatoes uses a completely different methodology.

Check out the above infographic. Rotten Tomatoes considers any score above 60% to be “Fresh.” Where I come from, anything in the 60th percentile is graded as a D. Yet if ten critics all give a film a rating in the 60 percent range–which is considered passable–the film will in turn receive a 100% Fresh rating.

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Now, I’m sure there a tons of “atodaso” folks out there who want to dismiss all this as being common knowledge and quite obvious. But take a second to consider the actual psychology at play here.

Another film information and rating site, IMDb, uses a 0-10 scale, with ten being reserved for films that are considered among the very best ever made (though in reality we know that a perfect score is virtually impossible to achieve … “The Godfather,” for example, only has a score of 9.2). Simply put, the higher the score, the more rarefied the air that one can expect from the overall quality of the movie.

And as previously mentioned, Metacritic seeks to rank quality in a similar manner using a scale of 0-100, though it uses weighted rankings from select critics. Once again, the higher the score, the better the movie.

On the other hand, Rotten Tomatoes uses a completely different methodology in calculating its scores. It’s one that–in my opinion, at least–rewards mediocracy and penalizes films that seek to push the boundaries of convention, conviction, or taste.

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Want proof? How about these two classic and much beloved films that are considered “Rotten”: Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs,” which has a rating of 56%, and Steven Spielberg’s “Hook,” which has a rating of 29%. Yes you read that right–29%!!!

So that’s why when it comes to judging the quality of a film, Metaflix has always given more credence to Metacritic than Rotten Tomatoes, because if loving “Spaceballs” and “Hook” is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

PS: Wanna buy an awesome “Spaceballs” shirt? Click HERE or on the image below to head to our merch store full of ORIGINAL movie designs: