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Every week when new movies are released, new reviews come along with them. Some films get reviewed well, some poorly. Some movies make a lot of money, others not so much. Kevin Hart knows exactly what kind of movie he likes to be in, and as long as people buy tickets, he doesn’t really care what the critics think.
In an extensive interview with Rolling Stone Hart minces no words when it comes his view on the critics who pan his movies. He says:
I don't give a shit about critical consensus! They poll people after my movies, and I get A's. When I get an F, I'll take criticism.
It’s not surprising that Hart would rather support his fans than his critics. One group likes him quite a bit, while the other has yet to be overly impressed. Comparing Hart’s box office numbers to his reviews is a study in inverse relationships. His highest grossing film to date is 2014’s Ride Along, which earned nearly $135 million, though it has a score of only 18% on Rotten Tomatoes. Last March’s Get Hard has grossed $90 million, with a 29% Freshness Rating on the review aggregator. His audience review scores on the same site hover around double what the critics say.
It’s a position that makes sense for an actor who got his start in stand-up comedy. For a touring comedian reviews mean less than nothing. If the show gets reviewed in the local paper it doesn’t really matter, the comic left town before it was published. For the comedian there is really only one judge of success: did they laugh? If the crowd laughs, you’re doing fine, if not, you need to adjust your act. Hart has obviously taken this same perspective to his films.
It’s an ongoing battle between critical acclaim and box office success. While critical acclaim and awards are desired by films and studios, entertainment is ultimately a business. For that reason, box office success usually trumps anything else and this is what has made Kevin Hart a hot property of late. He may not win an Oscar anytime soon, but his movies make money. His movies help fund the smaller films that tend to win awards, but make less of a splash in the theaters.
Moviegoers will have plenty of chances to judge Kevin Hart in 2016, he has a sequel to Ride Along planned, as well as the action comedy Central Intelligence, where he co-stars with The Rock. The slate certainly fits with the sort of movies that Kevin Hart fans want to see, so we don’t expect he’ll start reading reviews anytime soon.