Kevin Hart's latest movie Night School sees the actor join a hilarious cast in a comedy about a group of misfits going to night school to earn their GEDs. Despite the premise and the comedic talent involved, however, critics haven't found much to laugh at in the film. Reviews have been largely negative for the movie, and Night School currently sits at a decidedly rotten 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. You might think this would bother the film's star, but for Kevin Hart it's the fan's opinions that matters most, as he recently explained:
It's been so positive from the fans. The main reason I never really feed into any reviews or articles before the movie comes out is because movies are made for the people. The beautiful thing about getting that 'A-' CinemaScore is it shows that there is a demand for comedy. It adds to my reason for never listening to the critics or feeding into the reviews. The people are going to dictate the success that your movie has.
Kevin Hart makes a great point. No matter the narrative around a film or any kind of negative buzz review-wise, the moviegoing audience, not the critics, are who determine a film's success or failure, at least by some metrics. And in that regard Night School looks to be a success. The actor notes the film's Cinemascore, which measures the opinions of real opening night audiences. The "A-" Night School received is a pretty good score that's better than something like the similarly rotten Venom managed (it received a "B+"). That indicates that the audiences who saw it and were polled mostly enjoyed it.
Based on what Kevin Hart told Variety, he seems to judge his films based on the feedback he gets from fans because that's the real target for the movies he makes. So that positive feedback he has received, either through the film's CinemaScore, social media, or other avenues, helps him to not care about the bad reviews and be able to judge his work as successful with a different metric.
Those bad reviews from critics haven't seemed to temper enthusiasm from audiences either. Night School debuted at number one at the box office, and through its second weekend it has already made $46.75 million domestically. So if you're allowing the market to judge the film it seems to agree with Kevin Hart that there is a demand for that type of comedy. It should be noted that, though less scientific, Rotten Tomatoes' Audience Score for Night School was less positive than the CinemaScore, and currently sits at 49%.
There is merit in being open to constructive criticism, but I can definitely see how from Kevin Hart's point of view reading tons of articles and reviews about his movies isn't something he wants to do. Especially before they come out. I imagine getting too consumed by that could be overwhelming and unhealthy. Perhaps he would be viewing Night School's bad reviews differently if he was seeing more negative feedback from audiences. In that instance audiences and critics would be in agreement, and perhaps he would have to concede a point or two.
Night School is now playing in theaters everywhere, and for what else is ahead be sure to check out our release schedule for the biggest movies you can look forward to this fall.