Rotten Tomatoes Is Changing Its Pre-Release Function For Audience Score

Captain Marvel poster

It's always interesting to see what movies really resonate with audiences. Word of mouth has been known to make or break major releases, and the last few years this has increased due to aggregating websites like Rotten Tomatoes. In addition to gathering official reviews from publications like CinemaBlend, the site also has an audience score portion for cinephiles to make their opinions heard.

Rotten Tomatoes' audience score also allowed users to comment and rate their interest in a movie before its even released. But recently, some users used this to troll upcoming releases like Captain Marvel and Star Wars Episode IX, despite not having access to see either blockbuster yet. Now Rotten Tomatoes is changing its policies, likely in direct response to that recent trend. Because users will no longer be able to comment or review a movie until the day it's actually released in theaters.

This news came from Rotten Tomatoes, where the company explained a variety of changes coming to the site. In addition to disabling comments and reviews from fans ahead the pre-release period, the "want to see" audience score will also be adjusted. Rather than a percentage, fans interest will be displayed through a tally mark that will be updated in real time.

Despite these changes, Rotten Tomatoes does seem committed to allowing fans to voice their opinions. Head of Product and Technology Ara Nalbandian reaffirmed this vision, saying on the record:

Over the past few years, Rotten Tomatoes has been evolving into a robust movie and TV show recommendations platform that celebrates the views of professional critics and fans alike, and encourages discussion and debate. We continue to invest in our product to deliver useful and relevant resources for fans and are in development on new tools to help fans express their opinions and connect with others.

So fear not moviegoers, Rotten Tomatoes still wants you to make your voice known. The company just doesn't necessarily want bad audience reviews on a movie that hasn't even been released yet.

This change in policy is likely related to the recent trolling of Captain Marvel and Star Wars Episode IX over on the website. When actress Brie Larson called for more diversity and inclusion within the film press, some moviegoers took umbrage with her statement, and promptly made it known on Captain Marvel's RT page. This resulted in the upcoming Marvel's blockbuster's fan interest numbers falling, and tons of negative comments being left referencing Larson. And all weeks before the Ryan Fleck and Anna Bode's Marvel debut hit theaters.

Of course, Rotten Tomatoes' statement doesn't explicitly mention Captain Marvel or Episode IX. So perhaps they were already planning these changes to the website before the new controversy began.

Be sure to check out CinemaBlend's 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.