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Yesterday, Rotten Tomatoes announced a big overhaul to its system, especially as it relates to user scores. The news came a few days after a bunch of reports came out noting that the upcoming user score for Captain Marvel had already been dinged by trolls.
However, if you ask Fandango President Paul Yanover – Fandango owns Rotten Tomatoes -- the changes weren’t specifically made to accommodate for Captain Marvel. In fact, he said:
[The changes] are not simply a reaction to, 'Oh, gee, there's some noise created around [certain movies].’
Instead, the timing was seemingly fortuitous, as Paul Yanover also told CNET that the changes were made as part of a longer-term strategy over at the popular aggregator site. He did admit that “noise reduction” was a goal for some of the changes, but did not say that the recent Captain Marvel trolling was behind all of the changes.
It’s not as if Captain Marvel is the only movie that has been dinged in audience reviews. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was allegedly targeted by Russian bots, which is just wild to even think about—although that plan may not have wholly worked. Perhaps more compellingly, there was an entire group on social media dedicated to rallying people to write poor Black Panther reviews ahead of that movie’s release as well.
It got to the point where Rotten Tomatoes even had to make an official statement noting that somehow trolls would be targeted on the aggregator site.
The new changes should be big ones in the audience score portion of each individual movie’s page. Prior to this change, users could comment about a movie before it was officially released. Now, that will no longer be an option. User reviews will not start going in until day of release.
Along with that change, the “want to see” score will also change to be viewed as tallies rather than a percentage.
Over at Rotten Tomatoes, there are no viewable audience reviews anymore at the top of the Captain Marvel page, although previous pages of audience reviews are viewable if you know where to click.
Whether or not the changes were ultimately rolled out now rather than at a different time is basically a moot point. The changes should ultimately keep trolls from commenting on Captain Marvel before they see Captain Marvel. Or, at least, I’d assume the thinking is that by the time a large number of Captain Marvel fans see the movie on opening day and decide to start reviewing it on Rotten Tomatoes, the majority of reviews will be legit and honest. The same goes for other future movies as well.
The site said during its release about the changes that Rotten Tomatoes had “seen an uptick in non-constructive input” so presumably changes needed to be made all-around and not just ahead of Captain Marvel’s big release on March 8, 2019.
Regardless of the trolls, the movie is expected to do quite well on opening weekend and the long-term box office forecast has it hitting somewhere around the $140 million mark during its opening weekend. While we wait to see how the theatrical release plays out, you can check out what we know about the upcoming movie.