Do Rotten Tomatoes Scores Significantly Impact Box Office Performance?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Robert Downey Jr. of Dolittle

Following the discharge of Dolittle, Rotten Tomatoes as soon as once more discovered itself within the line of fireplace. The big-budget, family-friendly movie boasts Robert Downey Jr. within the lead function, alongside a bunch of neverending A-listers comprising the voice forged. So, how might it accomplish that poorly on the field workplace? It’s Downey speaking to animals; looks as if the right evening out for the household, proper? Should these behind the movie blame the 17% critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes? 

Robert Downey Jr. of Dolittle
Robert Downey Jr. attends the premiere of Universal Pictures’
‘Dolittle’ | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Over the previous couple of years, Rotten Tomatoes has turn out to be each the supply of administrators’ worst nightmare and their saving grace. When a film opens to poor crucial opinions — and subsequently faces poor field workplace gross sales — Rotten Tomatoes is the wrongdoer, the scapegoat. 

On the opposite hand, when a film opens to constructive crucial evaluate earlier than widespread launch — and infinite ticket gross sales observe go well with — it’s a present, a little bit proof of benefit to assist the film alongside. However, does Rotten Tomatoes truly influence a film’s field workplace efficiency? And, are there no different eventualities — apart from the aforementioned two — that may come to play when discussing the connection between a critics’ consensus and ticket gross sales? There are a couple of totally different arguments surrounding the matter, so let’s begin with the statistical evaluation as soon as reported on by Variety.  

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Study finds Rotten Tomatoes scores “have never played a very big role in driving box office performance” 

Back in 2017, Variety wrote an article in regards to the relationship between field workplace gross sales and Rotten Tomatoes. Relying on a statistical evaluation carried out by Yves Bergquist — the Director of the Data and Analytics Project at UCS’s Entertainment Technology Center — the article claimed a reality counter to the opinion that was shortly gaining steam in Tinseltown. 

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While many began to imagine {that a} causal relationship between Rotten Tomatoes and field workplace gross sales existed, the examine discovered that “Rotten Tomatoes scores have never played a very big role in driving box office performance, either positively or negatively,” as Variety quoted. While the examine claimed that Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t play a “very big role” in driving ticket gross sales, might there be a task at play, and to what extent could Rotten tomatoes assist or hinder motion pictures? 

The different facet of the coin 

Vox, in an article about Rotten Tomatoes — from the rating calculation course of to the field workplace relationship — argued that the positioning can influence field workplace efficiency, however “not necessarily in the ways you might think.”

The website defined {that a} sturdy Rotten Tomatoes rating will be useful to smaller movies specifically — movies that solely launch in a couple of main cities earlier than widespread launch. The hope is that the constructive buzz a powerful rating can create — on social media retailers and past — will assist the film promote tickets when it releases on a wider scale. 

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On the opposite hand, the outlet defined that growing a correlation (or a causal relationship) between Rotten Tomatoes and large finances and/or franchise movies is far more complicated and, if there’s a connection, it’s not instantly apparent. An excellent rating for an anticipated “blockbuster” has not assured success prior to now, nor has a nasty rating demolished ticket gross sales for each big-budget franchise movie that doesn’t succeed; if such have been the case, Warner Bros. would have give up making DC movies ages in the past. 

People will proceed accountable Rotten Tomatoes when a film “destined for success” opens to crucial condemnation — because it looks as if the right wrongdoer to assault. However, whether or not a number of critics’ poor opinions truly modifications the result stays troublesome to show. And, possibly the actual query is, “how do we determine when a movie is destined to succeed?” What makes a field workplace smash? Should the once-presumed needed elements be reevaluated?

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