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‘The Emoji Movie’ Proves Rotten Tomatoes Can’t Make Or Break A Film

The Emoji Movie is one of the worst-reviewed major releases in recent memory. Not only did the picture score fresh 8% on Rotten Tomatoes (with three positive reviews out of 40), but it earned an average review score of 2/10. that’s horrible. There are plenty of movies that didn’t receive positive reviews (A Missed Call, Ballistics: Eck V Sever, etc.) that nonetheless got better average critic scores. not a record, mind you, as (for example) bucky larson: how to be a star received 0% with 35 reviews and an average critic rating of 1.6/10. but between major studio releases, that is… how do you make a “poop” emoji? and yet it garnered a pretty solid debut weekend (at the time of this writing) of $25 million.

Meanwhile, War for the Planet of the Apes sank another 50% in its third weekend after a tragic 63% drop in its second weekend. 20th Century Fox’s $150 million sci-fi thriller has now earned $118 million in ten days, putting it on track for a domestic finish of $140 million+. That compares to the $207 million domestic gross of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (from a $72 million debut) in 2014 and a $181 million finish or the second rise of Planet of the Apes (from a $72 million opening). $54 million) in 2011. This despite rave reviews of the matt reeves-directed andy serkis/woody harrelson vehicle, which placed it at 93% “fresh” with an average score of 8.3/10, just below below dunkirk (93% and 8.6/10) as the best rated “great movie” of the summer.

Reading: Emoji movie review embargo

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There was a lot of talk earlier in the summer about the Rotten Tomatoes Effect, specifically after Baywatch, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and The Mummy underperformed relative to the pre-game follow-up. release after the review embargo fell unleashing a sea of ​​negative reviews. the issue got so bad that warner bros./time warner inc. He didn’t bother to screen the Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy The House for critics. they guessed correctly that it was the kind of movie that would get a ton of “meh” reviews (average score: 3.6/10) but get stuck in a really awful tomato rating (since fresh/rotten only measures how many critics at least gave 6/10) of 18%.

The negative reviews for Baywatch (since they were of the “wow, this isn’t funny, and I consider myself a huge dwayne johnson fan!”) kind of hurt the movie’s opening weekend a lot. but as we have seen this summer, it is not that simple. Dead Men Tell No Tales took it to $171 million domestic, the same half-decent multiplier Baywatch got from a $23 million debut on Thursday. the lousy ads certainly hurt the mummy and the transformers. But Wonder Woman did a lot of damage, becoming the go-to event movie for most of the summer, while Baby Driver (94% and 8/10) and lesser acclaimed films like Beguiled (78% and 7. 1/10) and the very sick (98% and 8.3/10) pounced as counterprogramming.

but for every “rotten tomatoes killed the baywatch!” there is a “rotten tomatoes that could not save the war for the planet of the apes (or cars 3)!” for every “rotten tomatoes that killed the transformers”, there is a “rotten tomatoes that couldn’t save valerian and the city of a thousand planets”. Sure, the rave reviews helped make Dunkirk the hit of the summer for adults, but Atomic Blonde barely opened with $18 million over the weekend despite months of rumors about Charlize Theron’s star turn and a classic climax from all tenses in the second act. and now, despite some of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen for a major movie, the emoji movie opened to $25.7 million, on a budget of $50 million, which is essentially what it was always going to do. /p>

the rotten tomatoes couldn’t save the apes and they couldn’t kill the emoji. negative reviews of sequels/reboots of existing film franchises are causing more damage simply because moviegoers can watch previous incarnations at home in their pajamas with a bowl of popcorn in their lap. why watch pirates 5 when you can watch pirates 1 on blu-ray? even if the reviews were good/great, maybe cars 3 didn’t look different enough from cars or maybe (the exceptionally pessimistic) war of the planet of the apes didn’t look different enough from dawn of the planet of the apes . Perhaps a simple reason why the emoji movie did well is that it’s the only emoji movie, so it still offers something unique in itself. maybe (unless it’s valerian), different is good.

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rotten tomatoes couldn’t do valerian (which is why stx moved up the embargo well before release to create a good stir), captain underpants (which held off until the last minute only to get relatively positive notices), or war for the planet of the apes in hits. and failed to turn the emoji movie into a flop. It’s an aggregate website, one with greater power because the media now uses the new ranking as a catch-all for critical consensus, with said percentage score showing up when you buy fandango tickets or rent the title on Google Market. but it’s not magic. At worst, the site’s increased visibility is being used as an excuse by increasingly discerning moviegoers to stick with Netflix or VoD.

yes, reviews matter and there are circumstances where good reviews helped (shallow water) and bad reviews hurt (jones free status). but if people want to see something, they will see it no matter what the (mostly white, middle-aged male) critics of Rotten Tomatoes have to say about it. Wonder Woman would have been a huge hit with lesser reviews and (mostly acclaimed) Girls’ Journey needed no more good reviews than Bad Moms (mostly panned) last year. yeah, better-reviewed Baywatch would have done better simply because the public probably would have enjoyed it too. but those who wanted to see the emoji movie or didn’t want to see the war for the planet of the apes did so no matter what the critical consensus had to say.

reviews matter, and rotten tomatoes matter. but, to quote a “meh” critically acclaimed national artist from last year, if only it were that simple…

See also: Movie review: Novitiate is set in a convent during Vatican II – Vox

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