Apparently, the reason why Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge aren’t crushing it at the US box office is because of Rotten Tomatoes. Oh really? So wow. Much funny.
Note: The following focuses on the US box office unless stated otherwise.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Salazar’s Revenge here in Malaysia) made 77 Mil USD opening weekend, which is 13 Mil USD less than the fourth movie in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Baywatch on the other hand merely made 22 Mil USD opening weekend, losing out to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, a movie that has already been running for a month. This is officially the worst Memorial Day box office haul in more than 15 years.
But what went wrong? Why did these movies make so little money? No worries! After
doing some serious investigation watching Spongebob Squarepants on their mobile phones while taking a dump, studio insiders have figured it out: Rotten Tomatoes is the problem.
Commentary editor John Podhoretz had this to say on Twitter:
Insiders close to both films blame Rotten Tomatoes, with Pirates 5 and Baywatch respectively earning 32% and 19% Rotten. The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies. Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences, and once upon a time these types of films—a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy—were critic-proof. Many of those in the industry severely question how Rotten Tomatoes computes its ratings, and the fact that these scores run on Fandango (which owns RT) is an even bigger problem.
GASP! Oh noooo. What a tragedy.
Let’s break down Podhoretz’s message, shall we?
“The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies.”
Critics are not allowed to share honest opinions on bad movies anymore. If a movie is bad, film enthusiasts/critics, have to tuck their tails between their legs and LIE because the billionaire studio heads want to continuously steal your money.
This is essentially what the studios want critics to do:
Friend: Hey Dash, how was Kung Fu Yoga?
Dash: Holy shit! It’s only the best movie EVER! It has
a terrible script, below average performances, a horrible dance sequence, chicks in bikinis #Bewbs! Definite must watch. 5 stars! 10/10!
Friend: Okay bro! Will definitely catch it in cinemas.
Studios: Ker-ching! $$$$$$
“Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences.”
Which translates to:
Haiyo! These critics damn annoying. Always demanding for good movies. General audiences are stooopid potatoes. They like shitty movies.
“Once upon a time these types of films—a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy—were critic-proof.”
Errr.. which time was that? Freddy Got Fingered – raunchy R-rated comedy – was released in 2001 (16 years ago). It has an 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Did it make 200 Mil USD at the American box office? No. It bombed big time. It made 14 Mil USD.
Let’s rewind even more. 3 Ninjas Kick Back was released in 1994, a time where Rotten Tomatoes didn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave it a 2.5/4. It made a mere 11 Mil USD at the American box office.
Here’s the truth
Studios can’t compare the situation today to how it was back in the day.
Look at the top 10 movies adjusted for inflation. Most are movies that came out before the 1990s. This has nothing to do with critics. Perhaps the biggest reason movies aren’t making as much money today as compared to way back then is because blockbusters were few and far between. Star Wars: A New Hope was the only major movie event of 1977. Sure there were loads of movies that came out in 1977 too, but Star Wars: A New Hope was THE movie. In 2017, not only do we have Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we also have Wonder Woman, Logan, Thor, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Justice League, Fate of the Furious, Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Baywatch, Power Rangers, Kong: Skull Island, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight, War For the Planet of the Apes, and the list goes on and on and on.
While people who live and breathe films will head to the cinemas every week, the same can’t be said nor expected from the general movie going audiences. I know people who only watch movies in the cinemas five times a year. Which means they have to carefully select which movies they’d like to watch. Surely they can’t decide just by watching the trailers alone. Most trailers are bloody amazing. Hence, they turn to their movie fan friends or read reviews or check out the Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic scores.
Reviews/aggregator scores tell audiences that if they only have 15 bucks to spare for the month, it’s best if they check out Wonder Woman instead of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Reviews/aggregator scores helped a tiny movie with a mere 4.5 Mil USD budget like Get Out, gross over 241 Mil USD worldwide. Reviews/aggregator scores helped an R-rated, raunchy, unorthodox comic book movie named Deadpool gross more than 700 Mil USD worldwide.
Movie reviews, Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic isn’t the problem. It’s the solution. You know what the problem is, studio heads? Maybe, just maybe, your movie kinda sucks? So, stop whining and make good movies.