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Rotten Tomatoes is making changes to prevent people from review bombing movies. Review bombing is the best term for it, but, thanks to Rotten Tomatoes’ “Want to See” feature, this is actually affecting movies that haven’t even been released yet.
What Is Review Bombing?
Review bombing describes a coordinated effort to lower a review score. This has been used on movies and video games for different reasons. Some are because of something in the piece of content itself, but oftentimes it will be something else altogether.
In the latest example, the new Captain Marvel movie has been subjected to intense criticism. Not because of the film itself (which hasn’t even been released yet) but because of comments made by Brie Larson, the actress playing the titular Captain Marvel.
The comments themselves aren’t important. All that matters is that because of these comments, certain individuals have expressed their dislike of the film using Rotten Tomatoes as its as platform. And Rotten Tomatoes has had enough.
Rotten Tomatoes Disables the Haters
As explained on the Rotten Tomatoes Product Blog, Rotten Tomatoes “will no longer show the ‘Want to See’ percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period.” Because this is often filled with haters, and confused with the actual ‘Audience Score’.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) February 28, 2019
Rotten Tomatoes is also “disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date” due to “an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling”. Comments will be enabled again once a movie has actually been released in theaters.
You’re Still Free to Express Opinions
There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to see a movie, whatever your reasoning. There’s also nothing wrong with expressing an opinion about an upcoming movie, even if that opinion is negative. And you’re still free to do any and all of that.
However, Rotten Tomatoes is under no obligation to allow its platform to be used in such a way. Especially as certain releases are being condemned before anyone has even seen them. Which proves films are being judged for reasons other than their artistic merit.
Judging something before you’ve even seen it or played it is patently ridiculous. Especially if this desire to knock something is being done with the intention of persuading other people not to see it or play it. And no, this doesn’t impact your right to free speech.