Rotten Tomatoes is mainly known for its “Tomatometer” ratings for movies and TV shows, a percentage that shows how many approved critics gave a “positive review” of the title. For most of us, this is the only real reason why we visit the site at all.
But there are several other features on Rotten Tomatoes you might want to check out. Regardless of how you feel about the Tomatometer and its effectiveness as a measure of movies and TV shows (what is the best movie ratings site?), you’re sure to find at least one of the following site features useful and worth trying.
1. Movies in Theaters
One of the best features of Rotten Tomatoes is the ability to track the availability of movies in theaters—not just what’s out already, but which movies are performing the best and which movies are coming soon.
The Opening This Week page is a great way to pick what you want to watch within the next few weeks, whereas the Coming Soon page is best for planning ahead several months and building your wishlist of what movies to watch (see Tip #4 below).
And then there’s the Top Box Office page for recently released movies that are still playing in theaters.
One other noteworthy page is Weekend Earnings, which tracks the box office performance of recently released movies. It’s a great way to spot sleeper hits that may have otherwise flown under your radar.
2. Movies on DVD and Streaming Services
In addition to movies in theaters, Rotten Tomatoes tracks the DVD release dates and streaming release dates for movies.
The Top DVD & Streaming page is the main page to use, which is the best way to sift through the most watch-worthy DVDs and streaming movies. However, you can also use the New Releases page for recent DVD or streaming debuts and the Coming Soon page to plan your viewing months ahead.
Note: You’ll have to click each individual movie to see which streaming services support that film, and many of the streaming options are paid. Common streaming options include iTunes, FandangoNow, and Vudu. For alternatives, check out our list of the best free movie streaming sites.
3. Tickets and Showtimes
If you visit the individual page for a movie that’s currently out in theaters, you can look under the Tickets & Showtimes section to see which nearby theaters are playing that film. Make sure you click Change Location and set your ZIP code to get accurate results.
Or you can use the Tickets & Showtimes page to select any date (today or in the future), any currently playing movies, and any set of theaters that are near your location. Click any of the listed showtimes to check out and purchase tickets.
All of this is made possible by the fact that Rotten Tomatoes was bought out by Fandango back in 2016, granting real-time access to Fandango’s massive database of movie theaters and currently playing movies. Why use Moviefone or Yahoo Movies? This has quickly become my favorite method for finding showtimes and buying tickets.
4. Want to See and Not Interested
According to Box Office Mojo, over 600 movies are released every year in the United States and Canada. It can be tough keeping track of them all, especially when so many of them are high quality and worth watching.
That’s where the Want to See feature comes in handy. (You’ll need to create a Rotten Tomatoes account to start using it.) Whenever you go to the individual page for a movie that isn’t yet released, you’ll be able to click the Want to See button to add that film to your list. Don’t care for the film? You can click Not Interested instead.
Then, in your personal profile, you can see all of your Want to See and Not Interested films all in one place. It’s a nifty and effortless way to stay on top of upcoming movie releases. (IMDb has a similar Watchlist feature!)
5. Film Collections
When viewing the individual page of a movie that’s part of a series, you’ll notice a bit of text that says “Part of the Collection” and a View Collection button. This is a quick way to see all the movie and TV show titles that belong to that particular franchise.
This a convenient way to spot related films and series that you may have missed. It’s also an easy way to stay on top of upcoming franchise films and TV shows. While few franchises are as big as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (shown in the example above), it’s still useful for the smaller ones.
Rotten Tomatoes is one of the better sites to use if you want to stay on top of the latest movie trailers. In fact, there’s a page entirely dedicated to this purpose.
Head over to the Top Movie Trailers page, which is divided into six sections:
- Opening in Theaters
- Top Box Office Movies
- Coming Soon to Theaters
- Movies on Netflix
- Top Rentals/Streaming
- New Releases on DVD/Streaming
The Movies on Netflix section is particularly notable because it can be difficult finding good movies to watch on Netflix. Fortunately, you can just watch all of the trailers on this Rotten Tomatoes page and load up the ones that catch your interest.
7. News and Interviews
The last big feature of Rotten Tomatoes is News, but it’s a bit misleading because it’s not exactly news. Rather, if you head over to the News page, you’ll mainly find “top list” editorial content. This can be a nifty way to find new movies and TV shows to watch, but don’t go into it expecting industry news.
But perhaps the most interesting column is Video Interviews, where you can find exclusive video interviews with directors, actors, and others involved in the filmmaking industry. While the column is described as “weekly,” the pace has slowed a bit lately—but there’s plenty of interesting content to scour through in the archives.
How to Find Movies You’ll Enjoy Watching
At the end of the day, Rotten Tomatoes serves one real purpose: helping you decide whether a movie is worth your time and money. The Tomatometer ratings are useful for that, and all of these other features can nudge you toward a film you’ll enjoy.
But Rotten Tomatoes has its limits, which is why you should check out these film recommendation sites. If you’re specifically looking for movies on Netflix, see our article on how to find movies to watch on Netflix.