The questions surrounding the box office performance of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice won’t go away, and now, Rotten Tomatoes is getting caught up in the postmortem.
Brett Ratner, whose company Ratpac Entertainment was one of the film’s backers, blames the film critic aggregation website for how Batman v Superman has been perceived. He described Rotten Tomatoes as “the destruction of our business” while speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival over the weekend, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Ratner was sure to clarify that he has “such respect and admiration for film criticism.” That said, he doesn’t approve of the way the website turns critics’ responses into a number. In fact, he considers Rotten Tomatoes “the worst thing we have in today’s movie culture” and contended it “put a cloud” over Batman v Superman.
The director argued that people look at a low number and decide not to see a film, not understanding that the score doesn’t tell the whole story.
“That number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct,” Ratner said. “I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
He highlighted how Batman v Superman was very successful, which is true from a financial standpoint. The Zack Snyder-directed film grossed more than $872 million worldwide — well over its budget of $250 million, according to Box Office Mojo data. In spite of that, it was seen as having failed to live up to its potential, certainly not helped by its low Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (27 percent).
At the same time, there are other reasons why Batman v Superman was perceived as a disappointment that Ratner seems not to have considered. One big factor was that it followed in the wake of Deadpool, making comparisons inevitable. The offbeat superhero flick — even with its ‘R’ rating and more obscure protagonist — brought in $783.11 million on a budget of just $58 million. On top of that, its Tomatometer and audience scores both far exceed those of Batman v Superman (84 and 90 percent, compared to 27 and 63 percent).
Sticking to Ratner’s complaints, though, yes, many fans do use Rotten Tomatoes to decide how they want to spend their dollars at the box office. That is exactly what the tool is meant for. The company’s vice president, Jeff Voris, explained as much in a statement to EW.
“At Rotten Tomatoes, we completely agree that film criticism is valuable and important, and we’re making it easier than it has ever been for fans to access potentially hundreds of professional reviews for a given film or TV show in one place,” he wrote. “The Tomatometer score, which is the percentage of positive reviews published by professional critics, has become a useful decision-making tool for fans, but we believe it’s just a starting point for them to begin discussing, debating and sharing their own opinions.”