It’s common knowledge that Hollywood isn’t a fan of Rotten Tomatoes. While the review aggregate site has been around for almost two decades, it’s become increasingly influential over the last few years, leading several prominent actors, directors, and producers to speak out against it. The latest being Martin Scorsese, who seems to hate everything about the website, even its name.
In an op-ed piece in the Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar-winning director of Casino, Goodfellas, and The Wolf of Wall Street said sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Cinemascore “set a tone that is hostile to filmmakers,” adding that “even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting.”
Producer/director Brett Ratner is another industry name to have famously attacked Rotten Tomatoes, calling it “the destruction of our business” earlier this year. Scorsese’s verdict was just as damning: "They rate a picture the way you’d rate a horse at the racetrack, a restaurant in a Zagat’s guide, or a household appliance in Consumer Reports," he wrote. "They have everything to do with the movie business and absolutely nothing to do with either the creation or the intelligent viewing of film. The filmmaker is reduced to a content manufacturer and the viewer to an unadventurous consumer."
Scorsese claims too much focus is now placed on a movie’s box office takings, a situation that’s encouraged a “bloodthirsty” approach to film reviewing while stifling creativity. He also argued that some movies, such as Darren Aronofsky's highly criticized "Mother!,” which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 68 percent and a Cinemascore of F, are treated unfairly by reviewers.
"Good films by real filmmakers aren’t made to be decoded, consumed or instantly comprehended. They're not even made to be instantly liked. They're just made, because the person behind the camera had to make them.”
But a high Rotten Tomatoes rating doesn't always equal box office success. Blade Runner 2049's Tomatometer rating stands at 88 percent, yet it had a poor opening weekend in the US.
Looking toward the future, Scorsese thinks his least favorite sites won’t have the same influence they have today.
“Tomatometer ratings and Cinemascoregrades will be gone soon enough. Maybe they’ll be muscled out by something even worse,” he writes. “Or maybe they’ll fade away and dissolve in the light of a new spirit in film literacy.”