'Captain Marvel' Sandbagged on Rotten Tomatoes Within a Few Hours of Opening
It appears that trolls have descended upon Captain Marvel.
The Disney film had only been in theaters for hours on Friday when the female-driven superhero picture was torpedoed online via Rotten Tomatoes.
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As of 8 a.m., the film had a 33 percent audience score from more than 58,000 reviews. That is more than the total of audience score reviews for Avengers: Infinity War for its entire theatrical run.
However, around 1 p.m., the number of reviews dropped to 7,000 with a score of 35 percent. Rotten Tomatoes explained in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that a glitch was responsible for thousands of reviews showing up on the site when they shouldn't have. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it had included audience reviews given before the film was released, something which is no longer allowed.
"We launched some changes to the movie pre-release functionality last week, which included not allowing users to leave a comment or review prior to a movie’s release in theatres. However, we still invite users to vote if they 'want to see' a movie prior to its release, and that vote total is displayed on the site," the statement read.
The statement continued, "We have identified a bug in the post-release functionality for the movies that have released into theaters since our product update last week. The quantity of user ratings (which is displayed directly below the audience score and is intended to only include the quantity of users who have left a rating or written review after a movie’s release) had included both pre-release and post-release fan voting."
Rotten Tomatoes recently retooled its scoring system in an effort to combat trolls from sandbagging scores for movies they believed inferior and hadn't necessarily seen. A film now can no longer be "reviewed" by audiences before it is released.
"We are disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date," Rotten Tomatoes said of the other changes. "Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature, for now, is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have."
Online trolls have attacked a number of films via the site's audience score system in the past, including 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
On the other side, Captain Marvel, a film starring Brie Larson who plays an extraterrestrial warrior caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle, holds an 82 percent critics' score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Captain Marvel marks the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie was written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It launched to more than $20 million in Thursday night previews.
March 8, 1 p.m.: Updated with new statement from Rotten Tomatoes.
by Sheraz Farooqi
by Graeme McMillan