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There’s a new wrinkle when it comes to Rotten Tomatoes, the online review aggregator that wields substantial sway over which movies consumers see.
Several weeks ago, the company launched a new Facebook show that airs late every Wednesday night. In order to entice people to watch See It/Skip It, the score for a movie or a television show is being delayed so that it can be revealed at the end of the roughly six-minute show. In the existing episodes, movies like Bad Moms Christmas, Thor and Murder on the Orient Express have been critiqued and discussed in episodes before unveiling the Rotten Tomatoes score at the end of each episode. The score is then posted on the regular Rotten Tomatoes website midday on Thursday.
This week, that movie will be Warner Bros.’ superhero extravaganza Justice League, which hits theaters Thursday night.
The Justice League review embargo doesn’t lift until around midnight Tuesday, relatively close to the movie’s release (most reviews break a week before opening day). Under normal circumstances, a score for Justice League would have popped up by Wednesday morning.
It’s not clear whether Warners, which owns a minority stake in Rotten Tomatoes, knew of the delay. Two weeks ago, Sony was apparently unaware that the score for Bad Moms Christmas was being held back.
If a Tomatometer rating is good, Hollywood studios may not be happy to see their movies being selected for the See It/Skip It reveal, since the score is a powerful marketing tool in and of itself. Conversely, if a score is rotten, the delay could prove a blessing.
At a tipping point now, Rotten Tomatoes’ influence began to grow exponentially after it and parent company Flixster were acquired in February 2016 by leading movie ticketing website Fandango, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal. Warners holds a minority stake in the merged companies. This summer, a slew of event films earning a rotten score were beached domestically — Baywatch (19 percent) and Transformers: The Last Knight (15 percent) among them — while tentpoles earning scores north of 90 percent did better than expected, including Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Dunkirk.
A spokesperson for Rotten Tomatoes said the company is making every attempt to pick a film whose reviews break closest to the air date of See It/Skip It.
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The Tragedy of Macbeth