The film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes is finally shutting down the option for user reviews on movies that have not yet been released yet.
The announcement comes in the wake of both the pages for the upcoming films Captain Marvel and Star Wars: Episode IX getting bombarded with negative reviews with neither film having been screened for the general public yet. Captain Marvel opens in two weeks on March 8 while Episode IX is not slated to be in theaters until December.
Honestly, this has been a long time coming, and I am not even sure as to why this was ever a feature in the first place. It makes no sense to give people the ability to comment on a film before they have a chance to actually engage with it. Not only can the system be gamed by trolls out to somehow depress the audience appreciation score, it could also be manipulated by a studio marketing team to inflate the score in an attempt to make it seem more attractive to someone looking for something to see at their local Cineplex.
The Internet Movie Database, which has a similar user ratings system for films, does not allow voting until the film’s release date.
Rotten Tomatoes has been one of the more misunderstood and abused websites out there in the corner of the internet dedicated to film. Often times when a film has a low “tomatometer” score determined by an aggregate of positive and negative reviews, fans of the movie would blame the site itself for the number, effectively holding the messenger responsible for the content of the message.