Rotten Tomatoes has had its share of directors who have publicly voiced their hatred of the review aggregator site. And now you can add a living legend to the list.
In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter that went online Tuesday, Martin Scorsese ripped into the popular site.
Voicing his displeasure with the box-office culture the movie industry has become since the 1980s, the Oscar-winning director then shifted to the industry scapegoat, Rotten Tomatoes.
Though general audiences use the site often to gauge what movies are getting “fresh” reviews from a collection of critics (or “rotten” ones), most filmmakers – especially the old guard – don’t get the attraction.
In March, director/producer Brett Ratner called the site a “the destruction of our business,” and now Scorsese has added that it’s “set a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers.”
“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,” Scorsese wrote, also calling out CinemaScore, which does exit polling of wide releases on opening weekends. “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.”
And Scorsese wasn’t done.
“Even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting. And as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene, it seems like there are more and more voices out there engaged in pure judgmentalism, people who seem to take pleasure in seeing films and filmmakers rejected, dismissed and in some cases ripped to shreds.”
The criticism to Rotten Tomatoes comes when the site is at its zenith. Studios market movies using “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes scores all the time, and this past summer Sony purposely held the review embargo of its release “The Emoji Movie” to just hours before Thursday preview screenings, so its eventual “rotten” score (for a day or so it was at 0%) wouldn’t affect its box office. The movie earned a surprising $24.5 million its opening weekend.
“Good films by real filmmakers aren’t made to be decoded, consumed or instantly comprehended,” Scorsese went on, highlighting the work of Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!,” which received a “F” through CinemaScore.
“They’re not even made to be instantly liked. They’re just made, because the person behind the camera had to make them.”