Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was harshly received by critics, and summed up with a Rotten Tomatoes' aggregate score of 27% - and that cast a "cloud" over the film that hurt it, according to director Brett Ratner - who helped finance the film.
“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes,” Ratner told Entertainment Weekly. “I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful.”
Batman v Superman ultimately grossed $873.3m at the box office worldwide, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of 2016. Although the film had a reported $250m budget, Deadline calculated that additional expenses resulted in a net profit of $105.7m for Warner Bros. and financiers such as Ratner.
“People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing," said Ratner. "It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
In a response from Rotten Tomatoes' Vice President Jeff Voris, the Rotten Tomatoes' scoring was described as "a starting point" for consumers interested in a film.
“At Rotten Tomatoes, we completely agree that film criticism is valuable and important, and we’re making it easier than it has ever been for fans to access potentially hundreds of professional reviews for a given film or TV show in one place,” said Voris. “The Tomatometer score, which is the percentage of positive reviews published by professional critics, has become a useful decision-making tool for fans, but we believe it’s just a starting point for them to begin discussing, debating and sharing their own opinions.”
Rotten Tomatoes is co-owned by Warner Bros's parent company Time Warner through its investment in Fandango.