Skip to main content

Please, Stop Paying Attention to Box Office and Rotten Tomatoes



If you do a Google search for “Justice League” right now the first thing that will populate are the show times, then after that, you will see the IMDB page, Twitter, and Rotten Tomatoes page. That’s the same for pretty much every new release film. It’s what you find a few entries deeper that I find annoying. The countless articles and stories about how the #1 film in the world is a box office failure. I’m not here to support or tear down that assertion because I think it’s pointless. Playing armchair studio executive was once a game relegated to the financial pages and CNBC but now it’s not just Forbes analyzing the red and black, it’s Esquire, GQ, EW, every movie blogger, Twitter fanboy, and “movie nerd” deep diving into the commerce side of the business called show.

We’ve reduced film criticism to an analytic that creates a misleading narrative by valuing the output from Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and CinemaScore. Different viewers can dislike or like films for a whole bevy of reasons and aggregation loses that nuance. In what I assume is attempt to save time we reduce everything down to the thumbs up or thumbs down model instead of taking the time to listen or engage in conversation. Are you that busy that you can’t take the time to read a review in your local paper? Yes? With what? Twitter? Snapchat? Instagram? We all think we are busier because we continually fill the voids in our lives with meaningless nonsense. We don’t give our minds enough time to wander. When we fill up our tanks at the gas station we pull out our smartphones, because we can’t stand the idea of simply pumping gas. As soon as our minds aren’t occupied we course correct and remedy the situation.

Focusing on box office and RT scores remove us from what were once the interesting conversations around a film. The hours we would spend with friends after seeing something like Pulp Fiction dissecting every detail. Some of my favorite memories around film aren’t in a theatre but in a parking lot or late night dinner after a screening. I was hopeful that the pendulum was swinging back in that direction with podcasting and blogging but if anything those mediums have exacerbated the meaningless narrative surrounding film. One of the more popular film podcasts has an episode called “Justice League: Assessing the Aftermath.” I’m not making that up, with a title like that you could assume the conversation would be focused on sexual harassment, climate change, war, or any number of topics deserving an assessment of the aftermath. But no, it’s a conversation about box office numbers. What was once an aside in the conversation around film has become the conversation itself?


The only reason all of this is frustrating is it has an impact on the films we get to see theatrically. The more we focus on RT scores the more studios will make films to go after that number. The more they will homogenize and attempt a shot down the middle. Hollywood has always been an uncomfortable balance of art and commerce that certain filmmakers have been able to transcend. The more we as audience goers give attention to analytics the less studios will care about art. 


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Richard Armitage interview on SLEEPWALKER

SLEEPWALKER is the latest film from director Elliott Lester. Troubled by bouts of sleepwalking and disturbing nightmares, graduate student Sarah Foster goes to her university's sleep research center for help. When she wakes up after her first night of being monitored, the world she lives in seems to have changed in subtle, Twilight-Zone-esque ways. In fact, every time she goes to sleep now, she wakes up in a slightly different version of her world. With the help of sleep researcher Dr. Scott White, she tries to work her way back to the reality she started in. But when they finally succeed, it’s revealed that Sarah’s world is not what she thought at all.

Today my guest is one of the stars SLEEPWALKER, Richard Armitage. Tonight we talk about his work on that film as well as his work as Thorin Oakenshiled in The Hobbit Films, as John Proctor in The Crucible, and his upcoming films Ocens 8 and the Julie Delpy directed film My Zoe.

Sleepwalker is Now Available on Digital HD and On Dem…

LAFF Review AND THEN THERE WAS EVE

2017
Directed By: Savannah Bloch
Starring: Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl, Mary Holland, Karan Soni, John Kassir, and Anne Gee Byrd



Alyssa (Nolan) wakes up to find her home pillaged and her husband missing. The burglars have taken everything, down to the photos of her husband. The police offer little help so she turns to a friend of the family Eve (Crowl) for assistance. The film is less of a "who done it" and more of a "what happened."

The prolonged second act of the film focuses on the relationship between Eve and Alyssa. The suspense of the film lingers in the background while their relationship grows. In fact, clues of what is to come are clearly laid out in a way that allows the viewer to see where the film is headed before it gets there. I'm not sure if this is by design but the effect of having the stories trajectory clearly laid out gives the audience permission to accept this blossoming relationship.

Nolan and Crowl both give stunning performances that anc…

BFF review SWEET PARENTS

SWEET PARENTS review 2017
Directed By: David Bly
Starring: David Bly and Leah Rudick
Written By: David Bly and Leah Rudick

Moving to New York City with ambitions of making it as an artist is an uphill battle. Hell, moving to New York with ambitions of breaking into fast food is an uphill battle. Exorbitant rent makes it difficult if not impossible to get a temp job while you audition, paint, write, or sculpt. And paying $28 for an artisan PB&J not only has a heavy tax on your pocketbook, over time it can carry a greater burden on your soul. Spending tons of money to only feel like you are barely keeping your head above water is a crushing way to exist.

SWEET PARENTS is the story of a young couple who have been living the artists struggle in NYC for close to 8 years. Will has dreams of making it as a Chef and Gabby wants to become a professional sculptor. Both start side relationships, as last ditch efforts to support their careers, in what becomes a choice between ambition and lo…