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Hollywood Fighting Back Against the Tomatometer

As Rotten Tomatoes' fortunes rise, Hollywood's sink
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2017 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Hollywood isn't blaming Netflix or Amazon or even its own product for its terrible summer but rather the film-review aggregation Web site Rotten Tomatoes. Per the New York Times, the box office brought in $3.8 billion between the first weekend in May and Labor Day this year, down 15 percent during the same period last year, making it the worst summer in 20 years. Some studio executives point to Rotten Tomatoes, which has seen a 32-percent increase in unique visitors over last year, for their troubles, claiming that a bad Tomatometer score on ticket-selling site Fandango (which purchased Rotten Tomatoes last year) can doom a movie's chances. “I think it’s the destruction of our business,” says Brett Ratner, who directed Hercules starring the Rock.

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Some Hollywood studios are trying to figure out a way to deal with the Rotten Tomatoes phenomenon, per the Hollywood Reporter. They recently commissioned a study that found seven out of 10 people are less likely to see a movie if its Rotten Tomato score is below 25 percent. One studio may have found a way around the problem. This July Sony wouldn't allow critics to post reviews of The Emoji Movie until just hours before the film began screening in previews. As a result, the movie made $24.5 million in its opening weekend, despite getting beaten up in the press and earning an abysmal 8% Tomatometer score. (Read more Hollywood stories.)

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