Rotten Tomatoes Promises to Restore Critics’ Reviews After Boosting Audience Scores Instead

Rotten Tomatoes has promised to restore the placement of its critics’ reviews and ratings after social media users noticed that audience scores — which are often higher than critics’ scores and differ significantly — were all that were showing up in Google searches.

“PSA, when you Google a film it now shows you the Rotten Tomatoes audience score instead of the critics one, just in case it wasn’t already doing enough damage to good movies and good film criticism and we needed a final reason to nuke the whole site into orbit,” user “wyatthalpert” shared via X on Wednesday.

A response from the site indicated that a fix is coming to reinstate the more prominent placement for critic reviews on the site itself, according to a statement received and shared Thursday by critic Courtney Howard. The site had switched its layout to put reviews themselves lower on pages. According to the company, the updated layout was merely “being tested.”

It was not immediately clear if the updated site layout will also return critics’ reviews to prominence in Google search results. Rotten Tomatoes did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The note from Rotten Tomatoes said that their team “deeply values the critics community” and the testing of a different layout “in no way signals that Rotten Tomatoes is deprioritizing the critic reviews that make up our Tomatometer score.”

The statement continued, “I’m happy to report our team is in the process of restoring placement of critic reviews more prominently on the movie and TV pages. You should begin to see that change reflected as early as next week.”

Rotten Tomatoes added, “We sincerely apologize for any frustration or inconvenience this may have caused,” and emphasized how it “greatly values” its relationship with critics.

In September, New York Magazine/Vulture reported that a movie publicity firm called Bunker 15 paid for positive reviews for the 2018 Daisy Ridley movie “Ophelia,” resulting in an artificially high critics score.

The firm compensated “a small number of blogs” which “charge for fair reviews” (according to Bunker 15). “The writer of a negative review says that Bunker 15 lobbied them to change it,” according to the Vulture report.

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