We've finally reached the weekend of Joker's highly-anticipated release but it looks like there is still plenty of controversy ahead for the DC Comics film. Just a couple of days after director Todd Phillips went viral for his comments about comedy and "cancel culture," Joker is taking a hit with its critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was revered after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival a month or so ago and didn't take long to earn its Certified Fresh status. However, on the eve of its arrival in theaters, more critics are posting their reviews from press screenings and its score is dropping.
Rotten Tomatoes has two different labels for a movie or TV show: Fresh and Rotten. Anything over 60% is Fresh and anything under 60% is Rotten. To make sure the best of the best films actually stand out, the aggregate site includes the Certified Fresh label. In order to achieve this status, a movie must have a score of 75% or higher after 80 reviews have been tallied, and five of those reviews must be from Top Critics. The Certified Fresh rating sticks as long as the movie's overall score remains over 70%, allowing for a bit of wiggle room. Unfortunately for Joker, the margin for error wasn't wide enough.
On Thursday, the Joker dipped to 69% percent on Rotten Tomatoes, effectively losing its Certified Fresh status. Because of the nature of your browser's cache and the refresh rate on the review site itself, you may get some varying results when you visit Joker's page. You may see it with 69% score and the Certified Fresh icon or it may say 70% without the icon. The score is going back and forth with all of the reviews coming in but that doesn't change the fact that Joker dropped below 70%, at least at one point.
Even if the score levels out at 70%, it dropped beneath the Certified Fresh mark, which means its status is likely gone. Based on the rules set by Rotten Tomatoes, Joker would need to once again bump back up above 75% in order to once again be considered Certified Fresh.
Who knows how this whole score thing will shake out for Joker, given how controversial the movie has been and how close it has kept to the Certified line. Perhaps RT will let the label remain, even though the dip occurred, just because it didn't last that long. Only time will tell.
But one thing is for sure: The critics around the country aren't nearly as happy with Joker as those who saw it in Venice. You could ay that Phillips' edgy origin story didn't put a smile on their faces?