Could Joker Lose Its Certified Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes?

The premier of Joker took place in Hollywood last Saturday ahead of its theatrical release this week and now that critics have seen the film, enough reviews have poured in for Rotten Tomatoes to declare the film "Certified Fresh" on their Tomatometer. When the review aggregator website made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday, the film was sitting at a solid 79% with 161 reviews. Since then, however, more reviews of the film have come in causing that rating to drop to 73% on 214 reviews. With more reviews expected for the Todd Phillips-film, it prompts the question: could Joker end up losing its "Certified Fresh" rating?

To answer that, we first have to understand how Rotten Tomatoes decides their "Certified Fresh" rating and what has to happen in order for a film to lose it -- and that's where the 74% and potentially dropping rating comes in. You see, in order to be Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, films have to have a score of at least 75% or higher with at least 80 critics reviewing it, five of which have to be "Top Critics". As of early in the day on Wednesday, Joker had done just that and, generally, once a film is Certified Fresh, it retains the designation even if the numbers slip a little. However, if a film's score drops below 70%, it loses the designation.

If Joker performs the way most superhero movies do -- and note, by "superhero" we mean films including major comic book characters. Joker is definitely not a superhero -- the film could be at significant risk to lose its certification. Joker is presently sitting at around 209 reviews. Most superhero-type movies get 400+ critical reviews. Shazam!, Aquaman, and Justice League all got around 380 critical reviews (give or take). If Joker gets even 150 more reviews and enough of them are "rotten", the film could end up dipping below 70%.

And, to be clear, despite an early wave of critical praise, Joker has been drawing some significantly negative reviews. While most of the reviews of Joker tend to agree that Phoenix's performance is top-notch, the reviews that are negative are scathingly so, with those negative reviews focusing on the film's grim tone and lack of depth.

"In a year of mass culture that gave us HBO's excellent Chernobyl, Joker can claim the grimmest depiction of a meltdown," Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips wrote.

"Joker is resoundingly one-note throughout the majority of its running time, Phillips mistaking 'unrelentingly grim' for 'profound' which just renders the film punishingly dull," Tribune News Service's Katie Walsh wrote.

Now it's your turn to weigh in: do you think Joker will manage to retain its Certified Fresh rating? Let us know in the comments below.


Joker opens in theaters October 4th.