It only took a troll-infused review bombing of multiple influential blockbusters for Rotten Tomatoes to finally change the rules about something that probably shouldn't have ever been allowed in the first place. As of now, users can now longer write anticipation reviews, eliminating the "Want to See" audience score.
Essentially what this does is take away the ability of people who disagree with a movie's casting decisions or politics to leave horrible comments before the movie is released. For example, Captain Marvel. The new Marvel movie has driven quite a bit of criticism from a small but vocal group of "fans" on Twitter who take issue with Brie Larson using her platform to speak for others who don't necessarily have one. These people have taken to Rotten Tomatoes to downvote the film and leave aggressive comments, dropping the anticipation score for the movie to MCU franchise lows, despite the fact that it's tracking for an enormous box office opening which suggest people do in fact want to watch it.
Captain Marvel is just one case of this situation, though it's happened numerous times over the last year or so. From The Last Jedi to Black Panther, this has become entirely too common, so Rotten Tomatoes finally eliminated the issue. Not only is the site eliminated the "Want to See" ratings, but also disabling the ability to comment prior to a movie's release.
Here's what the official statement from Rotten Tomatoes had to say:
"As of February 25, we will no longer show the 'Want to See' percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period. Why you might ask? We've found that the 'Want to See' percentage score is often times confused with the 'Audience Score' percentage number. (The 'Audience Score' percentage, for those who haven't been following, is the percentage of all users who have rated the movie or TV show positively – that is, given it a star rating of 3.5 or higher – and is only shown once the movie or TV show is released.)
"What else are we doing? We are disabling the comment function prior to a movie's release date. Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don't worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have."
Trolls aren't just going to go away with this change, but Rotten Tomatoes is at least making an effort to give them significantly less spotlight, and a much quieter voice.
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