Are Negative 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Online Audience Reviews the Result of Trolling?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has had a massive opening weekend, overwhelmingly positive critical reviews, and high marks from Cinemascore. But despite all of these positive metrics responses to the latest Star Wars installment hasn't all been good, with the film currently sitting at the lowest Rotten Tomatoes audience score of any film in the entire franchise.

So how can this much disparity exist? Even if you ignore the critical response to The Last Jedi and look instead the aforementioned Cinemascore -- a metric that collects its data from audiences verified to have actually seen the film through direct, in-person polling of moviegoers -- or other scientific audience exit polls, the film is winning high marks. According to a report from Deadline, the answer to why there is so much disparity -- and to whether fans are actually enjoying The Last Jedi -- may come down to trolling.

In the report, Deadline points to the audience and user scores for The Last Jedi from Metacritic, IMDB, and Rotten Tomatoes. All three scores are dramatically lower than the numbers from Cinemascore, with the Rotten Tomatoes score in particular being an anomaly as user raters are usually in line with critical ratings on the aggregate site. What stands out about these three metrics, however, is that none of them collect data through scientific means. Essentially, anyone can log into these sites as many times as they want (usually by creating multiple straw accounts) and weigh in multiple times on films. Users on these sites also don't have to verify that they've seen the films they rate, potentially further muddling the accuracy of the metrics. With these weaknesses, the general consensus from non-Disney sources is that the low numbers don't reflect genuine audience reaction to the film.

If the trolling theory about the disparity between more scientifically measured scores and rankings like Rotten Tomatoes is true, that could call into question how valid the more casual rankings truly are and, perhaps even more significantly, what impact their inaccuracies have on Hollywood films on the whole. As for The Last Jedi, however, the gap between ranking types doesn't seem to be having an impact on the eagerness of fans to see the film. The Last Jedi has had a massive opening weekend, bringing in $450 million worldwide at the box office and with the holidays coming up, word of mouth -- positive and negative -- is likely to keep fans coming to theaters to see just what all the fuss is about.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters.