It’s already happening, it will just take a little bit for more and more people to notice. Critics are out of step too often with audiences. Which makes sense. Why the fuck should you care what people you don’t even know think about a movie? You likely have very little in common with these people, and like anyone else, you will have some movies you both happen to like and some you differ on.
And who cares if the majority of random people like a movie or not? So what if it’s 73 percent fresh? That doesn’t mean there’s a 73 percent chance YOU will like it. There’s still people who DIDN’T like it. None of that crap is better than listening to someone who KNOWS you tell you whether or not you’d like it.
But the story isn’t about how dumb it is to listen to “film critics” (how is that even a real job?), even when aggregated like on Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes is obsolete. Or it will be soon enough. And I won’t even go into how studios try to manipulate those scores anyway.
The real story is that streamers have changed the game to the point that there are now simply two designations for any movie you might be interested in watching: T and S. Theatrical or Streamer. Yes T and A would be funnier but I can’t think of a good A for streaming.
Let’s take the “big” new releases this weekend as examples. The Gentleman (currently 69% fresh on RT)? Yeah, that’s a big S for most people. Why on earth does it need to be seen in a theater? Oh but you just love Guy Ritchie films, or Matthew McConaughey? Fine, if you love them enough that this is a T in your book then by all means join the eight other people who feel the same at the 7 o’clock show.
Then there’s The Turning (currently 17% on RT) for the horror crowd. Of course it’s an S. But maybe you just absolutely love seeing scary movies in a theater with other people. Or maybe you need something to do on date night. Or maybe you love the experience of being near loud strangers who talk through these movies (“Oh girl, do not go on up in that dark room by yo-self…Damn! She dead now!”)
Look, if it’s a T for you then by all means go. The point is, YOU already know if you want to see a movie or not – you’ve seen the ads, you know what it is. And you are perfectly capable of deciding if it’s a T or an S for you (or an I-wouldn’t-watch-that-movie-if-you-paid-me). You don’t really need anyone else’s opinion, and you sure as hell don’t need a “film critic” to help you decide.
By the way, that window between T and S (which is now typically about 3 months) is only going to continue to shrink. Studios and theater owners will of course fight it to the death, but consumers will win this battle. It won’t be too much longer before T and S are both available on date of release. For all movies.
Rotten Tomatoes had it’s run of affecting box office results. But theatrical releases aren’t the only casualties of the streaming wars. Critics are going down too. It only gets easier to decide how (or if) you want to consume a movie. And really, you already know. You know when you see the trailer.
But Rotten Tomatoes is already obsolete.