Rotten Tomatoes Revises Audience Movie Ratings

Movie rating service Rotten Tomatoes is changing its Audience Rating System to feature verified ratings and reviews.

For eligible movies moving forward, Audience Scores will be made up of ratings from fans who are confirmed to have purchased tickets to those movies. Those fans’ written reviews will also display a “verified” badge.

“We know from our research that fans consult Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score along with the Tomatometer, when making decisions on what to watch,” Paul Yanover, Fandango president, said in a statement. “Having an Audience Score and reviews from fans who are confirmed ticket purchasers, will add even more usefulness to our product and increase consumer confidence.”

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Rotten Tomatoes users can opt-in to get their rating and review “verified” if they purchased their movie ticket on Fandango. Exhibitors AMC Theatres, Regal and Cinemark Theatres plan to participate as ticket purchase authenticators later this year. Every visitor to the Rotten Tomatoes site will still be invited to rate and review movies regardless of whether or not they are confirmed ticket purchasers. Reviews (both verified and unverified) will still be listed, with those that are verified marked with a “verified” badge, so that readers will know that the reviewer purchased a ticket to that movie.

On Fandango’s site and mobile apps, Rotten Tomatoes will begin powering Fandango’s fan rating system, replacing its previous five-star fan rating, according to the service. Once their ticket purchases are confirmed through their Fandango user account, Fandango ticket buyers’ ratings and reviews will now count towards the Verified Audience Score displayed on Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes, as well as on other platforms that syndicate Rotten Tomatoes scores.

The service has previously come under fire as users have been able to manipulate the Audience Score for a particular movie through coordinated online campaigns by those who hadn’t even seen the film. In particular, a recent campaign against Captain Marvel, which has a strong female character, drew criticism of the service.

The launch of Verified Ratings and Reviews is part of the Rotten Tomatoes’ overall plan to modernize its Audience Rating System over the next year, “making it even more helpful to fans as they make their entertainment viewing decisions,” according to a press release.

Rotten Tomatoes introduced an earlier product enhancement in February, and reports each change in a Product Update Blog.

In addition to enhancing its Audience Rating System, Rotten Tomatoes has been working over the past 18 months to increase the diversity of the critical voices that make up its Tomatometer, which aggregates the collective opinions of thousands of Tomatometer-approved critics for movies and TV shows, according to the release. Last August, Rotten Tomatoes made an enhancement to its critics community, by debuting revamped Tomatometer critics criteria. With an increased focus on the critic’s individual qualifications versus the publications that they write for, Rotten Tomatoes’ goal is to enable a wider and more diverse pool of critics’ perspectives to be included in the Tomatometer. Since launch, Rotten Tomatoes has added more than 500 new Tomatometer-approved critics and publications, with plans to add even more critics in the future, according to the release.

Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes announced the establishment of a $100,000 grant program to create more opportunities for critics serving underrepresented groups to cover major film festivals and gain access to press screenings. To date, Rotten Tomatoes has donated $25,000 respectively to the press inclusion initiatives at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, 2019 Sundance Film Festival and 2019 SXSW Film Festival and Conference, according to the release.

Moviefone Hires Former Rotten Tomatoes Editor to Reboot Brand

Moviefone, the 1990s-era movie ticket/recommendation telephone service owned by Helios and Matheson Analytics March 28 announced that former Rotten Tomatoes senior editor Grae Drake has assumed the role of “Ms. Moviefone” to serve as the brand’s personality.

The announcement comes as Moviefone launches a new initiative seeking to become a consumer destination for content, reviews and commentary for movies.

Grae Drake

Competition includes online movie ratings platform Rotten Tomatoes, which is owned and operated by NBC Universal subsidiary Fandango.

In a nod to the former “Mr. Moviefone” telephone character, Drake will provide “go-to” commentary on the entertainment industry, in addition to movie recommendations.

Drake will interview filmmakers, celebrities and appear at industry events to provide an inside look at the movies.

She will be responsible for producing and hosting a series of original video content on the Moviefone site. Drake will also oversee the evolution of existing video content, such as the “Unscripted” series, providing Moviefone with the flexibility to continue creating and growing its video library.

Developing dynamic video content will allow viewers to form a bond with Ms. Moviefone and have a more engaging experience with the brand.

“Having a female voice of authority about movies is really important. It’s making the change I want to see regarding representation and gender parity in film media, which is still overwhelmingly male,” Matt Atchity, GM of Moviefone (and former editor-in-chief at Rotten Tomatoes), said in a statement.

Drake is most well-known as a Rotten Tomatoes editor and film critic, which included guest appearances on NBC’s “Today Show”and ABC’s “20/20”and “World News Tonight.”

She is also the recipient of the 2017 Press Award from the International Cinematographers Guild. In this new role, Drake reunites with Atchity and will be working with Drew Taylor, recently promoted to managing editor at Moviefone.

“Ms. Moviefone is the perfect way to connect with moviegoers and strengthen our brand recognition,” said Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics. “Moviefone has a bright future ahead, and I know Grae is the perfect person to help make our vision a reality.”

 

FandangoNow Offers Sale on Select Oscar Nominees Before Awards

Ahead of the 91st Academy Awards Feb. 24, FandangoNow, Fandango’s VOD service, is offering Best Picture nominees Green Book and The Favourite, Best Documentary nominee Free Solo, and Best Costumes and Best Makeup nominee Mary Queen of Scots at 30 percent off the listed price.

The flash sale starts Feb. 20 and ends Feb. 21. Consumers can access the discount using the promo code “FNOWOscar” at checkout.

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Fandango is also offering a downloadable 2019 Oscars ballot with Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer scores included.

FandangoNow Unveils Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Rated Romantic Comedies for Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, FandangoNow, Fandango’s VOD service, has released a list of top-rated romantic comedies ranked by Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.

Frank Capra’s 1934 classic It Happened One Night is the top pick, while 2017’s The Big Sick came in at No. 2. Two films from 2018 joined the list: Crazy Rich Asians at No. 6 and Love, Simon at No. 25.

“This is a new era for the rom com,” said Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Joel Meares in a statement. “With last year’s Crazy Rich Asians and Love, Simon taking their place among the best of the genre, it’s clear audiences and critics alike are seeking movies that marry fresh, modern-day perspectives with the rom-com conventions we all know and love.”

Rotten Tomatoes’ top 25 best reviewed romantic comedies are, in order:

  1. It Happened One Night (1934)
  2. The Big Sick (2017)
  3. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  4. Roman Holiday (1953)
  5. My Man Godfrey (1936)
  6. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
  7. The Lady Eve (1941)
  8. City Lights (1931)
  9. Annie Hall (1977)
  10. His Girl Friday (1940)
  11. Adam’s Rib (1949)
  12. Holiday (1938)
  13. The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  14. The Princess Bride (1987)
  15. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  16. Some Like It Hot (1959)
  17. Indiscreet (1958)
  18. Desk Set (1957)
  19. The Apartment (1960)
  20. Groundhog Day (1993)
  21. Bull Durham (1988)
  22. Enough Said (2013)
  23. Broadcast News (1987)
  24. Ninotchka (1939)
  25. Love, Simon (2018)

 

Roughly 150 romantic comedies, ranked by the Tomatometer, are available to watch here on FandangoNow.

Report: Netflix Has Highest-Rated Movies

Netflix is known for original TV series such as “House of Cards,” “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “The Crown.”

While the streaming video pioneer is ramping up original movie production, its portfolio of highly-rated third-party movies tops the renowned feature film repository of HBO Now, in addition to Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, according to new data from Streaming Observer.

Using Rotten Tomatoes’ “Certified Fresh” movies rating system, in addition to a combination of data from streaming service providers and third-party sites RealGood and JustWatch, Streaming Observer found Netflix has more “certified fresh” movies (596) than HBO Now (38), Prime Video (232) and Hulu (223) combined.

The ranking is significant considering Netflix has 3,000 fewer movies available to stream (3,839 through Jan. 20, 2019) than it did in 2018, and its library is 450% smaller than Prime Video’s with 17,461 titles.

Hulu and HBO Now had 2,336 and 815 movies, respectively.

“Netflix remains the best streaming service overall … for the time being,” wrote Chris Brantner, analyst with Streaming Observer. “Of course, as new streaming services from Disney, Apple, and others enter the market, and Netflix loses more of its licensed content, it remains to be seen how long it can hold onto the crown.”

 

 

FandangoNow Unveils 25 ‘Freshest’ Zombie Movies List to Celebrate ‘Living Dead’ Anniversary

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, Fandango’s on-demand video service FandangoNow Oct. 1 launched a list of the 25 “freshest” zombie movies with the George Romero film taking the top spot.

The list was curated by movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on the movies’Tomatometer scores. (A movie gets a “Fresh” designation when at least 60% of its critic reviews are positive.)

On Oct. 1 only, fans can rent any (or all) of the zombie movies on the list at a discounted rate of $1 off the regular price when using the promo code LIVINGDEAD50 at checkout.

“Zombies owe their popularity today to a little low-budget film from Pittsburgh released 50 years ago today, and Night of the Living Dead has lost none of its power to shock, stun and terrify,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis. “With its stark, in-your-face black-and-white imagery of the dead coming back to flesh-eating life, director George Romero’s film made it clear to 1968 audiences that visceral horror no longer took the shape of Gothic frights like werewolves and vampires. It now looks just like your friends and neighbors, and there is no escape. To celebrate the ‘Dead’s 50th-anniversary FandangoNOW is hosting the top 25 zombie movies that you can view at home today, starting of course with the film that started it all.”

The list with Tomatometer scores is:

Night of Living Dead (1968) 97%
Train To Busan 96%
Dawn of the Dead (1978) 93%
Shaun of the Dead 92%
I Walked with a Zombie 92%
The Cabin in the Woods 91%
Return of the Living Dead 91%
Zombieland 90%
ParaNorman 89%
White Zombie 89%
[Rec] 88%
28 Days Later 87%
Dead Alive 86%
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead 83%
The Plague of the Zombies 80%
Warm Bodies 80%
Dawn of the Dead (2004) 75%
Planet Terror 74%
Land of The Dead 73%
The Crazies 71%
28 Weeks Later 71%
Dead Snow 68%
Night of the Living Dead (1990) 68%
World War Z 66%
The Serpent and the Rainbow 61%

 

Rotten Tomatoes Expands Pool of Critics

Rotten Tomatoes, the movie and TV show recommendation service, has debuted revamped critics criteria for its popular Tomatometer rating system to include more voices.

The entertainment review aggregator, the Tomatometer reflects the collective opinion of thousands of Tomatometer-approved critics. Each Tomatometer score represents the percentage of positive reviews for a given film or television show.

Rotten Tomatoes’ revamped criteria have an increased focus on the critic’s individual qualifications and body of work, rather than basing Tomatometer approval primarily on their publication or employer. This strategy will allow for a wider and more diverse pool of critics’ perspectives to be included in the Tomatometer, according to the company.

In addition, the criteria have expanded beyond the written review to include newer media platforms. Now individuals and outlets that produce reviews for podcasts and digital video series with a strong social media presence and audience engagement will be considered for the Tomatometer.  Recently, more than 200 new Tomatometer-approved critics have been added with many more to come, according to the company.

The criteria can be found on the Rotten Tomatoes site, along with an application to become a Tomatometer-approved critic.

“Over the past few years, our team has added hundreds of new voices to the Tomatometer on top of the thousands we currently have, with the goal of creating a critics pool that closely reflects the global entertainment audience,” said Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes critics relations manager, in a statement. “We took another key step today by revamping our critics criteria that both shifts our focus to approving critics individually rather than through publications, and introduces updated guidelines for newer media platforms to be a part of the Tomatometer.”

To help critics gain access to key film festivals, Rotten Tomatoes has established a $100,000 grant program. Over the next year, Rotten Tomatoes will provide grants to non-profit organizations that help critics with costly expenses associated with festival attendance. The first grant of $25,000 will go to the Toronto International Film Festival’s Media Inclusion Initiative, which will help the organization bring almost 200 new journalists serving underrepresented groups to the Festival, running Sept. 6-16.

“Rotten Tomatoes plays an important role in connecting fans with trusted information and recommendations on what to watch in theaters and at home,” said Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company, in a statement. “Advancing inclusion in criticism continues to be a priority for Rotten Tomatoes and we plan to expand our work with media outlets that hire critics, film festivals and other groups, so as an industry we can better serve consumers.”

New critics will be spotlighted on the Tomatometer Critics home page.  Rotten Tomatoes plans to introduce more new product features over the next year, the company announced.

FandangoNow Highlights ‘Fresh’ Films Not on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu

Online transactional VOD retailer FandangoNow this week is launching a new feature that offers up recommended films, for digital purchase or rent, not available on Netflix and other subscription streaming services.

The monthly feature, FandangoNOW’s “Fresh Picks,” will highlight films on the service with “Fresh” or “Certified Fresh” Tomatometer scores, according to movie review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, a sister division. (A movie gets a “Fresh” designation when at least 60% of its critic reviews are positive.)

This month’s “Fresh Picks” include:

  • Aliens (Special Edition)
  • American Psycho (Uncut Version)
  • Avatar
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Black Hawk Down
  • The Book of Life
  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
  • The Bourne Supremacy
  • Brave
  • Bridesmaids (Unrated)
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Chef
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Death Wish
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Django Unchained
  • The Expendables 2
  • Elysium
  • The Fault in Our Stars (Extended Edition)
  • The Fifth Element
  • Four Lions
  • The Fugitive
  • Frozen
  • Godzilla
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • The Heat
  • The Help
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • The Hunger Games
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople
  • Ice Age
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Into The Woods
  • Knocked Up
  • Lawless
  • Legally Blonde
  • Limitless: Unrated Extended Cut
  • Lone Survivor
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight
  • Lucy
  • Married to the Mob
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Once Were Warriors
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Prisoners
  • The Professional
  • Role Models
  • The Secret of Kells
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • The Social Network
  • Spy Kids
  • Stalag 17
  • Stand By Me
  • Surf’s Up
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • That Touch of Mink
  • The Terminator
  • Tombstone
  • Tortilla Soup
  • Toy Story
  • True Romance (Director’s Cut)
  • Walk the Line
  • Wild
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • Wreck-It Ralph

 

In March 2018, digital movie collection service Movies Anywhere added FandangoNow as its fifth digital retail partner. Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu were partnered with the service at launch last year.

Visit FandangoNow here.

FandangoNow has the most comprehensive selection of films in 4K Ultra HD from all the major studios and content providers, according to the service. The service’s catalog is available on more than 200 million devices, offering 70,000 new release and catalog movies, next-day TV shows to buy or rent — no subscription required.

MoviePass Owner Plans 1-for-250 Reverse Stock Split, ‘Rotten Tomatoes’-Like Rating System, Among Other Bravado

Early in the United States’ ill-advised war on Iraq, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, former Iraqi information minister (a.k.a. “Baghdad Bob” or “Comical Ali”), was known for his propaganda and colorful speech intended to boost the morale of Iraqi troops.

Fifteen years later at Media & Entertainment Service Alliances’ Smart Content Summit in New York, Ted Farnsworth, CEO of Helios and Matheson Analytics, parent of theatrical ticket service MoviePass, is doing his best “Baghdad Bob” schtick.

During the July 24 self-serving keynote, “Disruption in the Entertainment Industry – Monetizing the MoviePass Effect,” Farnsworth said the fiscally-challenged ticket subscription remains on course to turn the exhibitor market on its ear.

“It all comes down to data,” Farnsworth said, as reported by M&E Daily. “We know our subscribers. We know what they like. We know what movies they go to — their genre, all these different things. Nobody else knows that.”

Data, in addition to tickets and content ownership/licensing, is high on MoviePass’ portfolio of assets Farnsworth believes makes the service unique and worthy of Wall Street investment.

The service will soon launch a movie rating system powered by MoviePass subscribers because apparently current Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Fandango rating systems aren’t enough.

Farnsworth contends movie studios have no clue who watches their movies.

“Boggles my mind,” he said, adding that monetizing the data remains “a challenge”.

That’s putting it mildly.

Helios and Matheson Analytics remains challenged just staying in business. It claims MoviePass has more than 3 million subscribers and is on course to reach 5 million subs by the end of the year.

No doubt, offering subs daily access to a theatrical screening for $9.95 monthly fee is a boon for consumers. It almost sounds too good to be true. That’s because it is. It’s loss-leader pricing on crack.

HMNY has been hemorrhaging cash, burning through more than $20 million monthly paying exhibitors face value for each ticket used by subscribers. The company warned it faced liquidity issues in its most-recent fiscal period.

Investors noticed, sending HMNY shares freefalling to less 10 cents per share – unsustainable by anyone’s yardstick.

Thus, HMNY said it plans a 1-for-250 shares reverse stock split to take effect July 25. The news resulted in more than 60 million shares trading hands as investors headed for the exit.

“We believe this is an important step that will facilitate our access to capital over the next several years and enable us to implement our growth plans for MoviePass, MoviePass Films and MoviePass Ventures, and will enable us to pursue potential acquisitions to grow our business,” Farnsworth said in a statement. “With greater access to capital, we expect to solidify our position as the No. 1 movie theater subscription service in the U.S. and continue to revolutionize the movie industry.”

With the stock currently trading at a vacuous 0.08 cents per share, after the split, HMNY shares will “worth” $20 per share.

Said one online observer, “They just couldn’t wait to screw the stockholders.”