‘Oppenheimer,’ ‘Succession,’ ‘The Last of Us’ Lead Golden Tomato Awards

Oppenheimer (Best-Reviewed Movie), “Succession” (Best-Reviewed TV Series) and “The Last of Us” (Best-Reviewed New TV Series) led Rotten Tomatoes’ 2023 Golden Tomato Awards, celebrating the best-reviewed movies and TV shows of the past year.

The awards recognize everything from the biggest Hollywood hits to the most provocative indies and is a symbol of being both a critical and mainstream darling, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

The winners of this year’s Golden Tomato Awards are:

FILM WINNERS

 

TV WINNERS

 

Vudu has a special hub dedicated to the Golden Tomato Award winners.

Vudu, Rotten Tomatoes Celebrate Warner’s 100th

To celebrate Warner Bros.’ 100th anniversary this year, Fandango’s transactional VOD service Vudu and its entertainment recommendation service Rotten Tomatoes are bowing collectibles, deals and specialized editorial content. 

Vudu has debuted 22 gift cards featuring quintessential characters and images from Warner films and TV shows. They feature moments from classics such as Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Space Jam, “Friends,” the “Batman,” “Superman,” “Scooby-Doo” and “The Matrix” franchises, and more.

Customers who buy $50 or more of the WB 100 gift card designs using code “WB100” will receive two Vudu codes to rent or purchase a movie from the WB-curated library on the platform. The promotion runs the entire month of April, and gift cards will be available for purchase both physically and digitally. 

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Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes will honor the milestone with the “Warner Bros. 100 Essential Movies of the Last 100 Years,” exploring the most memorable and culture-moving film titles from Warner Bros. over the past 100 years. 

Rotten Tomatoes Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary With Card Game, New Social Content

Rotten Tomatoes March 21 announced the launch of RT25, a year-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the recommendation service.

“RT25 will celebrate the most beloved movies, TV shows and talent from the past two-and-a-half decades, the critics who reviewed them, and the fans who have enjoyed them,” according to a press release. The RT25-dedicated hub is on Rotten Tomatoes here.

The celebration begins with the launch of Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game, which challenges up to 20 players to rank movies based on what they think the Tomatometer scores are. The game is available now for purchase at Amazon.com, RottenTomatoes.com and Cryptozoic.com for a suggested retail price of $24.99. More info is here.

“Over the past 25 years, Rotten Tomatoes has grown and solidified its place as the go-to resource for entertainment fans and critics alike,” Julio De Oliveira, VP of Rotten Tomatoes, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our movie fans this lively one-of-kind game with Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game, allowing them to celebrate and take part in this monumental anniversary.”

“Our team is thrilled to partner with Rotten Tomatoes during this milestone anniversary to bring entertainment fans Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game,” Cory Jones, co-founder of Cryptozoic Entertainment, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing pop culture fans test their cinematic knowledge, while immersing themselves in this original party game.”

Also as part of the festivities, the Rotten Tomatoes editorial and social teams will introduce new content monthly starting with the “Biggest and Best Movies & TV of the Last 25 Years” highlighting the best-reviewed titles, box office champions, fan-favorites, and more since the launch of the brand in August 1998. New content will also include listicles and features that celebrate the “Freshest” movies, TV and streaming shows from the past two and a half decades — according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer rating system, including countdowns of the best horror, comedy, sci-fi, action, animation movies and more.

Rotten Tomatoes will also host social media activations throughout the year, including polls, brackets, giveaways, trivia contests and more. Fans will also crown their favorite movie and TV show since 1998.

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Building on the popularity of snackable games, Rotten Tomatoes’ Daily Tomato uses content from the site to offer players hints at the movie title of the day. Players can test their knowledge with a new Daily Tomato every day, as well as special weekend challenges and themed weeks tied to the RT25 celebration.

Rotten Tomatoes was born in the Bay Area in August 1998 as an online startup that aggregated kung fu and anime movie reviews for a niche audience of fans. Since then, it has evolved to become a worldwide resource for entertainment discovery and recommendations. As part of the celebration, Rotten Tomatoes is releasing interesting stats and facts from the past 25 years.

Rotten Tomatoes Partners to Launch LGBTQ Scholarship

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics and content recommendation resource Rotten Tomatoes have launched The Crimson Honors scholarship.

It’s a new college film and TV criticism scholarship program for LGBTQ women and nonbinary students of color in Southern California pursuing a career in journalism or entertainment criticism.

GALECA will award more than $6,000 in financial assistance, funded by Rotten Tomatoes. 

The Crimson Honors scholarship is open to qualifying community or state college students in the Southern California area who are seeking a career in entertainment criticism. A select panel of GALECA members will review and consider all student submissions of film/TV criticism and/or commentary featured in a campus media outlet in 2022, ultimately honoring three students who demonstrate excellence in their craft.

The grand prize winner will receive $3,000, with two finalists each collecting $1,500. All three winners will also receive $100 Fandango and Vudu gift cards to watch movies in theaters or at home, and a complimentary yearlong GALECA membership, with opportunities to meet editors and Advisory Board members in the group.

Rotten Tomatoes’ support of GALECA’s Crimson Honors scholarship is the latest initiative in the brand’s Grants and Scholarships program, established in 2018 to increase inclusion in entertainment criticism and support the next generation of critics through donations to educational programs, film festivals’ inclusion initiatives, and other industry efforts. 

Eligible candidates — including nonbinary persons or women of color who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or queer — must be students studying journalism, cinema/TV studies or communications at a public two-year community or four-year state college in the Southern California area.

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Applicants may submit to GALECA up to three reviews or essays relating to film and/or TV, each originally published or posted in 2022 by an official campus media offering (newspaper, magazine, website, radio station, podcast, TV/radio program). In addition, applicants must also include a resume as well as a personal 300-word statement on why they hope for a career as a critic and entertainment journalist. 

Applicants can submit all materials here. Materials must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 31, 2022. All entrants will be notified that their submissions were received with winners being announced on Feb. 27, 2023.  Criteria and rules for the Crimson Honors scholarship can be found here.  

Rotten Tomatoes Expanding Critics Outreach and Grant Program

Rotten Tomatoes, a resource for movie, TV and streaming recommendations, announced that it is furthering its commitment to increasing inclusion in entertainment criticism by expanding its Critics Outreach and Grant Program.

It has renewed its donation to the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Media Inclusion Initiative, which provides financial support to accredited press from underrepresented groups. Since the launch of TIFF’s Media Inclusion Initiative in 2018, Rotten Tomatoes has contributed over $100,000 to the program.

“According to a recent survey we conducted with 350 Tomatometer-approved critics, 92% contend that the cost of travel and lodging still prohibits them from attending key festivals and conventions,” Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes director of critic engagement, said in a statement. “Supporting festival inclusion programs remains an important part of Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Outreach and Grant Program and we’re thrilled to be expanding our mentorship initiatives and scholarships for aspiring critics from underrepresented groups.”

The survey participants said the top three challenges critics face today are finding new opportunities as a member of a marginalized community; turning movie and TV criticism into a full-time career; and sustaining a work-life balance.

The top three industry changes survey participants would like to see include better accessibility to screening invites; more diversity and inclusion among the critic community; and continued adoption of hybrid and virtual events and festivals.

Additionally, among the critics from underrepresented groups who were surveyed, 76% said that they are invited to screenings more often when a film or series has a specific relation to their group.

Rotten Tomatoes also announced today that it will renew its support of the 2022 Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s Ruth Batchelor Scholarship, which benefits aspiring film critics from underrepresented groups in the Los Angeles area. In Chicago, Rotten Tomatoes recently launched the “Emerging Critics Grant Program” with the Chicago Film Critics Association, designed to support diverse aspiring critics from the local area.

Rotten Tomatoes continues to add new Tomatometer-approved critics to its world-famous entertainment rating system. Each year, Rotten Tomatoes receives hundreds of applications for Tomatometer consideration, and evaluates potential candidates based on a set of criteria. The criteria were refreshed in 2018 to place a greater emphasis on each critic’s individual credentials rather than their outlet, allowing for a wider and more diverse pool of critics’ perspectives to be included in the Tomatometer.

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Among the more than 100 new critics that Rotten Tomatoes has added to its Tomatometer critics pool over the past year, 74% are from underrepresented groups, 48% are women, 38% are people of color, 76% are freelancers and 34% are from new media platforms, including YouTube, podcasts and broadcast.

Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Outreach and Grant Program was established in 2018 with the mission to help increase inclusion in entertainment criticism and support the next generation of critics.​To date, Rotten Tomatoes has donated more than $350,000 to festival inclusion programs, college scholarships and more, helping more than 600 aspiring critics from underrepresented groups pursue their academic and professional goals.

Additionally, Rotten Tomatoes hosts educational and mentoring programs.  In 2021, it launched “RT Labs,” a free online educational resource platform designed to support aspiring critics through recorded expert panels, interviews, how-to guides and more.

As part of Rotten Tomatoes’ ongoing educational efforts, last month the brand hosted a panel discussion titled “Kicking Off Your Career in Film and Television Criticism” at the Asian American Journalists Association’s National Convention. The panel featured professional critics providing advice to early-career journalists and students seeking opportunities in film and television criticism.

Paramount’s Dan Cohen New Chair of DEG; Warner’s Jim Wuthrich Becomes Chair Emeritus

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group on Aug. 12 unveiled its new board of directors, with Paramount Global chief content licensing officer Dan Cohen elected chair and prior chair Jim Wuthrich, president of content distribution at Warner Bros. Discovery, moving to chair emeritus.

Jonathan Zepp

Jonathan Zepp, head of media and entertainment global partnerships at Google, is the home entertainment trade association’s new vice chair.

DEG is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and says it aims to drive membership “that reflects the diverse, global and fluid digital entertainment marketplace.”

The new officers of the DEG board were elected to two-year terms and will serve through July 2024.

Andrea Downing, president of PBS Distribution, returns as CFO, with Rick Hack, head of media and entertainment partnerships at Intel Corp., re-elected secretary.

Returning DEG member Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), a new DEG member company, are each represented with new DEG board directors: Jason Spivak, EVP of distribution for North America at SPE, and Chris Blandy, global leader of strategy and business development, media and entertainment at AWS.

Andrea Downing

A+E Networks and Fandango/Vudu are longstanding members returning to the board. They are represented, respectively, by Mark Garner, EVP of content licensing and business development, and Mark Young, SVP of strategy, business and corporate development for Fandango and Vudu and GM of Rotten Tomatoes.

The new DEG board also includes two seats representing DEG’s two alliances, the D2C Alliance (D2CA) and the Advanced Content Delivery Alliance (ACDA), which the trade group says “play increasingly important roles in focusing DEG membership for the future and broadening the organization’s membership.”

The D2CA director is Adam Lewinson of Tubi. The ACDA director is Bill Neighbors of Xperi Holding Corp. Both Lewinson and Neighbors serve as chief content officer of their respective companies.

DEG directors also appointed Robin Tarufelli of Deloitte as a special board advisor for the 2022-23 term, a role “intended to provide diversity of input from membership sectors and companies that might not otherwise be represented on the board,” the DEG announced.

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Rick Hack

DEG arrives at its quarter-century mark with an expanding global membership that includes 81 member companies encompassing all areas of digital entertainment, with diverse business segments and from a wide range of geographical locations. Examples include Israel’s Deepdub, a localization service provider; Argentina’s BB Media, a data science company specializing in media and entertainment; South Korea’s Blintn, a global content marketplace; and U.S.-based TreeTrunk, which introduces a new standard for NFTs that enables blockchain royalty collection and distribution.

“I’m delighted that DEG membership is evolving to reflect the increasingly global nature of the digital entertainment ecosystem,” new board chair Cohen said in a statement. “The new board is committed to serving all DEG members and to providing the membership even more opportunities for collaboration, education and networking across industry sectors and across borders.”

“We welcome all of our new DEG board directors and are thrilled about our expanding base of companies based outside the U.S.,” said Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO. “I’m grateful that they see the value of membership in DEG, which is committed to continuing to deliver high return on investment for members evolving into global providers of direct-to-consumer entertainment.”

Rotten Tomatoes Joins Forces With MovieClips on YouTube Network

TV, movie and streaming recommendation service Rotten Tomatoes has joined forces with Movieclips, a movie scene and trailer network on YouTube, to form the Rotten Tomatoes YouTube Network.

Both Rotten Tomatoes and Movieclips are part of the Fandango digital network.

The new Rotten Tomatoes YouTube Network will build on Movieclips’ 11-year legacy for creating and curating the world’s largest collection of memorable movie moments and film trailers and offer fans access to more than 100,000 short and long-form videos celebrating the world of movies, TV and streaming, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The new network will have a subscriber base of more than 90 million entertainment fans and feature 10 active channels, including Rotten Tomatoes Movieclips, Rotten Tomatoes Trailers, Rotten Tomatoes Coming Soon, Rotten Tomatoes Indie, Rotten Tomatoes Family, Rotten Tomatoes TV, Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers and more.

“At Rotten Tomatoes, our goal is to help fans worldwide discover and share beloved entertainment,” Mark Young, SVP and GM of Rotten Tomatoes, said in a statement. “Combining the global brand recognition and trust of Rotten Tomatoes with Movieclips’ legendary library of clips and trailers, we can be an even more comprehensive resource for fans for content recommendation and engagement across the growing world of movies, TV and streaming.”

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The new Rotten Tomatoes Network will also feature original shows with top Tomatometer-rated movie and TV lists, celebrity interviews, entertainment news, coverage of industry events and festivals, and Rotten Tomatoes’ fan debates and discussions on the best entertainment ever made. 

Also, Rotten Tomatoes has announced the launch of two new podcasts, “Rotten Tomatoes Aftershow” and “Rotten Tomatoes Binge Battle,” which join “Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong” in a growing suite of podcasts for entertainment fans.

The “Rotten Tomatoes Aftershow” podcast brings together a panel of cinephiles to discuss their thoughts on the latest movie releases, as well as nostalgia picks. “Aftershow” is hosted by a rotating cast of Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango personalities including Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley, contributing editor and comedian Mark Ellis, and Fandango correspondent Nikki Novak. Recent episodes discuss Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion. Later this season, “Aftershow” will look at Thor: Love and Thunder, Nope and more.

The “Rotten Tomatoes Binge Battle” podcast is hosted by Ellis. It features two expert contestants who take on debates about some of the biggest TV shows of our time. Recent episodes include head-to-head battles over “Moon Knight,” “Squid Game,” “Severance” and “Better Call Saul.”

“Rotten Tomatoes Aftershow,” “Rotten Tomatoes Binge Battle” and “Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong” are available on YouTube and various podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple.

In 2021, Rotten Tomatoes launched its first-ever 24/7 FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV service) channel on Roku, Samsung TV, Peacock and Xumo, with more than a dozen originally produced shows and more than 400 hours of long-form video content.

Study: Phase 4 of Marvel Cinematic Universe Least Favorite

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the least-favorite MCU phase so far, according to critical scores identified in a new study.

The findings come from the Critic Ratings Study, which analyzed the film ratings across three popular review platforms — Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDb. 

The study found that films and TV shows featured in Phase 4 — starting with “WandaVision” and running through to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — are proving the least popular with fans so far, when compared with Phase 3, Phase 2 and Phase 1.

In fact, when compared to Phase 3 of the MCU (starting with Captain America: Civil War and ending with Spider-Man: Far From Home), Phase 4 has reported a 22% drop in ratings. 

Still, Phase 4 includes the highest-rated MCU film so far, Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.8/10), but it’s Eternals that pulls the average score down considerably as the lowest-rated film in the MCU to date (5.7/10). 

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Of the TV shows included in Phase 4, the highest-rated was “WandaVision,” while fans weren’t so keen on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” or “Hawkeye.”

MCU Phases, best to worst:

  1. Phase 3 (Captain America: Civil War to Spider-Man: Far From Home)
  2. Phase 2 (Iron Man 3 to Ant-Man)
  3. Phase 1 (Iron Man to Marvel’s The Avengers)
  4. Phase 4 (“WandaVision” to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

 

Phase 3 was the highest-rated period of Marvel films, with each film featured reporting an impressive average critic score of 7.9/10. 

Highest-rated MCU films, by cumulative IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic scores:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.8/10)
  2. Avengers: Endgame (8.6/10)
  3. Iron Man (8.6/10)
  4. Avengers: Infinity War (8.5/10)
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy (8.5/10)

Report: Rotten Tomatoes Named Best Movie Rating Database

Rotten Tomatoes has been named the most reliable and the most-fair film rating database, according to a data-led study by BacanaPlay, a U.K.-based gambling operator.

The Film Rating Study pulled the ratings for more than 350 recently released movies, looking at Amazon-owned IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, to determine which platforms featured the most accurate ratings.

Despite Rotten Tomatoes often being regarded as a cutthroat rating platform, the analysis revealed that it should be the go-to resource for an accurate representation of a film. This is because the database provides a more accurate representation of third-party ratings, including the fewest discrepancies.

The three databases’ reliability was calculated based on the average ratings critically acclaimed films — Academy Award Best Picture winners and those with the most Oscar nominations and wins — and any major discrepancies between recent film ratings.

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The study found that there was a 13% difference in accuracy and reliability between the ratings reported on Rotten Tomatoes compared to those on IMDb, with the latter also reporting up to a 33% lower score for some films than the other databases.

Rotten Tomatoes was also named the least harsh and most fair rating platform overall, based on the average ratings awarded to recently released and critically acclaimed films. The average film listed on Rotten Tomatoes holds a respectable 7.1/10 rating, while those featured on Metacritic are rated 11% lower with an average score of 6.4/10.

Rotten Tomatoes also saw the least fluctuation in film ratings when compared to the other platforms — while Metacritic and IMDb showed wildly different ratings for the same titles.

When it comes to showing preferential treatment of some genres over others, Rotten Tomatoes was as guilty of this as the other two databases, with drama films seeing a 53% higher average rating than action flicks. The biggest preferential treatment was reported by Metacritic, however, with a 53% rating difference between drama films and action movies on the platform.

The report suggests that people get a different perception of a film depending on which database they consult, with some platforms giving more airtime to unnecessarily negative reviews than others, which ultimately skews the accuracy of their rating platform.

“People should use Rotten Tomatoes as the true benchmark for gauging the caliber of a film — and take the other two databases with a grain of salt,” read the report.

‘The Northman’ Among Trilogy of New Releases at the Domestic Weekend Box Office

In the typical lull before the opening of what is expected to be a monstrous blockbuster, Disney’s May 6 release of Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse, three niche films are battling it out at the North American box office this weekend.

The showdown is something of a test to see whether smaller films can still draw audiences to theaters, amid lingering hesitancy from the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of new movies on streaming services.

The Northman, a Viking epic from Focus Features and New Regency Pictures, stars Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe, and was directed by Robert Eggers, who previously won praise for the horror films The Witch (2015) and Lighthouse (2019). The Northman has already been hailed for its production values — not surprising, given its estimated budget of up to $90 million — and enjoys an 88% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes as of Friday (April 22) morning. The film also earned just under $1.4 million in Thursday night previews, more than the two other new releases, Dreamworks Animation’s Bad Guys (just under $1.2 million) and the latest Nicolas Cage film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent ($835,000), from Lionsgate.

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Bad Guys is an animated family film with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 86%. The film marks the directorial debut of Pierre Perifel and is based on the children’s book series of the same name by Aaron Blabey. The voice cast includes Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, and Anthony Ramos. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times hailed Bad Guys as “a great-looking film with terrific performances, some lovely messaging and a steady parade of solid laughs — some the kids will enjoy and just as many targeted squarely at the grown-up kids in the audience.”

And The Unbreakable Weight of Massive Talent is a satire with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%. Cage plays a fictional version of himself, who has to accept a $1 million offer to attend a not-quite-right superfan’s birthday party. To make things worse, he’s recruited by a CIA operative (played by Tiffany Haddish) and is forced to channel his own iconic characters to save the proverbial day.

All three films are projected to finish behind two big-budget, high-profile holdovers: Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third installment in the “Harry Potter” spinoff franchise, which opened to $43 million over the Easter weekend, and Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which generated $30 million its sophomore weekend. The film’s total domestic take, according to Box Office Mojo, is nearly $129 million.