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, distribution, North America, SPE, and Chris Blandy, global leader, strategy and business development, media & 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, content licensing and business development, and Mark Young, SVP of strategy, business and corporate development for Fandango and Vudu and general manager 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,” DEG says.

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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,” said new board chair Cohen 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.

Rotten Tomatoes Partners With TikTok for Movie/TV Show Marketing

Online movie/TV show recommendation service Rotten Tomatoes Dec. 14 announced it is teaming up with social video platform TikTok to help content creators market movies and TV shows.

The Rotten Tomatoes TikTok Jump will enable creators to link to movie and TV trailers, Tomatometer and Audience ratings, reviews, information on where to watch, clips, and cast and crew info for entertainment fans.

Film and TV clips and soundbites have been popular on TikTok, with users often requesting more information on the content. The companies are working together with studios for the new holiday releases, Spider-Man: No Way Home, West Side Story, Sing 2 and The Matrix Resurrections.

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“Teaming up with TikTok is the next step in our journey and we’re thrilled to provide [their] community access to all that our site has to offer,” Sandro Corsaro, SVP and chief creative officer at Rotten Tomatoes, said in a statement.

Launched in 1998, Rotten Tomatoes has evolved over the years to harness social media and help moviegoers and consumers find movies, TV shows, and streaming content. Earlier this year, the brand launched its first-ever channel on Roku, Samsung TV Plus, Peacock and Xumo, featuring 24/7 linear programming with over a dozen originally produced shows and nearly 400 hours of premium long and short-form video content, in addition to its original video series “The Ketchup,” “Binge Battle,” and the “Rotten Tomatoes is Wrong” podcast.

“Through the new Rotten Tomatoes Jump feature, we’re excited to give our community access to a trusted source of entertainment reviews, recommendations, trailers and more,” said Harish Sarma, global head of content business development at TikTok.

Rotten Tomatoes Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Rotten Tomatoes is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with new content honoring the best of Hispanic film and television, including RT Recommends: 43 Hispanic Movies to Watch with the Whole Family, a curated list of Hispanic-themed titles that are family-friendly.

The list highlights movies such as RioCoco and the live-action Dora and the Lost City of Gold. A curated collection with many of these films is available on Vudu.

In addition, Hispanic/Latino critics Rosa Parra, Kate Sanchez, Kristen Maldonado, Jose Solis, Juan Barquin, Lupe Rodriguez Haas and Carlos Aguilar discuss the films that changed their lives with “Seven Hispanic Critics Open Up About Movies That Made a Major Impact on Their Lives.” Films discussed include The Book of LifeStand and DeliverThe Three CaballerosSpy KidsSelenaSalt of the Earth, and Strawberry and Chocolate.

Rotten Tomatoes will also honor 10 Groundbreaking Hispanic Filmmakers Who Cut Their Own Path in Hollywood, with a feature highlighting the careers of filmmakers Beatriz Michelena, Bill Melendez, Roberto Gavaldon, George A. Romero, Gregory Nava, Hype Williams, Lourdes Portillo, Patricia Cardoso, Ramon Menendez and Robert Rodriguez.

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Additional upcoming features and curated lists include 110 Essential Spanish-Language Movies20 Best Spanish-Language Shows on NetflixEssential Hispanic LGBTQ+ Movies, and Best Spanish-Language Horror Movies.

Rotten Tomatoes OTT Channel Launching on Samsung TV Plus

Rotten Tomatoes is launching its over-the-top (OTT) channel on Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free ad-supported video service.

The Rotten Tomatoes Channel features 24/7 linear programming, more than a dozen originally produced shows and nearly 200 hours of premium long and short-form video content on entertainment.

Debuting on the channel are four new shows: “Behind the Movie,” “Trailer Trivia,” “Year in Review” and “Binge Battle.” “Behind the Movie” delivers scene breakdowns, deep-dive interviews and behind-the-scenes tales from the biggest names in Hollywood. “Trailer Trivia” revisits the trailers that got fans pumped for some of the biggest movies of all time and dishes on trivia and Easter Eggs from those films. “Year in Review” relives Hollywood’s biggest hits, misses and forgotten gems. Each episode focuses on a single year of movies and TV, showcased through trailers, clips, interviews and more. In “Binge Battle,” comedian and host Mark Ellis pits two teams against each other to debate some of the biggest questions surrounding the most bingeable TV series and movie franchises ever made. Debating topics such as “Best Character,” “Best Episode” and “Most Surprising Twist,” contestants are judged by the viewers before Mark crowns a “Binge Battle” champ.

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“The expansion of The Rotten Tomatoes Channel to Samsung devices is an important step to reaching as many entertainment fans as possible and connecting them to movies, TV and streaming they’ll love,” Sandro Corsaro, Rotten Tomatoes SVP and chief creative officer, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with Samsung and serving their loyal customers with high-quality entertainment recommendations and tools that only Rotten Tomatoes can deliver.”

The launch of The Rotten Tomatoes Channel on Samsung TV Plus comes on the heels of its debut earlier this year on The Roku Channel, Peacock, Xumo TV and other vMPDs (virtual multichannel programming distributors). Most recently, clips from The Rotten Tomatoes Channel started airing on Reach TV, a live streaming network available on more than 2,500 screens in airport bars, restaurants, lounges, departure gates and concourses across the United States and Canada.

Rotten Tomatoes Launches ‘RT Labs’ Educational Resource for Critics

Rotten Tomatoes has launched “RT Labs,” an online educational resource program designed to support aspiring and up-and-coming entertainment critics in their career development.

The program will feature recorded panel discussions and classes with industry experts that will be rolled out on a quarterly basis and focus on “engaging conversations and actionable guidance,” according to the service. The “RT Labs” video content will be published on Rotten Tomatoes and accessible under the “Critics” tab.

Launching Aug. 24 is the introductory installment of “RT Labs: Critics Edition,” the first in a two-part video series focusing on the ins and outs of self-publishing. Moderator Sharronda Williams, producer and host of the YouTube channel “Pay or Wait,” and panelists Erik Anderson (AwardsWatch), Robert Daniels (freelance critic), Li Lai (Mediaversity) and Kristen Lopez (IndieWire) review industry-best practices and cover elements including branding, platform management and budget, editorial oversight and more. The follow-up panel will address topics such as networking, hiring contributors and transitioning from self-publishing to freelancing, among others.

“At Rotten Tomatoes, we remain committed to amplifying diverse voices and supporting the next generation of journalists as they look to evolve and innovate the field of entertainment criticism,” Jenny Jediny, Rotten Tomatoes’ head of critic relations, said in a statement. “We are excited to launch ‘RT Labs’ and help aspiring critics gain valuable guidance and tools from some of the best minds in our industry.”

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“RT Labs” continues to build on Rotten Tomatoes’ mission to broaden and diversify the critics pool whose movie and TV reviews are reflected in the site’s Tomatometer scores, according to the service.

“Rotten Tomatoes began this quest in earnest in August 2018, when it revamped the Tomatometer critics criteria with an increased focus on critics’ individual qualifications, allowing for more freelance critics and those publishing on newer media platforms to be Tomatometer-approved,” according to a press release. “Since 2018, Rotten Tomatoes has added more than 900 critics to the Tomatometer. Over the past year, nearly 100 new critics have been added, an estimated 70% of whom are from underrepresented groups; 25% are people of color; 51% are women; 72% are freelancers; and 26% publish on newer media platforms.

In December 2020, Rotten Tomatoes revamped its Top Critics program, a designation for Tomatometer-approved critics. Of the 170 new Top Critics individually designated since that revamp, 60% are women, an estimated 25% are people of color and 24% publish via video and podcast media.

To help ensure that the next generation of entertainment critics is more inclusive, Rotten Tomatoes has renewed its donation to the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival Media Inclusion Initiative, which awards critics from underrepresented groups with stipends to enhance their Festival experience. Since 2018, Rotten Tomatoes has donated more than $250,000 to film festival press inclusion programs and university and junior college-level scholarships, helping support aspiring critics from underrepresented groups achieve their academic and professional goals. Rotten Tomatoes also hosts various workshops, panels and networking events for critics to gain access to editors, studio publicity and marketing executives and festival organizers at key industry events.

Rotten Tomatoes Launches OTT Channel on Roku

Rotten Tomatoes, a fan resource for movie, TV and streaming recommendations owned by Fandango, is expanding its entertainment footprint with the launch of the Rotten Tomatoes Channel, an OTT channel on The Roku Channel.

The 24/7 linear programming channel from Rotten Tomatoes will launch with more than 10 originally produced shows, totaling 100 hours of premium long and short-form video content.

The Rotten Tomatoes Channel is available now on The Roku Channel and is coming soon to Peacock, Xumo TV and vMPDs (virtual multichannel programming distributors), with more to come, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

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“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with fans through our new Rotten Tomatoes OTT channel,” said Sandro Corsaro, Rotten Tomatoes SVP and chief creative officer. “The channel will not only deliver an around-the-clock celebration of entertainment but continue our brand promise to help fans find what to watch, by delivering the best movie, TV and streaming recommendations.”

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On the Rotten Tomatoes Channel each week, viewers will get the latest trailers; breaking movie and TV news; new takes on beloved movie and TV scenes; conversations and games; and recommendations on what to watch. It will feature some of the biggest names in entertainment and will include interviews with stars such as Dwayne Johnson, Daniel Kaluuya, Awkwafina, Issa Rae, Robert Pattinson, Janelle Monae, Kevin Feige, Jordan Peele, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Zendaya and more.

Shows include:

  • “Countdown,” a countdown to the best movies, shows, scenes and more according to the Tomatometer and top entertainment experts;
  • “The Vault,” a nostalgic look back at the best star interviews, red carpet chats, games, and more from the Rotten Tomatoes archives;
  • “Trailers Reloaded,” an opportunity to relive the hype around the biggest movies and shows ever with an extensive collection of trailers;
  • “Becoming,” in which Hollywood’s biggest names break down their biggest transformations from some of their most iconic roles;
  • “Rotten Tomatoes Essentials,” an informative look back at the movies, shows, stars and directors that defined genres and eras;
  • “Versus,” which uses Tomatometer scores, box office data, and more to settle the biggest movie and TV debates of all time;
  • “Oral History,” featuring the full stories behind the world’s most cherished films, shows, and franchises, from the people who made them great;
  • “Rotten Tomatoes Exclusive Interviews,” featuring the biggest stars and filmmakers in the world opening up about the movies and TV shows that have everyone talking;
  • “Aftershow,” in which ovie lovers, critics, and industry experts debate some of the biggest movies of recent times;
  • “Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong,” a video version of the weekly podcast, exploring some of the most beloved — and despised — movies and shows ever made;
  • “Scene Breakdown,” in which filmmakers and stars breakdown some of the most memorable scenes of recent times, moment by moment;
  • “Name the Review,” in which laughs ensue when stars are faced with some of their weirdest and harshest reviews; and
  • “Five Favorite Films,” in which filmmakers and stars share their all-time favorite movies — and why they mean so much to them.

 

Visits to its editorial content were up 157.4% in 2020 from the previous year — with a 26% increase in page views to TV and streaming pages, according to Rotten Tomatoes.