Posted Fri Dec 22, 2017 at 09:45 PM PST by Steven Cohen
Some signs may point to inaccurately skewed audience scores for the latest Star Wars flick.
Though the general critic's consensus for Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been overwhelmingly positive on site's like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, the movie's corresponding audience scores on both websites have been far less favorable with numbers hitting around the 50% mark.
Of course, it's perfectly fine to dislike The Last Jedi (or any movie, for that matter). In fact, I have many issues with the flick myself and there are certainly flaws in the movie that are worth discussing -- but are these low audience numbers really a sign of actual fan disapproval or could there be something a little more sinister afoot here?
Namely, a pesky disturbance in the force dubbed review bombing.
As detailed in a recent write-up by Birth.Movies.Death, the opt-in polling used for audience scores on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic can lead to skewed results, making them easily susceptible to review bombing. This is a practice where a group of people purposefully give a movie a negative score in order to hurt its business, regardless of their true feelings on the film or whether they've even seen it at all.
In order to back up their conclusion, Birth.Movies.Death did a little digging into the stats for the users who scored The Last Jedi on these sites, and they found that the majority of these people were new users who signed up just to have their negative reviews counted, and several of them deleted their accounts or had their accounts deleted afterwards.
In addition, the site also compared the low Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes audience scores to exit polling done by a company called comScore which surveys audience members right after they see a film. In stark contrast to the ~50% fan approval on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, comScore found positive audience reactions to be closer to 90%. This is much more in line with other recent Star Wars films like The Force Awakens and Rogue One. As a result, comScore's numbers imply that those with a negative reaction to the movie actually make up a much smaller minority than the Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes audience scores would have one believe.
Again, none of this is to say that there aren't legitimate reasons to dislike The Last Jedi or that there aren't plenty of fans who genuinely dislike the movie -- but the stats here do make the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic audience scores seem inaccurately skewed.
As reported by Forbes, however, Rotten Tomatoes has recently responded to concerns about fake reviews or skewed results and has assured fans that its numbers are authentic, stating that the site's security has not seen anything unusual about the scoring and that they've only seen an uptick in written user reviews for the film.
Either way, whether these audience scores are accurate or being skewed by review bombing, it's clear that viewers are continuing to have passionate reactions to The Last Jedi, both positive and negative alike.
The latest news on all things 4K Ultra HD, blu-ray and Gear.