Log in or sign up for Rotten Tomatoes

Trouble logging in?

By continuing, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes.

By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and the Terms and Policies , and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes.

Email not verified

Let's keep in touch.

Stay up-to-date on all the latest Rotten Tomatoes news! Tap "Sign me up" below to receive our weekly newsletter with updates on movies, TV shows, Rotten Tomatoes podcast and more.

OK, got it!

Movies / TV

No results found.

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Movies in theaters

Movies at home

Certified fresh picks

New TV Tonight

Most Popular TV on RT

Episodic Reviews

Certified fresh pick

Best and Worst

Marvel Movies Ranked Worst to Best by Tomatometer

Jurassic Park Movies Ranked By Tomatometer

Women’s History

Awards Tour

The Mandalorian Reveals What Lurks in the Mines of Mandalore

Scream VI First Reviews: A Brutal, Top-Notch Addition to the Series

About Rotten Tomatoes ®

Rotten Tomatoes and the Tomatometer score are the world’s most trusted recommendation resources for quality entertainment. As the leading online aggregator of movie and TV show reviews from critics, we provide fans with a comprehensive guide to what’s Fresh – and what’s Rotten – in theaters and at home. And the Tomatometer is just the beginning. We also serve movie and TV fans with original editorial content on our site and through social channels, produce fun and informative video series, and hold live events for fans across the country, with our ‘Your Opinion Sucks’ live shows. If you’re an entertainment fan looking for a recommendation, or to share an opinion, you’ve come to the right place.

What is the Tomatometer®?

The Tomatometer score – based on the opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of critical recommendation for millions of fans.

Back in the days of the open theaters, when a play was particularly atrocious, the audience expressed their dissatisfaction by not only booing and hissing at the stage, but also throwing whatever was at hand – vegetables and fruits included.

The Tomatometer score represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show. A Tomatometer score is calculated for a movie or TV show after it receives at least five reviews.

When at least 60% of reviews for a movie or TV show are positive, a red tomato is displayed to indicate its Fresh status.

When less than 60% of reviews for a movie or TV show are positive, a green splat is displayed to indicate its Rotten status.

When there is no Tomatometer® score available, which could be because the Title hasn’t released yet or there are not enough ratings to generate a score.

What is Certified Fresh?

Certified Fresh status is a special distinction awarded to the best-reviewed movies and TV shows. In order to qualify, movies or TV shows must meet the following requirements:

The above requirements for Certified Fresh status are only the bare minimum a film must achieve to qualify for the distinction. A film does not automatically become Certified Fresh when it meets those requirements. The Tomatometer score must be consistent and unlikely to deviate significantly before a film or TV show is marked Certified Fresh.

A Certified Fresh movie or TV season whose score drops and remains consistently below 70% will lose the Certified Fresh designation. The certification removal might not happen as soon as the score drops below 70%; as with CF designation, removal will take place when the score settles.

A movie or TV season that loses Certified Fresh status can regain it by reaching a consistent score of 75% or more and meeting the other minimum requirements.

Rotten Tomatoes has assembled a team of curators whose job it is to read thousands of movie and TV reviews weekly. The team collects movie and TV reviews from Tomatometer-approved critics and publications every day, generating Tomatometer scores. Our curators carefully read these reviews, noting if the reviews are Fresh or Rotten, and choose a representative pull-quote. Tomatometer-approved critics can also self-submit their reviews.

What is the Audience Score?

The Audience Score, denoted by a popcorn bucket, represents the percentage of users who have rated a movie or TV show positively. With films for which we can verify users have bought a ticket, the default Audience Score we show is made up of “Verified Ratings,” which represents the percentage of users who have rated a movie or TV show positively who we can verify bought a ticket; it is displayed once enough of those Verified Ratings are in to form a score. For all other titles, we display an “All Audience Score” that includes ratings from people regardless of whether or not we can currently verify they have seen the movie or show. Titles eligible for Verified Ratings have an All Audience Score, too: To see it, just click on the popcorn bucket and you can toggle between both the Verified Audience Score and the All Audience Score. You can read more about recent changes to the score box HERE .

When at least 60% of users give a movie or TV show a star rating of 3.5 or higher, a full popcorn bucket is displayed to indicate its Fresh status.

When less than 60% of users give a movie or TV show a star rating of 3.5 or higher, a tipped over popcorn bucket is displayed to indicate its Rotten status.

When there is no Audience Score available, which could be because the Title hasn’t released yet or there are not enough ratings to generate a score.

When you see this next to a review it means we’ve confirmed the user bought a ticket to the movie. Learn More

Community Code of Conduct

We’re all about debate and discussion at Rotten Tomatoes, and want to know what our fans think. For our community code of conduct, click here.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System — How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work - Featured

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings — How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work?

T he Rotten Tomatoes ratings system―good or bad? Well, I’d say it’s a bit better than the original way tomatoes were used to judge entertainment. Because even if we want to throw fruit at the screen, 21st century technology reminds us we don’t have to. Rotten Tomatoes will provide us with a fair Critic consensus before we even get to the theatre (saving us a ton of food and money).

So how does Rotten Tomatoes work, exactly? Is it a reliable judge of… characters … Okay, okay, hold your tomatoes please. Let’s get a behind the scenes look at how it all works.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings - Tomatometer Graphics Simplified - StudioBinder

What do the Rotten Tomatoes symbols mean? Read on

How does rotten tomatoes work, rotten tomatoes ratings system.

Rotten Tomatoes started in 2000 and it quickly became moviegoers go-to for reviews. But ever since Fandango acquired the company, it’s become even more well-known adding something called a “Tomatometer” score next to every movie and ticket listing. 

Critics have suggested that there is much more nuance and complication when it comes to the correlation between a Rotten Tomatoes rating and ticket sales. And while we will not get into that in this article, I think there is something to be said psychologically about seeing a rating right before you make your choice.

But I digress. 

I know for me, the ubiquitous nature of a Rotten Tomatoes score has made me feel like they hold more weight than they once did. But do they really hold more weight? How is the score actually calculated? And how are critics curated? 

Let's break it down.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings - Tomatometer Score Graphic - StudioBinder

Tomatometer Breakdown

Rotten tomatoes rating system, how does the tomatometer work.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating system uses a scale better known as the “The Tomatometer.” This represents the percentage of positive reviews for a given film or show. The Tomatometer score is calculated after five reviews.

As the reviews come in, The Tomatometer measures the positive reviews against the negative ones and assigns either an overall score of fresh or rotten rating to the film or television show. 

A red tomato score indicating its fresh status, is designated when at least 60% of the reviews are positive. 

A green splat indicating rotten status, is displayed when less than 60% of the reviews are positive. 

If there is no score available, it usually just means the movie or show hasn’t been released or there aren’t enough reviews yet. So, now that we know how they’re calculated, who’s doing the reviewing? 

Related Posts

How Does Rotten Tomatoes Rate Their Movies

How is rotten tomatoes rated .

Rotten Tomatoes is careful in its Critic curation. It won’t include just any critic’s review. It aggregates those who have been regularly putting out movie reviews over the last two years, and those who are considered active by Rotten Tomatoes standards. This just means they’ve published a review within the last year. While there are about 3,000 accepted reviewers (see the Tomatometer-approved critics criteria), usually only several hundred are actively reviewing for any given film. 

Many times, it’s much less. And Top Critics are counted with a separate score. So while the the Rotten Tomatoes rating system is really just general consensus, you can see some of the more renowned critics in a different space.

But it’s not just about the critics! You also get a fully rounded out review because you can also see how the audience feels. 

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings - What is Tomatometer - StudioBinder

What is the Tomatometer?

Popcorn rating explained, rotten tomatoes audience score.

This is a great feature of the site because it provides information from everyday moviegoers but also gives you some insight to see how close this score is to the critics’ scores. It can help you gauge if it’s truly a must-see or probably-pass. And it’s calculated similarly to critic reviews.

The Audience Score is designated by a popcorn bucket.

The score is the percentage of users who have rated the movie or show positively. There is also a section for Verified Ratings which includes those that have actually bought tickets. 

To receive a full popcorn bucket , at least 60% of users give a film or show a star rating of 3.5 or higher.

A tipped over popcorn bucket indicates that less than 60% of users have given it a 3.5 or higher. 

The most interesting finds are the ones that have a green splat for critics, and a full bucket of popcorn from the audience. 

While it’s rarely ever vice-versa, it happens, and it’s then when Rotten Tomatoes ratings may seem more subjective, and we wonder if the system works. And while reviews are opinion to some extent, the site boasts something called Certified Fresh, which brings a little more objectivity to the critique. 

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings - Audience Score - StudioBinder

Audience Score Breakdown

Certified rotten tomatoes score, what is certified fresh.

What does Rotten Tomatoes mean by Certified Fresh?

If a film or television show is awarded a Certified Fresh status, it’s being acknowledged that it’s met these requirements:

Of course these stats could fluctuate, especially within the first few days or weeks of a film’s release. If it meets these requirements, it is automatically flagged for review.

When the Rotten Tomatoes staff can determine the movie or show is unlikely to fall below these numbers, it achieves its Certified Fresh status.

Similarly, if the Tomatometer score ever falls below 70%, it will lose this status. Because the Rotten Tomatoes ratings system is so general, RT certified fresh consideration gives the site more objective credibility. 

What does Rotten Tomatoes mean for movies

Is rotten tomatoes good for movies.

So, what's the bottom line? With the movie theater business under constant assault from the rise of streaming services, audiences are less and less likely to venture out to the movies. If they do happen to make it outside the house, they'll likely be extra picky about how they spend their money.

Will they choose an "untested" wildcard movie or one that has general approval from fans and critics? The answer is self-evident. On its surface, the Rotten Tomatoes rating system and Tomatometer seem to be a legitimate resource for the discerning consumer. 

However, there is also a legitimate concern for low-budget indie movies who already have the cards stacked against them in distribution. Since they don't have the marketing budget of the Hollywood tentpoles, curious moviegoers have little else to go on besides the Tomatometer. These "little fish" movies live or die by this system, which is ultimately opinion-based and subjective.

What is a Cliche? Learn from Examples

If you’re a filmmaker or just love the movies, using cliches are a sure fire way to get awarded a nice big green splat, or a tipped over popcorn bucket.  Next up, are some examples of these tired situations and ways to avoid them.

Up Next: Cliche explained →

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards..

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows.

Learn More ➜

A visual medium requires visual methods. Master the art of visual storytelling with our FREE video series on directing and filmmaking techniques.

We’re in a golden age of TV writing and development. More and more people are flocking to the small screen to find daily entertainment. So how can you break put from the pack and get your idea onto the small screen? We’re here to help.


Site search.

Rotten Tomatoes, explained

Does a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score affect its box office returns? And six other questions, answered.

Share this story

Share All sharing options for: Rotten Tomatoes, explained

An image of Rotten Tomatoes’ logo

In February 2016, Rotten Tomatoes — the site that aggregates movie and TV critics’ opinions and tabulates a score that’s “fresh” or “rotten” — took on an elevated level of importance. That’s when Rotten Tomatoes (along with its parent company Flixster) was acquired by Fandango , the website that sells advance movie tickets for many major cinema chains.

People had been using Rotten Tomatoes to find movie reviews since it launched in 2000, but after Fandango acquired the site, it began posting “Tomatometer” scores next to movie ticket listings. Since then, studio execs have started to feel as if Rotten Tomatoes matters more than it used to — and in some cases, they’ve rejiggered their marketing strategies accordingly.

It’s easy to see why anyone might assume that Rotten Tomatoes scores became more tightly linked to ticket sales, with potential audiences more likely to buy tickets for a movie with a higher score, and by extension, giving critics more power over the purchase of a ticket.

But that’s not the whole story. And as most movie critics (including myself) will tell you, the correlation between Rotten Tomatoes scores, critical opinion, marketing tactics, and actual box office returns is complicated. It’s not a simple cause-and-effect situation.

My own work is included in both Rotten Tomatoes’ score and that of its more exclusive cousin, Metacritic . So I, along with many other critics , think often of the upsides and pitfalls of aggregating critical opinion and its effect on which movies people see. But for the casual moviegoer, how review aggregators work, what they measure, and how they affect ticket sales can be mysterious.

So when I got curious about how people perceive Rotten Tomatoes and its effect on ticket sales, I did what any self-respecting film critic does: I informally polled my Twitter followers to see what they wanted to know.

Here are seven questions that many people have about Rotten Tomatoes, and review aggregation more generally — and some facts to clear up the confusion.

How is a Rotten Tomatoes score calculated?

The score that Rotten Tomatoes assigns to a film corresponds to the percentage of critics who’ve judged the film to be “fresh,” meaning their opinion of it is more positive than negative. The idea is to quickly offer moviegoers a sense of critical consensus.

“Our goal is to serve fans by giving them useful tools and one-stop access to critic reviews, user ratings, and entertainment news to help with their entertainment viewing decisions,” Jeff Voris, a vice president at Rotten Tomatoes, told me in an email.

The opinions of about 3,000 critics — a.k.a. the “Approved Tomatometer Critics” who have met a series of criteria set by Rotten Tomatoes — are included in the site’s scores, though not every critic reviews every film, so any given score is more typically derived from a few hundred critics, or even less. The scores don’t include just anyone who calls themselves a critic or has a movie blog; Rotten Tomatoes only aggregates critics who have been regularly publishing movie reviews with a reasonably widely read outlet for at least two years, and those critics must be “active,” meaning they've published at least one review in the last year. The site also deems a subset of critics to be “top critics” and calculates a separate score that only includes them.

Some critics (or staffers at their publications) upload their own reviews, choose their own pull quotes, and designate their review as “fresh” or “rotten.” Other critics (including myself) have their reviews uploaded, pull-quoted, and tagged as fresh or rotten by the Rotten Tomatoes staff. In the second case, if the staff isn't sure whether to tag a review as fresh or rotten, they reach out to the critic for clarification. And critics who don't agree with the site’s designation can request that it be changed.

As the reviews of a given film accumulate, the Rotten Tomatoes score measures the percentage that are more positive than negative, and assigns an overall fresh or rotten rating to the movie. Scores of over 60 percent are considered fresh, and scores of 59 percent and under are rotten. To earn the coveted “designated fresh” seal, a film needs at least 40 reviews, 75 percent of which are fresh, and five of which are from “top” critics.

What does a Rotten Tomatoes score really mean ?

A Rotten Tomatoes score represents the percentage of critics who felt mildly to wildly positively about a given film.

If I give a film a mixed review that’s generally positive (which, in Vox’s rating system, could range from a positive-skewing 3 to the rare totally enamored 5), that review receives the same weight as an all-out rave from another critic. (When I give a movie a 2.5, I consider that to be a neutral score; by Rotten Tomatoes' reckoning, it's rotten.) Theoretically, a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating could be made up entirely of middling-to-positive reviews. And if half of the critics the site aggregates only sort of like a movie, and the other half sort of dislike it, the film will hover around 50 percent (which is considered “rotten” by the site).

Contrary to some people’s perceptions, Rotten Tomatoes itself maintains no opinion about a film. What Rotten Tomatoes tries to gauge is critical consensus.

Critics’ opinions do tend to cluster on most films. But there are always outliers, whether from contrarians (who sometimes seem to figure out what people will say and then take the opposite opinion), or from those who seem to love every film. And critics, like everyone, have various life experiences, aesthetic preferences, and points of view that lead them to have differing opinions on movies.

So in many (if not most) cases, a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score may not correspond to any one critic’s view. It’s more like an imprecise estimate of what would happen if you mashed together every Tomatometer critic and had the resulting super-critic flash a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Rotten Tomatoes also lets audiences rate movies, and the score is often out of step with the critical score. Sometimes, the difference is extremely significant, a fact that's noticeable because the site lists the two scores side by side.

There’s a straightforward reason the two rarely match, though: The critical score is more controlled and methodical.

Why? Most professional critics have to see and review many films, whether or not they’re inclined to like the movie. (Also, most critics don’t pay to see films, because studios hold special early screenings for them ahead of the release date, which removes the decision of whether they’re interested enough in a film to spend their hard-earned money on seeing it.)

But with Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score, the situation is different. Anyone on the internet can contribute — not just those who actually saw the film. As a result, a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score can be gamed by internet trolls seeking to sink it simply because they find its concept offensive. A concerted effort can drive down the film’s audience score before it even comes out, as was the case with the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters .

Even if Rotten Tomatoes required people to pass a quiz on the movie before they rated it, the score would still be somewhat unreliable. Why? Because ordinary audiences are more inclined to buy tickets to movies they’re predisposed to like — who wants to spend $12 to $20 on a film they’re pretty sure they’ll hate?

So audience scores at Rotten Tomatoes (and other audience-driven scores, like the ones at IMDb) naturally skew very positive, or sometimes very negative if there’s any sort of smear campaign in play. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But audience scores tend to not account for those who would never buy a ticket to the movie in the first place.

In contrast, since critics see lots of movies — some of which they would have gone to see anyhow, and some of which they would’ve never chosen to see if their editors didn’t make the assignment — their opinion distribution should theoretically be more even, and thus the critical Rotten Tomatoes score more “accurate.”

A screenshot of the Rotten Tomatoes page for Wonder Woman

Or at least that’s what Rotten Tomatoes thinks. The site displays a movie’s critics’ scores — the official Tomatometer — at Fandango and in a more prominent spot on the movie’s Rotten Tomatoes landing page. The audience score is also displayed on the Rotten Tomatoes page, but it’s not factored into the film’s fresh or rotten rating, and doesn’t contribute to a film being labeled as “certified fresh.”

Why do critics often get frustrated by the Tomatometer?

The biggest reason many critics find Rotten Tomatoes frustrating is that most people’s opinions about movies can’t be boiled down to a simple thumbs up or down. And most critics feel that Rotten Tomatoes, in particular, oversimplifies criticism, to the detriment of critics, the audience, and the movies themselves.

In some cases, a film really is almost universally considered to be excellent, or to be a complete catastrophe. But critics usually come away from a movie with a mixed view. Some things work, and others don’t. The actors are great, but the screenplay is lacking. The filmmaking is subpar, but the story is imaginative. Some critics use a four- or five-star rating, sometimes with half-stars included, to help quantify mixed opinions as mostly negative or mostly positive.

The important point here is that no critic who takes their job seriously is going to have a simple yes-or-no system for most movies. Critics watch a film, think about it, and write a review that doesn't just judge the movie but analyzes, contextualizes, and ruminates over it. The fear among many critics (including myself) is that people who rely largely on Rotten Tomatoes aren't interested in the nuances of a film, and aren't particularly interested in reading criticism, either.

But maybe the bigger reason critics are worried about the influence of review aggregators is that they seem to imply there's a “right” way to evaluate a movie, based on most people's opinions. We worry that audience members who have different reactions will feel as if their opinion is somehow wrong, rather than seeing the diversity of opinions as an invitation to read and understand how and why people react to art differently.

A screenshot of the Rotten Tomatoes score for Fight Club.

Plenty of movies — from Psycho to Fight Club to Alien — would have earned a rotten rating from Rotten Tomatoes upon their original release, only to be reconsidered and deemed classics years later as tastes, preferences, and ideas about films changed. Sometimes being an outlier can just mean you're forward-thinking.

Voris, the Rotten Tomatoes vice president, told me that the site is always trying to grapple with this quandary. “The Rotten Tomatoes curation team is constantly adding and updating reviews for films — both past and present,” he told me. “If there’s a review available from an approved critic or outlet, it will be added.”

What critics are worried about is a tendency toward groupthink, and toward scapegoating people who deviate from the “accepted” analysis. You can easily see this in the hordes of fans that sometimes come after a critic who dares to “ruin” a film's perfect score . But critics (at least serious ones) don't write their reviews to fit the Tomatometer, nor are they out to “get” DC Comics movies or religious movies or political movies or any other movies. Critics love movies and want them to be good, and we try to be honest when we see one that we don't measures up.

That doesn't mean the audience can't like a movie with a rotten rating, or hate a movie with a fresh rating. It's no insult to critics when audience opinion diverges. In fact, it makes talking and thinking about movies more interesting.

If critics are ambivalent about Rotten Tomatoes scores, why do moviegoers use the scores to decide whether to see a movie?

Mainly, it’s easy. You’re buying movie tickets on Fandango, or you’re trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix, so you check the Rotten Tomatoes score to decide. It’s simple. That’s the point.

And that’s not a bad thing. It's helpful to get a quick sense of critical consensus, even if it's somewhat imprecise. Many people use Rotten Tomatoes to get a rough idea of whether critics generally liked a film.

The flip side, though, is that some people, whether they’re critics or audience members, will inevitably have opinions that don't track with the Rotten Tomatoes score at all. Just because an individual's opinion is out of step with the Tomatometer doesn't mean the person is “wrong” — it just means they're an outlier.

And that, frankly, is what makes art, entertainment, and the world at large interesting: Not everyone has the same opinion about everything, because people are not exact replicas of one another. Most critics love arguing about movies, because they often find that disagreeing with their colleagues is what makes their job fun. It's fine to disagree with others about a movie, and it doesn't mean you're “wrong.”

(For what it’s worth, another review aggregation site, Metacritic, maintains an even smaller and more exclusive group of critics than Rotten Tomatoes — its aggregated scores cap out around 50 reviews per movie, instead of the hundreds that can make up a Tomatometer score. Metacritic’s score for a film is different from Rotten Tomatoes’ insofar as each individual review is assigned a rating on a scale of 100 and the overall Metacritic score is a weighted average, the mechanics of which Metacritic absolutely refuses to divulge . But because the site’s ratings are even more carefully controlled to include only experienced professional critics — and because the reviews it aggregates are given a higher level of granularity, and presumably weighted by the perceived influence of the critic’s publication — most critics consider Metacritic a better gauge of critical opinion.)

Does a movie’s Rotten Tomatoes score affect its box office earnings?

The short version: It can, but not necessarily in the ways you might think.

A good Rotten Tomatoes score indicates strong critical consensus, and that can be good for smaller films in particular. It’s common for distributors to roll out such films slowly, opening them in a few key cities (usually New York and Los Angeles, and maybe a few others) to generate good buzz — not just from critics, but also on social media and through word of mouth. The result, they hope, is increased interest and ticket sales when the movie opens in other cities.

Get Out , for example, certainly profited from the 99 percent “fresh” score it earned since its limited opening. And the more recent The Big Sick became one of last summer's most beloved films, helped along by its 98 percent rating. But a bad score for a small film can help ensure that it will close quickly, or play in fewer cities overall. Its potential box office earnings, in turn, will inevitably take a hit.

A scene from Get Out

Yet when it comes to blockbusters, franchises, and other big studio films (which usually open in many cities at once), it’s much less clear how much a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score affects its box office tally. A good Rotten Tomatoes score, for example, doesn't necessarily guarantee a film will be a hit. Atomic Blonde is “guaranteed fresh,” with a 77 percent rating, but it didn‘t do very well at the box office despite being an action film starring Charlize Theron.

Still, studios certainly seem to believe the score makes a difference . Last summer, studios blamed Rotten Tomatoes scores (and by extension, critics) when poorly reviewed movies like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales , Baywatch , and The Mummy performed below expectations at the box office. ( Pirates still went on to be the year’s 19th highest-grossing film.)

2017’s highest grossing movies in the US

But that correlation doesn’t really hold up. The Emoji Movie , for example, was critically panned, garnering an abysmal 6 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. But it still opened to $25 million in the US, which put it just behind the acclaimed Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk . And the more you think about it, the less surprising it is that plenty of people bought tickets to The Emoji Movie in spite of its bad press: It's an animated movie aimed at children that faced virtually no theatrical competition, and it opened during the summer, when kids are out of school. Great reviews might have inflated its numbers, but almost universally negative ones didn't seem to hurt it much.

It's also worth noting that many films with low Rotten Tomatoes scores that also perform poorly in the US (like The Mummy or The Great Wall ) do just fine overseas, particularly in China. The Mummy gave Tom Cruise his biggest global opening ever . If there is a Rotten Tomatoes effect, it seems to only extend to the American market.

Without any consistent proof, why do people still maintain that a bad Rotten Tomatoes score actively hurts a movie at the box office?

While it’s clear that a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score and box office earnings aren't correlated as strongly as movie studios might like you to think, blaming bad ticket sales on critics is low-hanging fruit.

Plenty of people would like you to believe that the weak link between box office earnings and critical opinion proves that critics are at fault for not liking the film, and that audiences are a better gauge of its quality. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, co-star of Baywatch , certainly took that position when reviews of the 2017 bomb Baywatch came out:

Oh boy, critics had their venom & knives ready . Fans LOVE the movie. Huge positive scores. Big disconnect w/ critics & people. #Baywatch https://t.co/K0AQPf6F0S — Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 26, 2017

Baywatch ended up with a very comfortably rotten 19 percent Tomatometer score , compared to a just barely fresh 62 percent audience score. But with apologies to The Rock, who I’m sure is a very nice man, critics aren't weather forecasters or pundits, and they’re not particularly interested in predicting how audiences will respond to a movie. (We are also a rather reserved and nerdy bunch, not regularly armed with venom and knives.) Critics show up where they’re told to show up and watch a film, then go home and evaluate it to the best of their abilities.

The obvious rejoinder, at least from a critic’s point of view, is that if Baywatch was a better movie, there wouldn’t be such a disconnect. But somehow, I suspect that younger ticket buyers — an all-important demographic — lacked nostalgia for 25-year-old lifeguard TV show, and thus weren't so sure about seeing Baywatch in the first place. Likewise, I doubt that a majority of Americans were ever going to be terribly interested in the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (which notched a 30 percent Tomatometer score and a 64 percent audience score), especially when they could just watch some other movie.

A pile-up of raves for either of these films might have resulted in stronger sales, because people could have been surprised to learn that a film they didn’t think they were interested in was actually great. But with lackluster reviews, the average moviegoer just had no reason to give them a chance.

Big studio publicists, however, are paid to convince people to see their films, not to candidly discuss the quality of the films themselves. So when a film with bad reviews flops at the box office, it’s not shocking that studios are quick to suggest that critics killed it.

How do movie studios try to blunt the perceived impact when they’re expecting a bad Rotten Tomatoes score?

Of late, some studios — prompted by the idea that critics can kill a film’s buzz before it even comes out — have taken to “ fighting back ” when they’re expecting a rotten Tomatometer score.

Their biggest strategy isn’t super obvious to the average moviegoer, but very clear to critics. When a studio suspects it has a lemon on its hands, it typically hosts the press screening only a day or two ahead of the film's release, and then sets a review “embargo” that lifts a few hours before the film hits theaters.

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Consider, for example, the case of the aforementioned Emoji Movie . I and most other critics hoped the movie would be good, as is the case with all movies see. But once the screening invitations arrived in our inboxes, we pretty much knew, with a sinking feeling, that it wouldn’t be. The tell was pretty straightforward: The film’s only critics' screening in New York was scheduled for the day before it opened. It screened for press on Wednesday night at 5 pm, and then the review embargo lifted at 3 pm the next day — mere hours before the first public showtimes.

Late critics’ screenings for any given film mean that reviews of the film will necessarily come out very close to its release, and as a result, people purchasing advance tickets might buy them before there are any reviews or Tomatometer score to speak of. Thus, in spite of there being no strong correlation between negative reviews and a low box office, its first-weekend box returns might be less susceptible to any potential harm as a result of bad press. (Such close timing can also backfire; critics liked this summer's Captain Underpants , for example, but the film was screened too late for the positive reviews to measurably boost its opening box office.)

That first-weekend number is important, because if a movie is the top performer at the box office (or if it simply exceeds expectations, like Dunkirk and Wonder Woman did this summer), its success can function as good advertising for the film, which means its second weekend sales may also be stronger. And that matters , particularly when it means a movie is outperforming its expectations, because it can actually shift the way industry executives think about what kinds of movies people want to watch. Studios do keep an eye on critics’ opinions, but they’re much more interested in ticket sales — which makes it easy to see why they don’t want risk having their opening weekend box office affected by bad reviews, whether there’s a proven correlation or not.

The downside of this strategy, however, is that it encourages critics to instinctively gauge a studio’s level of confidence in a film based on when the press screening takes place. 20th Century Fox, for instance, screened War for the Planet of the Apes weeks ahead of its theatrical release, and lifted the review embargo with plenty of time to spare before the movie came out. The implication was that Fox believed the movie would be a critical success, and indeed, it was — the movie has a 97 percent Tomatometer score and an 86 percent audience score.

And still, late press screenings fail to account for the fact that, while a low Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t necessarily hurt a film’s total returns, aggregate review scores in general do have a distinct effect on second-weekend sales. In 2016, Metacritic conducted a study of the correlation between its scores and second weekend sales , and found — not surprisingly — that well-reviewed movies dip much less in the second weekend than poorly reviewed movies. This is particularly true of movies with a strong built-in fan base, like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , which enjoyed inflated box office returns in the first weekend because fans came out to see it, but dropped sharply in its second weekend, at least partly due to extremely negative press .

Most critics who are serious about their work make a good-faith effort to approach each film they see with as few expectations as possible. But it's hard to have much hope about a movie when it seems obvious that a studio is trying to play keep-away with it. And the more studios try to game the system by withholding their films from critics, the less critics are inclined to enter a screening devoid of expectations, however subconscious.

If you ask critics what studios ought to do to minimize the potential impact of a low Rotten Tomatoes score, their answer is simple: Make better movies. But of course, it’s not that easy; some movies with bad scores do well, while some with good scores still flop. Hiding a film from critics might artificially inflate first-weekend box office returns, but plenty of people are going to go see a franchise film, or a superhero movie, or a family movie, no matter what critics say.

The truth is that neither Rotten Tomatoes nor the critics whose evaluations make up its scores are really at fault here, and it’s silly to act like that’s the case. The website is just one piece of the sprawling and often bewildering film landscape.

As box office analyst Scott Mendelson wrote at Forbes :

[Rotten Tomatoes] is an aggregate website, one with increased power because the media now uses the fresh ranking as a catch-all for critical consensus, with said percentage score popping up when you buy tickets from Fandango or rent the title on Google Market. But it is not magic. At worst, the increased visibility of the site is being used as an excuse by ever-pickier moviegoers to stay in with Netflix or VOD.

For audience members who want to make good moviegoing decisions, the best approach is a two-pronged one. First, check Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic to get a sense of critical consensus. But second, find a few critics — two or three will do — whose taste aligns with (or challenges) your own, and whose insights help you enjoy a movie even more. Read them and rely on them.

And know that it’s okay to form your own opinions, too. After all, in the bigger sense, everyone’s a critic.

Will you support Vox’s explanatory journalism?

Millions turn to Vox to educate themselves, their family, and their friends about what’s happening in the world around them, and to learn about things that spark their curiosity. Financial contributions from our readers are a critical part of supporting our resource-intensive work and help us keep our journalism free for all. Please consider making a one-time contribution to Vox today.

We accept credit card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. You can also contribute via

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Next Up In Culture

Sign up for the newsletter future perfect.

Each week, we explore unique solutions to some of the world's biggest problems.

Thanks for signing up!

Check your inbox for a welcome email.

Oops. Something went wrong. Please enter a valid email and try again.

Joe Biden speaking at a lectern with a field behind him.

Biden’s “blue-collar” budget is a preview of the fights to come

One soldier in a camouflage uniform and a face mask holds open the back door of an armored vehicle, as others sit on benches inside it, with supplies stacked around them.

A Ukrainian city is on the verge of falling to Russia

A bunch of product recall and safety alert stamps.

You might not know if your blender will kill you

A man is seen in silhouette against a banner featuring Netanyahu’s face, with the sunset in the background.

Why Israel’s new far-right government has triggered massive protests

Biden speaks at a lectern in front of a wall that reads “Protect and strengthen Medicare.”

Biden’s budget goes all in on protecting Medicare. Just how much danger is it in?

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Tucker Carlson’s January 6 lies throw Republicans into disarray

Filmmaking Lifestyle

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System: The Complete Guide

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Since its inception in 1998, Rotten Tomatoes has grown to become the most popular movie review site on the internet.

Across this platform, professional and amateur critics alike offer their opinions of movies they have seen recently or from years past.

This includes a film’s quality rating which is determined by dividing the number of positive reviews by all reviews written for that particular movie; however, many people are unaware of how exactly this process works.


What is the rotten tomatoes ratings system.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings system is a review aggregator website that offers an average of all reviews for a given piece of media.

The company can be best described as the Metacritic of movie reviews, but with the added bonus that they also provide their own reviews and score out of 100%.

How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work?

There are a few different factors that go into determining the “Tomatometer” rating for a movie.

The first factor is whether or not critics liked the movie, and if they did like it, what percentage of them gave it a thumbs up.

If more than 60% of critics liked the film then it will have an overall positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

If less than 60% of critics liked the film then it will have an overall negative rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Next, there’s going to be reviews from regular people who’ve seen movies in theaters (or rented/purchased them) and given their opinion about how good they thought the film was on social media.

The Rotten Tomatoes website is a review aggregator. It collects reviews from different critics and assigns them an average score, which is then used to calculate the film’s audience rating.

Critics are assigned to films based on their genre, so you can know whether or not your favorite movie critic has seen the film in question by checking the list of genres that appear at the bottom of each movie’s page on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregator site that takes the reviews of critics and assigns it one out of five stars.

It then averages all the scores together to give an overall score for each movie, TV show, or album.

The site was started in 1998 by two film fans who wanted a quick way to decide what films they should see at their local theater.

The website is now owned and operated by Flixster Inc., which is owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment Company and Lionsgate Films Corporation; however, its content is not affiliated with either company.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

Many people use the Rotten Tomatoes rating system as a guide to whether or not they should watch a movie.

The website has become the go-to destination for reviews, but some critics think it’s flawed.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating system is a site that aggregates the reviews of various critics to give an overall percentage.

The website has been criticized for its over-reliance on opinion and for not taking into account other factors, such as budget or marketing.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating system is a website that provides movie and TV show reviews from both professional critics and the general public.

It was created in 1998 by three film buffs, who wanted to see how many people agreed with them on movies they loved or hated.

The website has grown exponentially since then, now allowing users access to over 450,000 reviews for films and TV shows.

It happens all too often: A controversial film will get a high rating from critics but be given low ratings by everyday audiences because of their differing political opinions about what should have been said in the movie in the first place!

The movie industry has always been a difficult one, with many factors that determine how well or poorly a film will be received.

The Rotten Tomatoes Rating System is an attempt to help viewers make more informed decisions on whether or not they want to see a particular film in theaters.

The Tomatometer rating is a percentage score based on the number of positive reviews for a film or TV show.

Certified Rotten Tomatoes Score

The Certified Rotten Tomatoes Score tells you whether the critics liked it and gives you a percentage of what they thought about the film.

Every movie-goer has its own standards for deciding if a film is worth seeing.

Some people looking for an action flick, while others are more interested in dramas or comedies.

Still, there’s one thing that many people agree on: they want to know how good the movie actually is before they see it.

How many times have you gone to the movies and come out disappointed with a movie because it had a high Rotten Tomatoes score but you thought it was terrible?

How many times has your friend told you that they love this movie, but when you watch it, all of the things that they said about the movie were not in there?

Well if this is something that happens to you often then this blog post is for you! Certified Rotten Tomatoes Score allows people like yourself to know what percentage of critics or users on Rotten Tomatoes agree with their opinion on movies.

Certified Rotten Tomatoes Score is a blog that provides ratings and reviews of movies based on the Certified Fresh™ certifications from the popular website, Rotten Tomatoes.

This site also features movie trailers for your viewing pleasure.

How Is Rotten Tomatoes Rated?

The Tomatometer is a rating system created by the people at Rotten Tomatoes. It’s used to rank movies from worst (0%) to best (100%).

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

The score is based on how many fresh tomatoes are shown and how many rotten tomatoes are shown.

Fresh means that critics liked it, or it was met with mixed reviews; whereas rotten means that critics hated it, or didn’t care for it one bit.

A film critic’s job is to give unbiased, professional reviews of movies. They provide insight on what worked and didn’t work in a film. Rotten Tomatoes is an aggregator that rates films on their quality using a percentage-based system – this percentage reflects how many critics liked the movie with 100% being “Fresh” and 0% being “Rotten”.

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

The Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score is a way for movie reviewers to share their opinions of movies with the public. The score ranges from 0% (very bad) to 100% (excellent).

With this information, you can determine whether or not a movie may be worth watching.

The Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score is a metric that rates the quality of movies and TV shows.

The score, made up of audience ratings on a scale of 100, is calculated by taking the percentage of people who rated it at least 60 out of 100 (or 6 out 10) and multiplying it by 100%.

In a world where people are quick to judge movies, it’s often difficult to tell if the movie is good or bad.

Is Rotten Tomatoes Good For Movies?

It’s not just about whether critics liked or disliked the movie either; it also gives information about how many people saw that particular film in theaters (for example Jurassic World had over $1 billion at the box office).

The question of whether or not Rotten Tomatoes is good for movies comes down to a matter of opinion.

Some people believe that the aggregator site helps get more people into theaters, while others argue it leads to fewer sales and an oversimplification of critical judgment.

The movie review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, has been a topic of discussion for film aficionados and critics alike.

Some argue that the site’s 100% fresh rating system is unfair to movies with less than perfect scores.

Others feel that the site does not take into account other factors such as personal tastes or what type of movie it is.

In conclusion, while there are multiple points of view on this matter, it can be said with certainty that the opinions on whether or not RT is good for films will continue to vary depending on who you ask.

What Is Claymation? Definition & Examples Of This Animation Technique

How To Land 3 Clients a Month By Writing a Case Study About a Project You Did

Related posts

Crypto.com vs coinbase: best crypto exchange in 2023, quicken vs. quickbooks: best small business accounting software in 2023, 8 best no annual fee business credit cards in 2023 [ranked & compared], 9 steps to systematize your business: systematizing your video business, 8 best virtual conference platforms in 2023 [ranked & reviewed], guide to film budgets: everything you need to know.

' data-class=

I use rotten tomatoes to get a feel of how a movie is. I read the critics reviews. If it’s really bad I won’t go see the movie. If it’s 50/50 I’ll take a chance and go see the movie. Who knows I might be part of the 50% that likes it.

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Good plan, Tonya!

' data-class=

I rarely rely on rotten tomatoes finding it a popularity contest not a quality review of excellence. It simply doesn’t include all genres.

Fair comment, Patricia.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Username or Email Address

Remember Me

Registration is closed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Rotten Tomatoes Scores Are Notably Higher Than Usual

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Over the last decade, movie scores are on the rise on the site. Why? 

You might remember this year that Paddington 2 was battling Citizen Kane as the best-reviewed movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, I think that Paddington 2 is the Citizen Kane of bear movies, but is it better than Citizen Kane ?

Why is this even happening? Data compiled by Global News says that Rotten Tomatoes scores have been creeping upward for the last ten years. 

So how does this work? Well, a film gets released and uploaded onto the site. Then it gets a "Tomatometer" score. That score is based on a number out of 100. It means that if a film's score is a 75 on the site, that 7 out of 10 reviewers thought it was worth you watching the film. 

As Global News reports, " In 2009, the average Tomatometer score for all wide releases was 46 percent, and it was roughly at that level for much of the 2000s. By 2019, that average score had climbed to a high of 62 percent—an important milestone, since 60 percent is the dividing line between a 'fresh' film and a 'rotten' one. "

That's kind of a suspicious rise in ratings. Is every movie getting better? Probably not. 

These ratings are what influence audiences to watch things. They send people to the theater or help them pick which streamer to subscribe to. So why are these numbers going up? There is one theory...

The website was purchased by Warner Bros. in 2011. And in 2016, Comcast (which also owns NBCUniversal) acquired a 70 percent stake. The Comcast deal directly linked Rotten Tomatoes into a division of the ticket vendor Fandango. Meaning you could buy tickets for highly rated movies through the website. 

Joel Meares, editor-in-chief at Rotten Tomatoes, says there's no correlation between these sales and higher ratings.

“What I can say is that [I] never felt any pressure to have higher scores for movies that are released by our parent companies,” Meares told Global News.

According to him, there is no way corporate owners could skew the ratings.

He went on to say, “We ingest reviews. They are either fresh or rotten. They go into a pool. The percentage is the percentage and it is what it is.”

But here's the deal, half of Rotten Tomatoes reviews come from the public. That means studios can spam the site and goose the numbers, if they so choose. Here's the other thing— Rotten Tomatoes doesn't get their Tomato reviews directly from critics. 

They actually  employ a team of seven curators who read hundreds of reviews a week and then make the arbitrary decision to mark them fresh or rotten based on their personal interpretation. If they are not sure, another curator reads it, and if they still are not sure, then they call the reviewer. 

This means that you could give a movie 2 stars out of 4 and still be seen on the site as saying go see it because you praised a certain aspect. 

Of course, all reviews are subject to the reviewer. But another issue is that the website is mostly aggregating the white male point of view. A 2017  USC Annenberg report  found that 82 percent of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were written by white critics, and 78 percent by men. That means the meter might be skewed and biased against more diverse titles, without even knowing it. 

This all presents an interesting conundrum moving forward. How do you pick which things to watch and when? The best way to use Rotten Tomatoes might be to shift over to see what the "Cream of the Crop" gives a movie, and ignore the rest. Or you might need to seek out a particular reviewer and see how their taste echoes your own. Or you can try other websites like Metacritic . Or you can just get plugged into various social media outlets and see what's buzzy and popular.

Either way, be careful how you pick what to watch in the future. 

Let us know what you think in the comments.       

You Might Also Like

Your comment.

Critics have missed movies especially in movie theaters. In big screen everything looks better than in your tv or laptop.

September 21, 2021 at 7:00AM


The rising rankings can be perplexing for viewers who use the website to determine what to watch. “I sense for the films that are caught with their scores survey . I suppose it’s unfair to the historic movies. Rotten Tomatoes is very important, there’s no doubt about that in

October 19, 2021 at 11:44PM


Hollywood Insider - News Entertainment & Culture

Substance & Meaningful Entertainment

Against gossip & scandal, independent media network, global stories from local perspective, factual culture news, how to understand rotten tomatoes: an in-depth guide to help you decide what movies to watch next.

what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

Caroline is currently a writer and contributor for Hollywood Insider. She believes in constant critical thinking and applied analysis when it comes to media consumption. Her goal aligns with Hollywood Insider’s mission statement, and she strives to educate readers on the nuances of the entertainment industry and to hopefully encourage them to form their own opinions on the media they consume daily.

Mar 10, 2021

Table of Contents

Hollywood Insider Rotten Tomatoes, In-Depth Guide, Movie Reviews

Photo: Rotten Tomatoes

In 2020 alone, there were more than 320 films released in the United States and Canada. That was with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent movie theater closures. The year before, there were over 800 films released. With the ever-growing number of films to watch both in theaters and on streaming platforms , it’s becoming a harder decision for viewers to pick what they want to watch. The overwhelming nature of choice has dominated the movie market for years now, but the aim of critical review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes , is to help make that choice a little easier. 

Related article:  25 Royally Shocking Revelations From Prince Harry & Meghan Markle During Oprah Interview

Related article:  Why Queen Elizabeth II Is One Of The Greatest Monarchs | Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of United Queendom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (Video Insight)

Rotten Tomatoes was launched in August 1998 with the goal of merging critical reviews into an easily-readable and understandable score that viewers could use to determine whether a movie was worth their time or not. It is important to note that, in 2016, Fandango , a movie ticketing company, acquired Rotten Tomatoes and now displays their scores next to films when you’re deciding on which tickets to purchase, so to say that Rotten Tomatoes scores are incredibly influential would be an understatement. They, in front of IMDB , are one of the most trusted sources for accurate, critical ratings on all your favorite movies. But where exactly do all the critical scores come from? And what do they mean? Let’s break it down.

What Are Critical Scores? How Are They Calculated?

When you click on a movie on Rotten Tomatoes, the first thing you see are two independent scores. One signifies an aggregation of critical ratings of a film (the “Tomatometer” ) and the other, denoted by a popcorn bucket, displays audience consensus on a film. In regards to critical reviews, there are three categories that a film can fall under: rotten, fresh, and certified fresh. To put it simply, if a film is marked as “rotten”, it means that under 60% of the total reviewers left a positive review. A positive review is usually marked by a score of 6 or more out of 10, but there is also room for interpretation as to what a positive score can be due to the wide variety of rating systems that critics use.

Related article: MUST WATCH –  Hollywood Insider’s  CEO Pritan Ambroase’s Love Letter to Black Lives Matter – VIDEO

Subscribe to  Hollywood Insider’s  YouTube Channel, by clicking here. 

Some critics use a letter grade such as “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” to judge films and others use a rating system out of 4 instead of 10. Ultimately, it falls to the curators of Rotten Tomatoes to clarify whether a review is positive or negative, and categorize it as such. As a side note, the overall percentage that you see at the top of the screen is the total amount of reviewers that scored the film positively. For example, ‘Coming 2 America’ currently holds a critical rating of 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that of the 182 reviews, only 52% of them ranked the film positively. Got it? Great, let’s move on. If a film qualifies as “fresh”, that means that more than 60% of reviewers ranked the film positively.

That number increases to 75% or more if a film is “certified fresh”, however, that title is also accompanied by a different set of qualifying rules. For example, the film in question must have been reviewed 80 times or more, as well as have reviews by five of the “top critics” to qualify as certified fresh. But let’s back up even further to examine who these critics are and what qualifying categories they have to meet in order to be accepted into the Rotten Tomatoes club.

Who Are the Critics?

Rotten Tomatoes deems that all critics meet a set of eligibility guidelines that are meant to exemplify that this person or publication is influential (and experienced) enough to write well-articulated reviews. They do this through an application-based system with some of the requirements being: you must have been writing reviews for at least two years that are being published through a non-self-published source, whether that be online or print. For social media influencers, these qualifications are different in that you must have a subscriber count of at least 30,000 to be considered “widespread” enough in your audience scope. To put it simply, most Rotten Tomatoes reviewers are qualified to review films and have already been doing so, consistently, on a different platform. 

Related article:  The Power of Positivity: Ikorodu Bois + Chris Hemsworth + Russo Brothers + Sam Hargrave

Limited Time Offer – FREE Subscription to  Hollywood Insider

Click here to read more on  Hollywood Insider’s  vision, values and mission statement here – Media has the responsibility to better our world –  Hollywood Insider  fully focuses on substance and meaningful entertainment, against gossip and scandal, by combining entertainment, education, and philanthropy. 

Once a critic has been approved to write for Rotten Tomatoes, they either self-submit reviews to the website or continue to publish reviews via the medium they were previously published through. In the case of the latter, Rotten Tomatoes has a team of expert curators determine whether or not the review is “fresh” or “rotten”. This team of curators poses a morally gray area as they introduce a middleman who opens the reviews to the possibility of misinterpretation. Mostly, however, Rotten Tomatoes critics submit scores themselves in order to rule out any areas of miscommunication. 

Audience Scores Versus Critical Scores: Different Guidelines

Let’s switch gears a bit to talk about what an audience score is and what it means. Similarly to critical scores, the percentage at the top of the page (next to the popcorn bucket) represents the overall number of audience members who gave a film a positive review. However, it’s important to note that audience reviews have a different rating system than those described for critics, one that is universal and easier to aggregate. All audience reviews must score the film in question out of 5 stars. This shifts the rating system to a 3.5 out of 5 counting as a positive review while anything below that counts as a negative review. In this instance, and throughout this article, I’ve been using “positive” and “fresh” interchangeably as well as “negative” and “rotten” interchangeably too. Just a side note for anyone who feels confused! Luckily, the rest of the audience rating system is easier to digest. There’s a full popcorn bucket for any film that receives 60% or higher positive reviews from audience members while a spilled popcorn bucket denotes a film where less than 60% of reviewers scored the film positively.

Related article:  Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase: “The Importance of Venice Film Festival as the Protector of Cinema”

Related article:  The Masters of Cinema Archives: Hollywood Insider Pays Tribute to ‘La Vie En Rose’, Exclusive Interview with Director Olivier Dahan

How You Can Use Rotten Tomatoes in Your Everyday Life

Okay, so now that I just rattled off a bunch of confusing numbers and percentages to you, let’s talk about why you should care. The main takeaway I hope you have from this article is that Rotten Tomatoes, at its core, is a review aggregator, which means that ultimately those percentages you see at the top of the screen are general estimates meant to give you an overall idea of what critics think about this film. Obviously, films with higher scores that are certified fresh, and films that fall to the other extreme of the rotten scale, are easier to judge because critical consensus is more unanimous. However, all these gray areas and film critics opinions shouldn’t matter to you unless you know for certain that you like their opinions. If you are a more traditional cinephile, aka a fan of the Criterion collection or HBOMax’s lineup, then you will probably benefit from looking at solely critical scores on Rotten Tomatoes.

For example, ‘L’Avventura’ directed by Michaelangelo Antonini in 1960, has a critical score of 94%, but an audience score of 88%. In a more abstract sense, if you prefer fun, entertaining blockbusters like the majority of the general public, you may not like this film as much as the professional critics who rated it very highly. At the end of the day, Rotten Tomatoes is in no way, shape, or form a Bible that determines a film’s quality. It is best used in a subjective way that accounts for nuances and personal taste. However, in this time of ever-growing film releases via all sorts of platforms, it can be helpful to look at a number and use it to make a quick judgment of a film before you dedicate an hour or more of your life to it. 

By  Caroline Adamec

An excerpt from the love letter:  Hollywood Insider’s  CEO/editor-in-chief  Pritan Ambroase  affirms,  “Hollywood Insider  fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and  Hollywood Insider  will continue to do so.”

Ways to support Black Lives Matter Movement to end systemic racism

More Interesting Stories From  Hollywood Insider

–  Want GUARANTEED SUCCESS? Remove these ten words  from your vocabulary| Transform your life INSTANTLY

–  Compilation: All James Bond 007 Opening Sequences  From 1962 Sean Connery to Daniel Craig

–  Do you know the hidden messages in ‘Call Me By Your Name’?  Find out behind the scenes facts in the full commentary and In-depth analysis of the cinematic masterpiece

–  A Tribute To The Academy Awards: All Best Actor/Actress Speeches From The Beginning Of Oscars 1929-2019  | From Rami Malek, Leonardo DiCaprio To Denzel Washington, Halle Berry & Beyond | From Olivia Colman, Meryl Streep To Bette Davis & Beyond

–  In the 32nd Year Of His Career, Keanu Reeves’ Face Continues To Reign After Launching Movies Earning Over $4.3 Billion In Total  – “John Wick”, “Toy Story 4”, “Matrix”, And Many More

Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes, Rotten tomatoes

'  data-srcset=

Caroline is currently a writer and contributor for Hollywood Insider. She believes in constant critical thinking and applied analysis when it comes to media consumption. Her goal aligns with Hollywood Insider's mission statement, and she strives to educate readers on the nuances of the entertainment industry and to hopefully encourage them to form their own opinions on the media they consume daily.

View all posts

You might also like…

What A Rotten Tomatoes Rating Really Means, Are Aggregate Reviews Reliable?

Newsletter Subscription

Related Articles

Website It Up


Gluten, Dairy, Sugar Free Recipes, Interviews and Health Articles

What does 70 rotten tomatoes mean, is 70% rotten tomatoes good, what does it mean to be 100% on rotten tomatoes, what does 95 on rotten tomatoes mean, what does 80% rotten tomatoes mean, what is rotten tomatoes how does it work.

Is 60% Rotten Tomatoes good?

Is 75 rotten tomatoes good, is 80% rotten tomatoes good, what is the lowest rated movie on rotten tomatoes, what does 59% rotten tomatoes mean, has any movie ever gotten 100% on rotten tomatoes, what is a 0% rotten tomato movie, what movie has the worst rating ever, is 71 rotten tomatoes good, is 42 rotten tomatoes good, what is the number 1 rated movie ever, which movie has 9.5 rating, what was the first r rated movie, what is the highest rotten tomatoes score movie.

What is the highest rated Rotten Tomatoes score?

What is the best movie according to rotten tomatoes, is 24 rotten tomatoes good, what has gotten 0 on rotten tomatoes, is there a disney movie rated r, is g rating ok for kids.

A Healthy Journal was born out of passion, the passion for food, but mainly for a healthy life. We are a bunch of friends all over the world who, at a certain time of their lives, realised the doctor’s advice was not enough anymore. Therefore, we tried to help ourselves through diet, sport, natural remedies and little gestures made out of love. More ....

Sign up to receive weekly email updates about what's new on The Healthy Journal!


  1. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

  2. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

  3. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

  4. Rotten Tomatoes, explained (2022)

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

  5. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean

  6. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System

    what does the movie rating rotten tomatoes mean


  1. About

    Rotten Tomatoes is home to the Tomatometer rating, which represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or

  2. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings

    The Rotten Tomatoes rating system uses a scale better known as the “The Tomatometer.” This represents the percentage of positive reviews for a

  3. Rotten Tomatoes, explained

    As the reviews of a given film accumulate, the Rotten Tomatoes score measures the percentage that are more positive than negative, and assigns

  4. Rotten Tomatoes Ratings System: The Complete Guide

    The Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score is a way for movie reviewers to share their opinions of movies with the public. The score ranges from 0% (very bad) to 100% (

  5. How does the Rotten Tomatoes rating system work? What ...

    The Tomatometer is simply the percentage of professional critic reviews that award the movie a fresh score (greater than 6 out of 10) against the total number

  6. Rotten Tomatoes

    Major recently released films can attract more than 400 reviews. If the positive reviews make up 60% or more, the film is considered "fresh". If the positive

  7. List of films with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

    On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, a film has a rating of 100% if each professional review recorded by the website is assessed as positive

  8. Rotten Tomatoes Scores Are Notably Higher Than Usual

    So how does this work? Well, a film gets released and uploaded onto the site. Then it gets a "Tomatometer" score. That score is based on a

  9. How to Understand Rotten Tomatoes: An In-Depth Guide to Help

    In regards to critical reviews, there are three categories that a film can fall under: rotten, fresh, and certified fresh. To put it simply, if

  10. What does 70 Rotten Tomatoes mean?

    On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, a film has a rating of 100% if each professional review recorded by the website is assessed as positive rather