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Everyone’s a critic: Rotten Tomatoes revises reviewer criteria to foster inclusivity — how does it change what it means to be a film critic?




Logo for the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregation site.
Logo for the Rotten Tomatoes movie review aggregation site.
Rotten Tomatoes

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In an effort to include newer and more diverse critics from a wider array of platforms like YouTube and podcasts, Rotten Tomatoes announced earlier this week that it would be revising its criteria for what qualifies someone as a critic whose reviews could be considered in determining a film’s overall score on the site’s 1-100 percentage scale.

RT is considered by many to be a helpful tool in determining on which of the many films in movie theaters we’re going to spend our money. But some say that for as much influence as its “rotten” or “certified fresh” ratings carry with the moviegoing public, RT is cavalier with its definition of “critic” and that the way it compiles hundreds of reviews to churn out one score ignores importance nuance in the movies.

Earlier this year, a report USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found a 3.5 to 1 male to female ratio and other race and gender disparities among reviewers on RT after evaluating close to 20,000 reviews.

Larry Mantle and FilmWeek critics Amy Nicholson and Wade Major are joined by Rotten Tomatoes’ editor-in-chief Joel Meares to go over the revisions to RT’s critic criteria and talk about what it means for the diversity and inclusivity among critics and their platforms and, given RT’s significant influence on the public, whether and how it changes who qualifies to be a critic.

Guests:

Joel Meares, editor-in-chief of Rotten Tomatoes; he tweets @joelmeares

Amy Nicholson, film critic for KPCC, film writer for The Guardian and host of the podcasts The Canon and Unspooled; she tweets @TheAmyNicholson

Wade Major, film critic for KPCC and CineGods.com

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; she tweets @ClaudiaPuig