PR firm accused of paying for Rotten Tomatoes reviews

A new report has accused a film ad agency of manipulating Rotten Tomatoes film scores by paying for reviews.

Rotten Tomatoes, paying reviews

Rotten Tomatoes has a huge impact on moviegoers, maybe too much. Without reading a single review of a movie, all you have to do is look at the Rotten Tomatoes score, a number between 0 and 100 that determines whether the movie is Fresh or Rotten. Critics and filmmakers have criticized the method, which treats each review in black and white with no room for nuance. However, a new report from vulture revealed another massive problem – namely that there was a film promotion company called Bunker 15 pay Critics for reviews to increase the Rotten Tomatoes score of specific films.

Vulture’s report states that Bunker 15 manipulated the Rotten Tomatoes score Ophelia, a retelling of Hamlet starring Daisy Ridley. After initial screenings, the film had a score of 46%, landing it firmly in the Rotten category, but Bunker 15 went to work, looking for critics who could be persuaded to give the film a more positive review

While most film PR companies aim to attract the attention of critics from top publications, Bunker 15 takes a more bottom-up approach, recruiting unknown, often self-published, critics who are nonetheless part of the pool, Rotten Tomatoes tracked.says Vulture’s report. “In another break from standard practice, several critics say Bunker 15 pays them $50 or more for each review.

In an email to a potential reviewer, a Bunker 15 employee wrote: “It’s a Sundance film and it feels like it’s been treated a bit harshly by some critics (sky high expectations are part of the reason I’m sure) so the teams involved feel it deserves more contributions from various critics would benefit.“When the reviewer asked what would happen if he hated the film, the contributor explained that he is free to write whatever he wants, but that “Super nice (and there are more critics of this kind than I expected)” would post such reviews on “a smaller blog that RT never sees. I think it’s a very cool thing.“In the next few months, seven more positive reviews were added Opheliaincreasing the score to 62% and changing the verdict from Rotten to Fresh.

When asked to comment on paying for reviews to manipulate Rotten Tomatoes scores, Bunker 15 founder Daniel Harlow said: “Wow, you’re really there. We have thousands of authors on our mailing list. A small handful have set up a special system where filmmakers can sponsor a film or pay to review it.“Rotten Tomatoes has since delisted a number of the company’s films. “We take the integrity of our results seriously and do not tolerate any attempts at manipulation,“Rotten Tomatoes said in a statement. “We have a dedicated team that regularly monitors our platforms and thoroughly investigates and remediates suspicious activity. PR firm accused of paying for Rotten Tomatoes reviews

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