Baywatch isn’t terribly good. And Pirates 5, we actually did really like, but other critics weren’t entirely convinced.
Now, Deadline is reporting that both films have come in below target on their opening weekend, and studios feel like bad reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are responsible for the poor turnout, with Baywatch on 19% and Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge on 31%.
Rotten Tomatoes is a reviews aggregate site, and critics submitting reviews can choose whether their review is certified ‘fresh’ or ‘rotten’. So although there are star ratings, it’s not entirely clear how RT computes its percentages.
Certain movies which are considered ‘critic proof’ don’t screen early for critics at all (in the UK, that includes the Fifty Shades films and certain mid-tier horrors), while movies like the Transformers franchise – which, over four movies, has never once achieved a ‘fresh’ rating – still makes an absolute bus-load of money regardless of what the critics say.
We can’t pretend, as critics ourselves, that we don’t have a horse in this race – talk of restricting critics’ screenings doesn’t fill us with hope. We’d rather just see more good movies.
Certain films are described as ‘for the fans’, which implies that they don’t hold up to critical scrutiny and shouldn’t be held to the same standards, but again, we’d argue that ‘popular’ and ‘fun’ don’t exclude films from being actually good.
Baywatch, for example, reinvents a TV show as a comedy in the way that 21 Jump Street did – Jump Street was successful and spawned a sequel and, crucially, was really good. Baywatch, not so much.
As well as poor reviews, Pirates is probably suffering from the lack of love for Johnny Depp and the disappointing fourth instalment as much as anything else – though it’s still likely to be a success worldwide, with follow-up movies on the cards.
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