Movie studios are apparently using delaying tactics to help their films overcome negative reviews.
Despite a critical mauling, The Emoji Movie managed to open in the US with $24.5 million this past weekend, in line with expectations, and The Hollywood Reporter has put some of its success down to when the reviews came out.
Sony had embargoed reviews until midday on July 27, only hours before the movie started playing in cinemas.
“The Emoji Movie was built for people under 18, who give it an A- CinemaScore, so we wanted to give the movie its best chance,” Sony’s Josh Greenstein outlined.
One possible factor in movies such as Transformers: The Last Knight failing this summer has been the increase in popularity for Rotten Tomatoes, the site that pulls together reviews and gives films a percentage score.
It’s a handy tool for anyone looking for a night at the cinema and not quite sure what to watch, but some people think it’s affecting new releases.
“People are using the score as a pass/fail. Hollywood has always talked about a movie being ‘review proof’. But it may not be Rotten Tomatoes proof,” believed Ben Carlson, president of social media research firm Fizziology.
Sony has attempted a similar tactic with The Dark Tower, which has received some pretty scathing reviews and was only screened for critics two days before its US release, so we’ll have to wait and see if it pays off again.
Then again, Universal delaying reviews of The Mummy until the Wednesday before the movie’s release didn’t seem to help, and The House‘s box office was disappointing despite Warner Bros not letting critics anywhere near it.
“The best way for studios to combat the ‘Rotten Tomatoes Effect’ is to make better movies, plain and simple,” said box office expert Paul Dergarabedian of comScore.
Perhaps that’s easier said than done.
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