The most influential name in the movie industry is overhauling how it does business. If you’re even a casual fan of movies, you know about Rotten Tomatoes, the critic-and-review aggregator that certifies a film “rotten” or “fresh.” A mediocre Rotten Tomatoes rating can significantly affect box office sales, discouraging some fans from checking out a movie for themselves, prompting directors to openly criticize the platform.
Rotten Tomatoes has surely deserved its share of criticism, as its methodology hadn’t been updated to reflect the changing media tides. The company launched 20 years ago and built their system around prioritizing newspapers, broadcast TV, and established film critics on staff at legacy publications. But you know the story of how the internet changed everything and how we now digest news and stories and movies.
On Tuesday, the company announced that they were making changes to address these criticisms. Rotten Tomatoes will revamp its Critics Criteria to include new and diverse voices who are redefining how we discuss and appraise movies. That means RT will now prioritize individual voices over publications and raise underrepresented groups (chiefly women and people of color) to make up at least 20 percent of their critic base.
In addition, RT will begin to include critic voices who broadcast outside the written word, meaning YouTubers and podcasters who meet the new Critics Criteria will be included in the Tomatometer rating. Though not every podcast bro who talks about movies will be included, it does showcase a more overall and inclusive critical rating of how audiences are receiving movies. The company will also launch a demographics study to identify those who lack the necessary funds to attend film festivals and launch an initiative to help them get there.
Hopefully, all of this will make fans more accepting in digesting criticism of movies. But then again, this is the internet. So probably not.