After making major changes amid backlash over the "big feminist movie" "Captain Marvel," review site Rotten Tomatoes is taking even more steps to block "trolls" from posting negative comments about movies.
"The review aggregator says Thursday that users who have purchased tickets on Fandango will get a verified badge next to their review, beginning with films out this weekend like 'Booksmart' and 'Aladdin,'" the Associated Press reported Thursday. "The verified audience scores will also be displayed on Fandango, which owns Rotten Tomatoes."'
In a statement, the president of Fandango explained that the move was intended to improve consumer confidence in the site's viewer scores. The change follows the site's decision in March to pull the plug on its "Want To See" score and disable the comment function prior to a film's release due to "an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership."
As The Daily Wire reported in February, in apparent response to "Captain Marvel" star Brie Larson (Carol Danvers) deliberately using her platform in promoting the film to push a feminist agenda, a flood of fans began letting Rotten Tomatoes know they no longer had any interest in seeing the film. Ahead of its release, the film's "Want To See" score rapidly plummeted to the 20s, as shown in this screenshot the Daily Wire took before it was pulled from the site:
The film's "Want To See" score woes came after Larson repeatedly turned the film's promotional events into opportunities to push an ideological and political message. Among the comments that created some negative buzz among right-leaning would-be viewers was Larson's statement to Entertainment Tonight that she met with producers about making "Captain Marvel" a "big feminist movie."
In an early February interview with InStyle magazine, Larson described her role in the film as her "biggest and best opportunity" for her particularly "form of activism." "The movie was the biggest and best opportunity I could have ever asked for," she said. "It was, like, my superpower. This could be my form of activism: doing a film that can play all over the world and be in more places than I can be physically."
Larson also told Marie Claire UK that she was taking action against the trend of "overwhelmingly white male" press junkets for her films. "About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male," she said. "So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that. Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses."
After negative comments drove the film's numbers down, Rotten Tomatoes announced a few days after "Captain Marvel" hit theaters that it was dropping the "Want To See" score altogether and "disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date," explaining, "Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership":
As of February 25, we will no longer show the ‘Want to See’ percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period. Why you might ask? We’ve found that the ‘Want to See’ percentage score is often times confused with the ‘Audience Score’ percentage number. (The ‘Audience Score’ percentage, for those who haven’t been following, is the percentage of all users who have rated the movie or TV show positively – that is, given it a star rating of 3.5 or higher – and is only shown once the movie or TV show is released.) ...
What else are we doing? We are disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date. Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.