How a Film PR Firm Tried to Game Rotten Tomatoes Scores and What It Means for Movie Ratings

The Bunker 15 Controversy: Questioning the Integrity of Film Reviews

Film enthusiasts and industry professionals alike have long turned to Rotten Tomatoes for aggregated film reviews. Becoming “Certified Fresh” on this platform can significantly influence a movie’s success, emphasizing the weight these scores hold. However, a recent scandal involving a film PR company has raised eyebrows and brought the integrity of these reviews into question.

Unearthing Bunker 15’s Manipulative Play

Back in 2018, the reimagined Shakespearean drama Ophelia graced the silver screens, only to be met with a disappointing 40% score on Rotten Tomatoes. But the film’s PR company, Bunker 15, wasn’t ready to accept this rating lying down. Desperate for positive attention, they turned to critics, hoping to shift the scales in their favor. As the ratings began to climb, suspicious activity emerged. As one critic revealed, Bunker 15’s plan was to diversify the input for Ophelia, with some critics allegedly receiving compensation for their reviews. This strategy seemed to bear fruit as the film’s rating shot up to a more respectable 62%.

One of Bunker 15’s audacious tactics involved lobbying critics who initially gave unfavorable reviews. A representative from the PR firm reportedly stated, “I do know the editors at Rotten Tomatoes and can get it switched,” urging them to at least give a marginal thumbs up. Their tactics seemed to pay off as Ophelia eventually secured a U.S. distribution deal with IFC Films.

Rotten Tomatoes Fights Back

The integrity of a review platform is its most valuable asset, and Rotten Tomatoes was quick to defend its reputation. Upon identifying the questionable reviews, they promptly removed them from their platform. Their stance on the matter was unambiguous, with a spokesperson stating: “We take the integrity of our scores seriously and do not tolerate any attempts to manipulate them.”

Reflecting on the Power of Rotten Tomatoes

The Bunker 15 incident underscores the significant impact Rotten Tomatoes scores can have on a film’s fate. While the site continues to be a go-to source for film enthusiasts worldwide, it’s essential to acknowledge its inherent flaws. Lower-profile reviewers still influence the critic score, potentially paving the way for further manipulations. However, given its dominance in the review sphere, Rotten Tomatoes isn’t likely to fade into obscurity anytime soon.

In conclusion, while platforms like Rotten Tomatoes offer valuable insights into film quality, it’s essential for readers to critically engage with these scores, understanding the nuances and potential biases they might contain. As the Ophelia scandal demonstrates, sometimes there’s more to a score than meets the eye.