“I really loved the movie and I’m so proud of what we did, but there wasn’t a demand for it [at the box office] and to think that there’d be a demand for a seventh film is quite insane. You should just pay attention to what audiences want – and they want new things and I want new things.
The problem with quotes like this are context. We must assume Mackenzie means another Dark Fate Terminator film.
Totally agree with Mackenzie that few moviegoers wants to see part 2 and 3 of the intended trilogy surrounding the Dark Fate timeline with a bloated budget in the theaters. If that’s what she meant and only that, my headline is false and should read: I agree.
But she said a “seventh film.”
Mark my words, there will be another Terminator film someday. I don’t think that should be any time soon. In fact, if the IP were mine I’d recommend something along the Sarah Connor Chronicles route: a series on one of the streaming services to repair the franchise (think The Mandalorian and Star Wars). And it shouldn’t under any shape or form deal with the Dark Fate timeline.
The Terminator world is worth revisiting given a good story. I don’t think Tim Miller should have anything to do with it and, unless he’s taking the director’s chair, neither should James Cameron. Too bad, because Terminator should be Cameron’s baby, but after Dark Fate his street cred with the franchise is suspect at best.
When James Cameron gets done working on the multiple Avatar sequels if he announces he is going to write and direct a true Terminator 3, the one we thought we were getting with Dark Fate, yes, I’d be at least somewhat interested. Would you?
Not lobbying for this to happen, just saying that too many bad sequels can spoil a franchise and there’s little arguing that Terminator now has franchise fatigue. That fatigue doesn’t last forever, nor should it.
For awhile Halloween was considered sequel-d out. Friday the 13th is another one that people have said: too many sequels. What they’re really saying, what they truly mean, is no more bad sequels. Diehard? Too many sequels? When Jurassic Park started sucking, they waited and went with Jurassic World.
The way these streaming channels right now are everywhere hungry for content, Terminator is worthy of considering for some kind of project, just please no Dark Fate timeline.
Agree/disagree? Do you never want to see another Terminator movie or TV show?
Unfortunately, I must disagree with her assessment of today’s audience (emphasis mine below), but very much agree with her on big budget movies (emphasis also mine) being high risk:
“I would really appreciate maybe a smaller version where so many millions are not at stake. Today’s audience is just so unpredictable,” Hamilton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I can’t tell you how many laymen just go, ‘Well, people don’t go to the movies anymore.’ It should definitely not be such a high-risk financial venture, but I would be quite happy to never return. So, no, I am not hopeful because I would really love to be done.”
So much to talk about in these bolded quotes, so let’s tackle them one at a time.
Today’s audience is just so (NOT!) unpredictable
Blaming the audience for the reason a movie doesn’t do well isn’t a very sound career move. Linda Hamilton is well past those concerns and I don’t think she meant in her comment to be blaming the audience, but it came off that way to me. It’s like standing at the door of your business and telling customers not to enter your store.
The film business isn’t rocket science.
If you make a great movie on a reasonable budget, you have a better than good chance of turning a profit at the box office. I would say financial unpredictability arises when the film budget is too high, see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid
Why did audiences need Dark Fate? We didn’t, because we had the originals that were far superior. This is coming from a fan of the franchise, not somebody who wanted to see the film underperform. We provided more lead-up coverage for Dark Fate on this blog than any other movie to date. Just do a search for terminator and you’ll see how much I wanted to see this movie succeed.
And let’s be clear: making over $250 million at the box office is not a failure or a “bomb” or any of the other headline clickbait slams. Audience interest was there, but when your budget is too high, filmmakers, that isn’t on us, that’s on you.
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to me, nor many of the 1,200+ movie bloggers I’m following. But are people becoming apathetic to the theater experience? Yes, many are.
Movie theater audiences have been declining, unfortunately, but I think the numbers could flatten, especially with more promotion of unlimited passes and better movies released throughout the entire year and creative business moves, see: Yes, More Perks and Quirks to Entice Moviegoers Please.
People aren’t going to go watch a bunch of bad movies. Honestly, if we gauged January 2020 movies there is little incentive by and large to go see movies like these. January is a well known terrible month for studios to dump on audiences and this year clearly is no exception.
From a business perspective this is just stupid. What if McDonalds chose to sell food of a lesser quality in January, would that make sense? But for some reason, Hollywood studios think it’s OK to shovel lesser quality film on moviegoers every January. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
So what if a movie has a less chance of winning a gold statue. A wise friend of mine used to say, “you can’t eat plaques, pins and awards.” Alas, the movie business is letting down its customers 1/12th of the business season.
If you just fail to try and change business trends, you accept the dying process.
It should definitely not be such a high-risk financial venture
Let’s end on a more positive note. This is the one part of what Linda Hamilton said that makes the most sense. Movies don’t have to be high risk financially. I’d like to see a move back to more financially responsible, lower budget, CREATIVE films. Stop making so damn many reboots and sequels and rehashes. Focus on adapting great novels that never have been adapted and fresh, original, inventive screenplays.
I refuse to believe the problem is with the creative content available, it’s the choices being made by the studios to finance and produce movies they think we want. We don’t need another Spider-man movie, and I’m not saying that because I dislike Spider-Man, but give us movies about Harley Quinn, The Joker, etc. Those are less trodden paths.
Why does it take millions to make good movies in 2020? It shouldn’t. Syfy did pretty well with some crazy, creative movies like Sharkanado. Blumhouse has been banking it with some of their lower budget genre horror films based on older properties. So, there are some studios thinking out of the box. Need more to follow the lead of the smaller guys.
All the talk about flops at the box office and yet Dark Fate has now surpassed $260 million worldwide. If you add the physical media, rentals and streaming money in the future it’s very possible this movie, that was predicted by some to lose as much as $150 million, has an outside chance of breaking even. Turn a profit? Unlikely, but read on.
Although I have no direct knowledge, I’ve read that the advertising and promotional costs are often rough calculated by doubling the budget. Let’s assume that’s factual and $185 million was spent on advertising. That’s a $370 million actual budget, meaning as of this post (12/19/19) they are roughly $90 million in the red.
I also don’t know how much money can be made in the physical media market as well as licensing to third party streaming channels in 2020. Will it be $90 million? Doubtful, but maybe $25-50 million. I don’t know if that will make this film end up qualifying as a flop? Box office flop? I suppose, but the film may still end up close to black, depending on how lucrative the streaming and physical media money waiting.
It’s just barely still hanging onto a theater presence domestically, so you can pretty much close the book on it here in the states, however, it is far from the mega bust it was promoted as everywhere. At least from the amount of money it generated.
Films don’t need to be good to make money. That has been proven time and again. Still, I would never have guessed this film would go onto gross nearly $200 million internationally. I know that Genisys did well overseas, but still.
Here are the other Terminator films in the franchise for review and comparison:
What does this all mean? Maybe another Terminator movie isn’t as far-fetched as many predicted.
I still say the most likely next move for the franchise is to go The Mandalorian path and create another live action TV series. Yes, they already had The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but there would be fan interest in reviving/rebooting or continuing that series or starting another in the Terminator world. They left that series unresolved, so it’s possible.
Despite my disappointment — and this was probably the film that most disappointed me of all in the series (I didn’t expect much from Genisys or Salvation) — I’m still interested in the franchise not being terminated. I just feel like there are some good stories still to tell in this universe.
Miller seems confused by what most people disliked about the movie he worked so hard on: Terminator: Dark Fate⭐️⭐️½
Let me throw you a bone, Mr. Miller.
It was marketed as T3, the first Cameron-sanctioned and produced sequel to T2, when it was actually a soft reboot of T1 & T2. And then we get two new female characters that we didn’t want or need when we already had one awesome strong character — Sarah Connor — to put front and center.
Moviegoers were tired of crappy sequels to T2 and you just coughed up another one. That’s what upset fans and, sorry to disagree, but yes, you could control that. Next time, deliver to moviegoers what you promised.
As for being mad at Terminator: Genisys?
Cinemablend gaveTerminator: Genisys 3D a solid 33/35 rating. While shopping at Big Lots recently, I bought the Blu-ray for a whopping $5. Sure, I’ll bite. I don’t collect much physical media any more, but since we have a 3D TV (they don’t make many of those any more), I’m still collecting 3D Blu-ray movies to go along with it. I tried rewatching this in 3D and had to eject about 30 minutes in. Sigh.
This much I’ll credit Cameron and Miller. Genisys is undeniably worse than Dark Fate.
I’m a huge Terminator fan, but feel burned by the last three films (Salvation, Genisys and now Dark Fate). I was less disappointed in Rise of the Machines, but need to rewatch that to truly compare if I feel better about that than Dark Fate. Maybe after watching both on the streaming circuit, I’ll give Dark Fate the nod for the third best film in the franchise. Can’t say right now because it’s been too long since last watched Rise of the Machines.
I’m not separating the reviews by recommended or not, just lumping all together as I found in my reader. The numbering doesn’t mean anything as far as priority or ranking, it’s just there to count of the number of reviews shared.
licoricerub: “The Terminator franchise has officially been milked to death, so on the one hand, Terminator: Dark Fate is a film that no one asked for and not enough people went to see based on its box-office performance, but on the other hand, Terminator: Dark Fate is a solid film with engaging characters and a handful of exciting action scenes.”
Edd’s Reviews: “… feels like a worthy sequel to T2 and the only vital film in the franchise for decades. If you can look beyond the polarising plot twist and franchise fatigue you will see a cleverly thought out film that more than justifies it’s existence.”
Screen Waffle (4/5): “… by no means the best film in the series, but it’s still very much worth watching. The film is visually a spectacle, the action and fighting is so overindulgent, excessive and sometimes cliché, you can’t help but love it.”
Not BAMF: “It’s one of those Empty Calorie movies. I totally enjoyed it while I was watching it! But ultimately, it added no value going forward to my life.”
The Film Meister (3/5 stars): “…much better than expected and at its height, is very entertaining. The film is bolstered by its strong performances and Miller has markedly matured as a filmmaker.”
Menkaure IX / 9takes (4/10): “It’s only Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger that do leave a mark, but then again, they already did a better job 35 years ago. “To be honest,” said Linda Hamilton to Total Film (October 2019, p.58), “I always felt like the story was complete after T2.” Four attempts later, we feel the same way, Linda. We’ve been bamboozled.”
Reel Entropy (4/10): “It undoes the efforts of Judgment Day in a way that retroactively casts its themes in a different light. It’s not a better movie than its peers, but it brings a catharsis to the franchise that nothing else has.”
Discursive Anamolies: “Those expecting a traditional escapade of explosions and excitement get their fill, with some room to spare.”
stuartgrayuk: “…this was a genuinely fresh and interesting take on a well established story.” (ed. interesting thoughts on A.I as well)
Jerome’s Reviews (5/10): “Not noticing that the writing feels incredibly outdated, if you want a mindless and stupid action movie then I guess this is a pretty okay choice.”
Erik Bhatnagar: “…while it might not be the best that the franchise has to offer by a long shot, Terminator: Dark Fate is the first of the franchise in some time that seems worthy to follow the first two films, even if it is still “lesser” than those two.”
Fox on Film: “…exposition and script are kept to a minimum as all the money was saved to be spent on the action sequences that are so close together that they almost overlap. No time for boredom here just strap in and watch the gunfire, the explosions and car chases and varied aircraft rides and mucho nonsense.”
fangirlish: “…the best Terminator movie since T2. We’d definitely give it a solid four out of five stars. It’s not a perfect movie and it certainly contains flaws within the story. But, it’s a solid sequel to the second film.”
Jeremy Winslow: “…it’s absolutely unoriginal; however, the movie’s greatest sin is its excessive use of nostalgia as a crutch to carry it for 134 bland ass minutes.”
Cameron’s Blog: “…has some great scenes featuring stellar performances and some good action in it. I knew going in that it was just going to be the same thing as before though there are still quite a few things that I didn’t like.”
Jason’s Movie Blog (4.2/5): “…stands a returning to the franchise’s former glory; showcasing that an exciting action feature that proves that there is still some cinematic life within this franchise.”
Mike’s Movie Reviews (7/10): “I wasn’t expecting much but I have to admit I was quite surprised with the outcome, the action scenes were great, Linda and Arnie back together again worked well and the story was good.”
Bob: “What a pity that this fine film is dying at the box office. It has a surprising dramatic force that most of you will find quite entertaining.”
dunmailwillriseagain (2.5/5): “…still struggles to justify its existence with a tired plot, a disappointing return from Linda Hamilton and uninspired new characters, all highlighting why this franchise is dead and should never have continued past the second film.”
If you have not seen Terminator: Dark Fate ⭐️⭐️½ and somehow still want to, then you’ll want to avoid reading this post and/or watching any of the embedded videos.
SPOILER ALERT — you’ve been warned…
…instead of a being a sure-fire hit, the sixth installment of the Arnold Schwarzenegger franchise is, well, being terminated at the box office. Unless the film holds more strongly than expected in coming weeks, box office experts said that the investing studio partners Paramount, Skydance, 20th Century Fox and Tencent should expect to take a big loss on the theatrical release — between $70 million to as much as $100 million.
After seeing Dark Fate, it’s no surprise to me why people are turning their noses up at this one. The film burns up the stories of the iconic first two films (by killing off John Connor in the first five minutes) and then takes a piss on the ashes by systematically retelling the stories with weaker characters.
Because equality matters in this day and age, female fans are just as upset as male ones, watch and listen what MechaRandom42 has to say:
Many, many fans are remarking just how unbelievable Dani Ramos is as the future warrior that John Connor was in a 5’1 frame. Nevermind that the movie after John Connor is terminated, is in Mexico, with subtitles required. Then there is the nonsense surrounding Mackenzie Davis as a hybrid human-machine as a protector who needs to refuel by stealing a bunch of pharmaceutical supplies and being iced to prevent overheating. Then you have the beloved T-800 reduced to a domestic role with a job installing drapery.
Perhaps the greatest dramatic sin committed by Dark Fate is the loss of a human relations story. T1 had a romance with Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor. T2 was all about the T-800 bonding with John Connor. Where is the love, the emotion of Dark Fate? It’s just … dark … fate. Not even Arnold gets to have sex as a T-800 with his domestic family. It is a love borne of him as provider, not any physical intimacy. The most screen time goes to the women who don’t even seem to acknowledge that men are of any interest? I can understand Sarah Connor roaming the world in the future companionless, but what’s wrong with the other two women? Bizarre.
But, some of you that might have made it this far, what if I liked it? Great!
I’m a protector of other people’s opinions on what films mean to them. You can love something others dislike and vice versa. That is a exciting part of what makes movie watching fun. Everybody is different and your opinion is yours and don’t let me or anybody else ever take it away from you. I like movies I know well that others dislike and vice versa.
So, if you like Terminator: Dark Fate, it’s all good. Maybe there will be enough of you out there to encourage this franchise to continue. Me? I think it’s done on the big screen … for awhile. If the film loses hundreds of millions of dollars, that creates a bite to the bark that does not invite the hand of financing.
I would be curious to follow Terminator continued on one of the many streaming options (don’t laugh, that is a more real possibility than it sounds). I mean, Disney+, Amazon … those are some deep, deep, deep pockets and they will want original content.
“I’ll be back,” – Famous quote. Will it be?
So, it’s entirely possible we’ll see Terminator be back. My guess is it will be on the streaming channels.
Other Blogger Reviews
All that said, let’s get to reviews that cover both spectrums: some recommend, some don’t. A balance of both reviews are included. We’ll start with the pro, and finish with the con.
Breach: “If you are a Terminator fan and you specifically missed the story of Sarah Connor, the T-800 and John Connor, I think you will enjoy this movie “
Mark’s Movie Reviews: “I have never been a huge Terminator fan, but I liked the new “Terminator: Dark Fate”.”
John Scalzi (friend of director Tim Miller): “Six films (and one television series) in, it’s worth it to ask whether the world needed yet another stab at the Terminator mythos. My response is: in this case, yes”
The Nerds Uncanny: “But leaving the theater after Dark Fate, I can honestly say it was the first time I’ve left a Terminator sequel happy about what I just saw.”
Critical Hit: “…thanks to thrilling action, surprising heart, and a superb turn from the cast – both young and old – Dark Fate ends up a very solid sci-fi action thriller. Heck, I would even call it good.”
Mr. Movie Film Blog: “I’m keen to see where this goes. Dark Fate is the third-best Terminator flick, which is a bit of a backhanded compliment, but it’s the first in a long while to wrestle the franchise into a position where future films actually seem like a good idea “
Moving Pictures Film: “Overall, Terminator: Dark Fate is neither a home-run or a catastrophic failure”
Full Circle Cinema: “…stumbles at some important moments, but gives us what we’ve wanted- a Terminator movie with good characters and neat action that feels like a worthy successor to what James Cameron built.”
Martin / The Film Tower: ” It will not revolutionize the genre, but Terminator: Dark Fate’s relentless action is entertaining, and seeing the three women take on a formidable enemy was as fun as it was satisfying”
Movie Metropolis: ” indeed the best sequel since T2. This is a film that successfully reboots a franchise that had been flagging for decades and is one of the year’s best action flicks “
Nazamel Tabares: “Putting new faces to a familiar story, giving it a modern look and a deadlier villain makes it more interesting”
Not Recommended or On The Fence
The Knee Jerk Reaction: “…just shut that shit down. This constant repetition is getting tedious and desperate.”
Society Reviews (headline): “…An Unoriginal, Hostile Takeover of The Franchise”
Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys): “… as an overall experience, Dark Fate is forgettable and incessantly bland new addition to a property that is finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant.”
At The Foothills of Madness: “If there’s ever going to be another (judging by the projected opening weekend grosses, that might be a tall order), there really needs to be a major shakeup in both direction and content,”
Matthew Epperly Film Reviews: “Although it is definitely an improvement on the two movies that came immediately prior, Terminator: Dark Fate left me with conflicting feelings.”
Eric Reitz: “It’s biggest fault isn’t that it is a cookie cutter Terminator movie, it’s that it had ideas that could have been something special if they were brave enough to follow through with them “
Tamale Movie Reviews: “The only future director Tim Miller’s “Dark Fate” predicts is one of middling “Terminator” storylines that not even a game-ready Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton—nor stylish action sequences—can save.”
Jordan Barnes: “…it’s probably time to pull the plug on this chugging, barely functional machine “
Bookshelf Battle: “IMO, didn’t totally suck. It doesn’t deserve a spot next to the first two, but among the Overall, Terminator: Dark Fate is neither a home-run or a catastrophic failure list of garbage sequels, it is the least trashy.”
Reviewers of the Lost Art: “It was not great, nor that good, but it was managed to be entertaining enough. It passed the test in most fields but notably failed in others”
Stan The Movie Man: “The thing that bothers me the most about the film is the utter lack of logic. “
At least two major technologies in Terminator ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (1984) are not going to be happening any time soon. Neither in my lifetime, and probably not in any human being’s lifetime living on the planet in 2019. Yes, I’m saying we’re at least 110+ years away from either of these two technologies being even semi-realized.
First up: time travel. Forget about it. Really just forget it.
We’re not sending anybody back in time to kill anybody. Not machines or man. Sarah Connor has nothing to worry about in any future lifetime. Not even inanimate objects are going back in time.
Time travel into the future will likely happen first (we can actually travel a few seconds into the future now, but that is more a side effect speed issue than travel in some sort of machine, sorry Bill & Ted), but again, most likely not significant future time travel won’t happen any time soon.
100 years from now? We’ll be extremely lucky to figure out how to travel significantly faster in space.
1000 years? If we haven’t killed off the planet through famine, stupidity and/or war with each other by then, still doubtful.
10,000 years? Time travel into the future, I’d accept might be possible by then, but, still, nobody is traveling back in time to change anything.
Think about it. If anybody could travel back in time from the future then they would already have been here, right? It is the major paradox of time travel.
So, scratch one off the list of James Cameron’s terrible visions of the future. Time travel is a technology maybe the human race will see someday, but almost certainly not in any reasonable future timeline and, again, it will be future travel only, not into the past.
Next up? Artificial intelligence (A.I).
“They paint a picture which is really not coherent with the current understanding of how AI systems are built today and in the foreseeable future,” says Prof Bengio, who is sometimes called one of the “godfathers of AI” for his work on deep learning in the 1990s and 2000s.
A.I. robots that can fully emulate human behavior? There might be some sophisticated human programmed sex dolls/bots that will be damn good at having sex, but they will be extremely mechanical. The adult industry gets the toys first, so any sort of human-like robots will be sex bots first. That’s what I’d bet the farm on. Military application? Yeah, that’s a possibility too, but sex will be first.
There will be cars that can drive themselves, heck, those exist now.
The artificial intelligence presented in Terminator 1984, however, is very much science fiction today in 2019. The reality is it will still mostly be fiction 35 more years from now in 2054.
We’ll have more advancements in A.I that allow for robots to do more than they do now, but just the muscle memory in a human being to walk up and down stairs, carrying any sort of item(s), opening and closing doors, bending,, lifting, crawling … yeah, these actions are take tons of programmed computer instructions to accomplish these “basic” human motor-skill tasks. And to carry these actions out with a human or better level of artificial intelligence?
2054. That’s 35 years from now.
The mortality tables are telling me I’ll be at/past the age and might be dead in 2054, but people in my family live long lives, so knocking on wood that I can revisit these words in 2054 and see what things are really like from a technology perspective.
Will this blog exist in 35 years? That alone is against the odds. Heck, how many blogs don’t make it 35 day or 35 weeks or 35 months, never mind 35 years.
I haven’t done anything in my life for 35 years. Haven’t worked at the same job, haven’t lived at the same house (although close to that), haven’t even been married 35 years yet (really close to that one, though), so having this blog still operating in 35 years is unlikely at this point, but maybe I’ll have some other type of place to share my thoughts and can return to the Terminator 1984 movie and see what tech is like 70 years after Cameron’s original vision in 2054.
I’m a huge fan of 3D when used in amazing films like Avatar. Terminator: Dark Fate is the type of action film that has the potential to be very effective in 3D. Unfortunately, 3D isn’t as widespread as it was because too many movies haven’t used it well enough to create moviegoer confidence in paying a surchage to see a movie in 3D.
No problem for us paying the extra few dollars, if the movie uses 3D effectively. It doesn’t look like, unfortunately, that Terminator: Dark Fate will be available in 3D at opening (see picture above). Maybe it will be re-released if it does well in 3D?
If it isn’t released in 3D this is a missed opportunity.
T2 Judgment Day was digitally remastered and re-released in 3D on August 25, 2017. This blog post covers the 3D version of T2 in our ongoing countdown to Terminator: Dark Fate.
Thought it would be interesting to cover other movies by Arnold Schwarzenegger (T-800), Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) and Edward Furlong (John Connor). Film titles that I haven’t seen are bolded, If I’ve rated and reviewer there will be a star rating, just click the title to read, as always.
Movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger
The following list of films excludes cameo appearances and television. For a complete filmography, visit WikIpedia. The list of films has been separated by action (I’ve seen most all of these movies), comedy, documentaries and other. Arnold has expanded into some dramas and other genres a few times.
Hercules in New York
Conan The Barbarian – saw this long time ago (I think!)
Overview: I’ve seen the most Arnold Schwarzenegger movies including most of his action films and least featuring Edward Furlong (seems like a lot of movies he’s been in that I’ve never heard about).
Interesting seeing that Linda Hamilton has continued to act in some movies. I had this impression that she hadn’t been in any movies since the late 90s and that James Cameron helped coax her back into the business with Dark Fate.
Terminator: Dark Fate hits the US theaters in 5 days … Halloween 2019!
Every day for the next 8 days leading up to the opening of Terminator: Dark Fate, assuming there has been a change in the total number of reviews, I’m going to take a screenshot of the tomatometer film critics review score and display in this blog, with the most recent at the top, and older screencaps pushing downward in the post.
I wish that Rotten Tomatoes would provide this incoming data as a line graph, showing how a relatively small number of critics can wildly adjust a film’s score in the early stages.
This film is fluctuating with updates between a low of 56% (rotten) and high of 61% (fresh) after the first 35 film critic reviews have posted.
Some people undoubtedly are using this score to determine whether or not they want to see the film. We don’t, because often our moviegoer opinion does not agree with the rather small collective of film critics and, more importantly, we want to judge for ourselves. Some major wide release films have less than 100 film critic reviews.
Note: that the very first time the score for Dark Fate appeared on the site it was based on merely 28 film critics’ opinions. And it was only 2% away from being deemed “rotten” by the site’s only measure.
So, anybody just stopping by randomly at the site might think, “Hmm, Terminator: Dark Fate must be another so-so Terminator sequel.” (which it might, in fact, be) Will the person realize she/he is only looking at 28 critics opinions? Sure, some of these critics are from well known, respected publications. But do these 28 people really have that much influence?
Why do this?
I’m curious to display how the reviews come in and the overall scores rise and fall for a movie with high anticipation from moviegoers like me.
How The Tomatometer System Works
The Tomatometer score is based on the number of reviews received and whether or not it the review is positive (fresh) or negative (rotten). This scoring system is explained in detail here:
Oddly enough, the score is not as it appears to be to casual viewers: a % rating of how good the film is/isn’t. I’ve erroneously thought that before myself. Easy mistake to make, but there is a major distinction between the two.
61% in school would be a grade of F. But what that rating is saying is a little more than half of the critics sampled in the data reviewed the film positively. Of those reviewers, we really don’t know what their areas of expertise are, personal biases, etc. You’d have to drill down on each review to understand that.
Take a look at the early breakdown for Terminator: Dark Fate. And keep in mind this is very, very early. They just started posting reviews 10/22/2019:
How To Become A Rotten Tomatoes Approved Film Critic
Would you like to be a film critic?
Rotten Tomatoes also shares the application and eligibility requirements for a film critic to be approved. A movie reviewer like me at a single website could be approved after “consistent output” for at least two years, but only after meeting their single website, self-published review requirements:
I didn’t start writing and sharing reviews until August 2019, so will not be eligible for application consideration until at least August 2021, assuming my heart is still beating, the reviews continue to consistently flow in and the desire to apply is there at this future date. They accept applications only twice per year (March and September).
Since Rotten Tomatoes is considered to be the #1 source for quality, I do see value in having my voice added to their collective someday, maybe, possibly, should I meet the critera. I don’t consider myself to be a professional film critic at this young stage in my development, rather a very passionate moviegoer sharing his opinion (sometimes with my wife too, which makes up the “us” in the domain name), but it is possible I’ll learn to improve and refine the craft enough to be a viable candidate in the process.
Review Volume Volatility
The fewer the number of reviews, the more volatile the tomatometer score will be. The screenshots prove this out, in that a single review early on moved 2% from certified fresh (61%) to rotten (59%). One film critic review, one critic’s opinion very early in the overall volume of reviews.
In fact, the review score can appear on Rotten Tomatoes with only *6* film critics. That is the threshold before the site can start publishing the overall score.
It is not uncommon for the numbers to show fluctuating different numbers between the critics and audience reviews. I don’t keep track of how often we’ve disagreed with the aggregate, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between 25-50% of the time. It would be interesting to start tracking this someday.
The interesting thing to also compare is critic reviews vs. audience reviews. There are way, way more audience reviews for films generating a % based off the assigned star rating. You would think that the more audience numbers that come in, the % of audience reviews would be more similar to film critics, but that appears frequently not to be the case.
It might be more useful if Rotten Tomatoes waited to post their score until they’ve reached at least 100 film critics reviews. Or at least provide some sort of disclaimer that indicates the number of critics is less than 100 (the information is there, however, if you click around and study the criteria).
To start with the very first score having only 28 film critics, is a rounding error at best, when determining whether or not a film is truly representative of good (“fresh”) or bad “rotten” but I realize it is in their website’s interest to have these advance reviews appear in advance and there might not be 100 reviewers in their system that have submitted reviews before the movie opens.
For the average moviegoer (which admittedly, I’m not), this score is providing an initial level of interest in seeing a film that is skewed in favor of advance critics opinions. It’s a metric that can positively or negatively impact how many moviegoers attend a given movie.