“On the widely-tracked Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, both the critics’ “Tomatometer” score and the audience score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been ticking downward in the weeks since the film first released.
There’s nothing unusual about that; many studio tent-pole movies receive high scores during the initial flush of fan enthusiasm, and then more sober-minded assessments from the wider audience roll in and cause the scores to drop.
But there are two things that are highly unusual about The Last Jedi’s scores.
The first is that the audience score, now at 49 percent, is truly bad. That’s by far the lowest audience score ever given to a live action Star Wars movie, 14 percent lower than the 57 score of the next most disliked Star Wars film, the 2002 Hayden Christiansen-starring prequel Attack of the Clones. A great many people—hardcore fans, casual fans, and non-fans alike—consider The Last Jedi to be a terribly disappointing movie.
The second unusual thing is the huge gap between the 90 percent Tomatometer rating and that 49 percent audience score. That’s the widest gap for any Star Wars picture by a big margin.
With regard to that very low audience score, quite a few conspiracy theorists ignored the overwhelming evidence that many moviegoers disliked the film, and circulated accusations of organized vote campaigns designed to drive down the film’s scores, despite the absence of any credible evidence to support this notion.
In late December I spoke with a Rotten Tomatoes representative named Dana Benson who assured me that the company works assiduously to prevent such manipulation and goes to great lengths to verify their ratings’ accuracy and authenticity. “We have several teams of security, network, and social database experts who constantly monitor reviews and ratings to ensure that they are genuine,” Benson told me. “They haven’t seen anything unusual with The Last Jedi, except that there has been an uptick in the number of written user reviews submitted.” […]”