Prequel Trilogy,  Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith’s Rotten Tomatoes audience score has apparently been skewed by bots

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From Screen Rant:

“There’s something wrong with the Rotten Tomatoes score for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The third movie in George Lucas’ divisive prequel trilogy, Revenge of the Sith is widely regarded as the best of the three for how it maturely brought the then-six movie saga to a close. However, if you went to popular review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes to see how audiences have rated the film, you’ll be getting skewed results.

At present, Revenge of the Sith sits on a 79% Tomatometer score and a 65% user rating, marking it out as the most liked of the prequel trilogy by critics and audiences alike. However, while that critic percentage has been pretty static over the past 14 years, there’s something seriously off with its audience score; that 65% is calculated from votes by 33,682,429 users. In comparison, since their respective releases, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has 229,322 audience votes and Star Wars: The Last Jedi only 204,091. Box Office Mojo estimates that Episode III sold 59,324,600 tickets domestically, meaning over 50% of the moviegoing public voted on this movie, compared to 0.3% of The Last Jedi‘s.

Delving into the past of Rotten Tomatoes using the Wayback Machine, a website that stores snapshots of internets past, provides one solution. In 2010Revenge of the Sith‘s audience score was a healthy 85%, a number it had been circling since release five years in 2005. Then, in October 2010, that number shot down 21 points to just 64%. At first, nothing seemed off, with the site citing this number was calculated by 198,824 votes. However, by May 2011, it read 32,050,182 votes for the film, an increase of almost 32 million. This number leaps up to near its current total by 1.5 million in October 2012, when the score settled out at 65% – which it remains at until this day.

While the percentage dropped before the mass influx of votes appeared on the site, it must be noted that the number votes Rotten Tomatoes cited didn’t change at all until the 32 million increase. There’s a similar lag present across past pages on the Wayback Machine, suggesting that the score and number of votes counted aren’t updated with the same frequency by the source site.

It would thus appear that the Revenge of the Sith score only dropped from 85% to 64% after a 160,000% increase in votes. It’s unclear what’s happened here, but the obvious suggestion would be that bots spammed the page to bring the score down. […]”

0 Comments

  • Artiom

    i wonder who could have done this? Is Rotten Tomatoes going to do something about this? I hope there will be updates on this article

  • Cryogenic

    I really shouldn’t, but I’ll go for the “low-hanging fruit” response to this news item:

    Fascinating that ROTS’s audience score has had something funny happen to it, in the negative, and that it looks to be the work of bots, when…

    Disney (and simple-minded Disney fans) were *all about* how their beloved TLJ was being brought low and horribly besmirched by Alt-Right troll attacks in concert with Russian bots on the same website.

    Thank the Force for the Wayback Machine. It’s an archiving resource with immense utility. And it really shines a light on how superficial, commercial, gameable, and crooked the Rotten Tomatoes ranking system actually is.

    If RT were a better website, it might seek to employ its own archival system, and also see to it that critics reviews and audience responses are “locked in” after one year — with subsequent years of ratings/rankings clearly indicated as such.

    A bit of science, mathematics, and critical thought always puts things into deeper perspective — and there is always treasure to be found in pulling back and taking a wider view. “If in doubt, zoom out.”

    • archdukeofnaboo

      I find it striking they chose only to go after Episode III. Someone sure was jealous of the acclaim the film got. And 6-7 years after the film came out too, can one get any pettier?

  • Marshall

    Another reason not to put your trust in Rotten Tomaotes. At this rate nobody should care what critics think anymore because these critics have rotten taste. The days of Roger Ebert are over.

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