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Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregator, curating critical analysis and assessments for film and television. Since 1998, Rotten Tomatoes has been accused of diluting critical analysis for its audience and reader-friendly scoring system, which rates media as "fresh" or "rotten." As the site has become more popular, those within the movie industry have accused the site of hurting box office returns.
Rotten Tomatoes was launched by Senh Duong on August 18th, 1998. Duong, who started the site as a hobby, aimed "to create a site where people can get access to reviews from a variety of critics in the U.S." 1998's Your Friends & Neighbors became the first film reviews published on the site, and shortly after its launch it started to attract significant traffic. According to Senh, it received more about 100 reviews on its first day and mentions from USA Today and Netscape.
"I had the idea while searching for reviews of Jackie Chan imports -- Rumble in the Bronx, Supercop, Twin Dragons, and First Strike.
In high school, I started looking at the box office charts every week to see what movies were popular. I also started watching Siskel & Ebert, which obviously had a huge influence on me. When I was started picking a domain name for Rotten Tomatoes, I was gonna call it “Thumbs Up” as a tribute to them, but luckily (for copyright reasons), all variations of the show’s trademarked rating system were taken. I ended up with Rotten Tomatoes because I didn’t think anyone had used it as domain name. And I was right! So I guess the love of Jackie Chan movies and Siskel & Ebert eventually gave birth to Rotten Tomatoes."
By the year 2000, he took the site on full time (shown below, Rotten Tomatoes in 2000)
In 2004, the site was purchased by IGN Entertainment, which was later acquired by Fox Interactive Media in 2005. In 2010, IGN sold Rotten Tomatoes to Flixster, who in turn sold it to Warner Bros. in 2012. Four years later, Warner Bros sold Rotten Tomatoes and Flixter to Fandango.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, the score or "tomatometer" is based on the published reviews of hundreds of film and TV critics. The Rotten Tomatoes staff determines whether the review is positive or negative, denoting the movie a fresh tomato or a rotten tomato, respectively. If the most receives at least 75% positive review from at least 80 critics, including five top critics, the film is considered "certified fresh."
In addition to critics scores, Rotten Tomatoes features audiences scores. These scores are represented by a full popcorn bucket, which means the movie received 3.5 stars or more by Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes users; a tipped over bucket for films that received less than 3.5 stars; and finally a plus sign to denote that no reviews have been given yet.
Rotten Tomatoes also offers reviews and analysis of their own, publishing articles, interviews and other entertainment related content.
Dark Knight Rises Controversy
In July 2012, Rotten Tomatoes suspended user comments due to increased threats against critics who gave the 2012 Batman film The Dark Knight Rises a negative review. At the time the controversy began and reviews were posted, many fans had not even seen the film yet. Rotten Tomatoes editor in chief Matt Atchity made a statment about disabling comments, as well as about another critic, Eric D. Snider, who was banned from Rotten Tomatoes for posting a negative review before seeing the film. Additionally, the link he included did not lead to the one in his profile, it led to his personal site.
Atchity set a few rules about the site for critics and users:
"– If a critic often goes against the majority, but has well-reasoned arguments, it’s unlikely we’re going to ban them, at least not just for having a different opinion. We’re not looking for groupthink here.
– If a critic abuses our trust by linking to something that’s not a review, we will take action up to and including removing them from the Tomatometer. If a critic doesn’t take their reputation seriously, then neither will we.
– We’ll ban you for threats and hate speech -- we’re trying to have fun here, so (to quote Wil Wheaton) don’t be a dick. And don’t try and argue about your right to free speech -- this is a business, and we have the right to refuse service to anyone we feel like.
Rotten Tomatoes Ruins In Hollywood
On September 7th, 2017, The New York Times published an article about Rotten Tomatoes, stating that Hollywood executives were accusing the site of hurting their summer box office. Both studio executives and filmmakers were alleging that by breaking the site into "fresh" and "rotten" hurts films that might be flawed but not deserving of being written off due to a bad score. The Times reported that a studio executive "declared flatly that his mission was to destroy the review-aggregation site."
One month later, on October 10th, Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese wrote about Rotten Tomatoes in an op-ed for the Hollywood Reporter. Much like the Times article, Scrosese claims that Rotten Tomatoes has "outsized" influence and removes nuance from film criticism. He wrote:
"These firms and aggregators have set a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers -- even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting. And as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene, it seems like there are more and more voices out there engaged in pure judgmentalism, people who seem to take pleasure in seeing films and filmmakers rejected, dismissed and in some cases ripped to shreds."
On February 4th, 2009, Rotten Tomatoes launched their official Twitter page. Within eight years, the page has received more than 1.9 million followers.
As of October 2017, Rotten Tomatoes global rank is 399 and its United States rank is 145. In September 2017, the site garnered more than 76 million visitors.
 Rotten Tomatoes – THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -- THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS
 The Hollywood Reporter – Martin Scorsese on Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Obsession and Why 'Mother!' Was Misjudged
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