Why So Many Major Movies Lose Their Fresh Rating On Rotten Tomatoes

Why So Many Major Movies Lose Their Fresh Rating On Rotten Tomatoes


F9 is the latest major movie to lose its Rotten Tomatoes fresh rating. Here’s why it happens, and why it proves that Rotten Tomatoes has issues.

F9 lost its fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s far from the only major movie to lose its high rating recently. Over the last year, several other tent pole films saw their high scores begin to take a dip. Despite pleasing a majority of critics upon their initial release, the pace at which Rotten Tomatoes allows its critic ratings to be posted results in “certified fresh” films losing the title and the clout that goes along with it.

Upon its release back in late 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 managed to score an impressive 88% on the Tomatometer. This was enough to name the film “certified fresh” and encouraged more people to check out its simultaneous release in theaters and through HBO Max. However, within less than a month of its release, WW84‘s Rotten Tomatoes rating changed dramatically, plummeting to a mere 63% and losing it the “certified fresh” designation. The same thing happened with Joker‘s Rotten Tomatoes score back in 2019; the film started out strong with an 86% fresh rating and then fluctuated repeatedly over several months only to settle in at 69%.

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Related: Joker Proves Rotten Tomatoes is Biased Toward Mediocre Movies

The latest victim of the Rotten Tomatoes broken system is F9 in late June 2021, which opened to an initial 67% fresh rating before diving down to 59%. While it’s unlikely that this rebuff from critics will deter audience members from flocking to the popular movie, its low Rotten Tomatoes score definitely highlights the problems that the aggregate website faces with the rating system.

Joker Rotten Tomatoes

One of the biggest culprits behind these popular movies losing their Rotten Tomatoes ratings is the process by which critic reviews are boiled down either being “for” or “against” a film. In order to be fresh, a film needs to maintain at least a 60% rating, and becoming “certified fresh” means having a rating of 70% or higher based on 80 reviews with at least five ratings from what the site calls its “top critics.” Getting a rating from all this data means distilling a nuanced review down to either “good” or “bad,” which often leads to the results skewing toward the negative.

Another major issue comes from Rotten Tomatoes releasing their ratings before an even partially accurate aggregate score can be determined. An early Rotten Tomatoes score might be a relatively high number, but as more reviews from critics come in, the chance that the score will drop increases. This leads to many big films seeing their scores start strong and then begin to go down, sometimes drastically. In the end, cases like this prove that no movie—not even a well-received movie like Joker—is safe from a plummeting score. One thing is for certain: F9 won’t be the last major blockbuster movie to see its fresh certification taken away by Rotten Tomatoes’ flawed system.

More: Wonder Woman 1984’s Release Highlights Major Rotten Tomatoes Flaws

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