Fans nervous about the Rotten Tomatoes score for Justice League are gonna have to wait a bit longer to find out if the long-awaited DC film is fresh or rotten. While the review embargo for the superhero team-up officially lifts tonight at 11:50pm PT/2:50am ET, at which time a slew of reviews will hit the interwebs, Rotten Tomatoes will not be revealing the score until Thursday at 12:01am ET—nearly a full day after reviews go online (via The Playlist).
This move is officially being made as promotion for Rotten Tomatoes’ new See It/Skip It show on Facebook, in which RT will officially unveil the score for new releases. But by delaying the score reveal, it won’t be on Rotten Tomatoes until mere hours before the first showing of the movie. Does this mean Warner Bros. is nervous about the score? Are they trying to hide it from audiences so the film gets a bigger opening weekend? Is a massive conspiracy unfolding before our very eyes?
Probably not. In all likelihood, this is simply promotion for a Rotten Tomatoes original series, as no doubt plenty of fans will be tuning in to See It/Skip It to check out the score reveal. But it must also be pointed out that Warner Bros. has a minority stake in Rotten Tomatoes, and if the studio is indeed nervous about bad reviews, it would be in their best financial interest to delay the RT score reveal as long as possible. Though it should also be pointed out that anyone seeing the movie Thursday night has likely already bought their tickets, so they wouldn’t be put off by a poor Rotten Tomatoes score.
Studios railed earlier this year that Rotten Tomatoes was to blame for low box office performance. The argument was that a low RT score encourages audiences not to see whatever film the studio put in theaters, thus a lower box office opening weekend. And while it’s true that plenty of people use Rotten Tomatoes as a gauge to see if X film is worth their hard earned money, I’m not sure the review aggregator (and it is an aggregator, not the be-all end-all final critical consensus on any film) is as powerful as some folks think it is. If I think a movie looks interesting, I’m going to see it regardless of its RT score (hello King Arthur!).
So yeah, the RT score for Justice League is being delayed. But reviews will still be online, and perhaps this will encourage folks to seek out and read well-reasoned reviews rather than simply glancing at a number. Find critics whose writing you like, whose opinion you respect, and follow their stuff. You don’t always have to agree, but it can be greatly rewarding to engage with film criticism on a level deeper than a score or letter grade. Hear that person out, see the film yourself, then craft your own counterarguments or agreements. It’s fun!