Justice League hits theaters this Friday, and early, mostly positive critic reactions have already been making the social media rounds. But if you’ve been scanning Rotten Tomatoes for the film’s early Tomatometer number, you’ve been disappointed.
In a break from custom that may signal things to come — as well as the increasing clout Rotten Tomatoes has gained among movie marketers — the review aggregator has elected to withhold Justice League’s Tomatometer score until Thursday, according to an official Rotten Tomatoes Facebook post. This, despite the fact that critics' reviews will begin hitting the web when the film’s review embargo lifts later tonight.
The site instead has other plans for Justice League: Rotten Tomatoes will bank its Tomatometer score and release it on its new See It / Skip It Facebook show once midnight hits the East Coast this Thursday. As Screen Rant — which first spotted the Facebook post — notes, this means Justice League's score won't go public until mere hours before the first screenings unspool in theaters.
Justice League is one of the fall’s most anticipated movies, and it’s certainly capable of pulling in the kind of early online buzz that drives fans to seek out any advance information they can find. Ahead of Rotten Tomatoes’ big reveal, in place of a Tomatometer score on its Justice League page is a friendly reminder to tune in to this week’s See It /Skip It episode.
The Tomatometer itself, which simply averages critics’ numeric review ratings to arrive at its fateful number, has been a point of controversy and discussion. Detractors have criticized the one-number-to-rule-them-all method, saying it entices casual filmgoers to make snap and uninformed decisions about whether a movie’s worth seeing.
It also represents the kind of dichotomy that can exist between critical reaction and box office returns. Batman v Superman, for example, did well at the box office, grossing more than $830 million worldwide; yet the film sits low on the Tomatometer at 27 percent.
Does the Tomatometer really hold the kind of power that can make or break a movie — power that can affect a studio’s future creative choices? For that matter, does the aggregate score affect your choices? Would it have driven you — or kept you — from seeing Justice League?
It's an interesting conundrum, so let us know. We’ve reached out to Rotten Tomatoes for comment, and we’ll update with anything we hear back.