21 Fun Facts and Stats From 21 Years of Rotten Tomatoes

Discover how many total reviews we've featured, the first movie to ever get a Tomatometer, the hardest-to-please critic, and what Jackie Chan has to do with it all!

by | March 8, 2019 | Comments

In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating with a series of features that look back at the brightest moments on screen of the past two decades – and one year – and the things that have us excited for the future. 

Rotten Tomatoes is celebrating its 21st year in existence! But we didn’t get here alone. Nope, RT exists because of you, the fans, and the critics whose invaluable work makes up our Tomatometer. To kick off the start of our birthday celebrations, we’ve gone and gathered up majorly fun facts and stats about RT that we’ve accrued since 1998! (Note: All Tomatometer factoids are accurate up until February 26, 2019.)

1. Total Number Of Reviews Featured on RT: 1,106,872 For Movies; 99,616 For TV

(Photo by Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett Collection)

Last month, we hit the major million milestone for movies! It only took 21 years, eight office moves, and, conservatively, 50,000 cups of coffee. In 2013, we began collecting and adding TV and streaming reviews, and though we’re still a ways away from hitting a million, we’re hopeful that the legend of a trove of Law & Order reviews buried in the Hollywood Hills proves true.

2. Number of Tomatometers Generated: 25,688 For Movies, 1,625 For TV

It takes five reviews to generate an initial Tomatometer score for movies and TV shows. This has happened 27,313 times on Rotten Tomatoes, so far. Would you believe it never gets less thrilling?

3. Average Tomatometer For All Movies: 62%

(Photo by Columbia Pictures Television/courtesy Everett Collection)

That number is proof that people generally do set out to make good movies – and succeed – or at least not make one that would get laughed out of theaters. And it’s proof that critics come not with knives drawn, but with the hope that a discovery will be made that everyone needs to know about.

4. Average Tomatometer For All Movies (With At Least 20 Reviews Each): 65%

And the average percentage goes up if you add a 20-review minimum, suggesting that a movie that’s generated enough interest to get rated professionally 20 times has something to warrant it getting that far. And why 20 reviews? That’s the number when a movie becomes eligible for our patented, pithy Critics Consensus write-ups.

5. Unlikely Celebrity Inspiration For Rotten Tomatoes: Jackie Chan

(Photo by New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)

Site creator Senh Duong was famously inspired to start Rotten Tomatoes in 1998 after searching for reviews of Jackie Chan movies which, like all reviews at the time, sat uncollected across disparate corners of the internet. Rumble in the Bronx had released nationwide in 1996, which got Duong looking for reviews of Chan’s other imports: Supercop, Twin Dragons, and First Strike. Two years later, on August 18, 1998, Rotten Tomatoes went live.

6. Unlikely Movie Inspiration For Rotten Tomatoes’ Name: Léolo (1992) 90%

The name Rotten Tomatoes came to Duong while watching the fantasy film Leolo, from 1992, about a boy who imagines himself to be the offspring of an Italian peasant and a giant tomato. It is, appropriately, Fresh.

7. First Movie to Ever Get a Tomatometer: Your Friends & Neighbors (1998) 77%

After the founding of RT, the first movie to officially get a Tomatometer was Your Friends & Neighbors, Neil LaBute’s modern tale of urbane immorality. It even went Certified Fresh, currently sitting at 77%! The critics consensus reads that though “it may strike some viewers as cold and unpleasant,” it’s also “an incisive critique of sexual politics wrapped up in scathing black comedy.” Truly, a light and pleasant start to Rotten Tomatoes dominion.

8. Oldest Movie With A Tomatometer: A Trip to the Moon (1902) 100%

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Georges Méliès little sci-fi epic, which generated cinema’s first iconic image in The Man in the Moon with a rocket ship embedded in his right eye. Trip is 100% on the Tomatometer, but at nine reviews, it doesn’t meet the 20-review threshold to be eligible for a critics consensus. Look, just give it another 117 years, will ya?

9. Number of Certified Fresh Movies: 3,310; Number of Certified Fresh TV Seasons: 715

The Certified Fresh label is the greatest designation on Rotten Tomatoes. We have 196,013 movies in our database, which means your movie has a historic 1.69% chance of becoming Certified Fresh. Meanwhile, there are a total of 14,333 listed TV seasons knocking around on the site, equaling a much-friendlier 5% chance of a TV season being Certified Fresh.

10. Oldest Movie To Be Certified Fresh: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) 99%

What’s it take to become Certified Fresh? For movies, it’s having a 75% Tomatometer score after 40 reviews (or 80, if you’re a modern wide release), with five of those coming from Top Critics. Caligari, with its gaunt German Expressionism theatrics, is the oldest movie to qualify for that prestigious designation, and is considered one best horror movies ever made to this day. (It’s #2 on our list of the 150 Best Horror Movies.)

11. Oldest TV Series With A Tomatometer: The Honeymooners: Lost Episodes 100%

Are we detecting some kind of moon motif when it comes to these “oldest” milestones on Rotten Tomatoes? The Jackie Gleason classic show lasted only one season (or 39 episodes) but it’s endured thanks to its assorted catchphrases and its historical significance as the first major depiction of the working class in sitcoms.

12. Number of 100% Movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 332

You could watch nearly a different perfectly-rated movie every day for a year, taking in some stone-cold masterpieces like Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, and Repulsion, and contemporary classics like Before Sunrise, Toy Story 2, and Leave No Trace. And at the rate these kinds of movies are cropping up, you could likely fill up a 365-day watching schedule by 2020.

13. 100% Movie With The Most Reviews: Paddington 2 (2017) 99%

(Photo by Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

The most lovable bear in all of cinema, at least until Annihlation came out. Just last year Paddington, this genteel beacon of hope in cynical times, and his movie usurped the best-reviewed crown from Toy Story 2, which had had the distinction since 1999. Lady Bird was also able to briefly do the same, before it was felled by its first Rotten review.

14. Number of 99% Movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 45

So you just made a movie and it didn’t hit 100%. After your feeling of debilitating failure leaves the body, would you be willing to accept the second-best percentage on the site? Members of the 99 Club include hunger-inducing Jiro Dreams of Sushi, indie breakthroughs (Lady Bird, Eighth Grade), something from Pixar (Finding Nemo), horror classics (Aliens, Rosemary’s Baby), and Metropolis, whose sole Rotten review comes from a 1926 issue of Variety.

15. Number of 60% Movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 131

Better not catch y’all slippin’, because one percentage point drop and these movies are in Rotten! Some movie fans may be shocked to learn which films the sword of Damocles hangs so perilously over, like Rush Hour or Mystery Men. Then there are other movies, like the primal and basic 300, for which a 60% feels juuuuust right.

16. Number of 59% movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 91

So close to Freshness! Some 91 movies – with at least 20 reviews – are right on the cusp of being Fresh, which of course didn’t stop the likes of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Oz the Great and Powerful from being boffo box office smashes. Included in this pile of barely Rotten movies are enduring ’90s trash classics (Deep Blue Sea), literal trash (Trash Humpers), failed prestige pics (The Front Runner, Concussion), and of course a later-period Liam Neeson action movie (Run All Night).

17. Number of 1% movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 5

(Photo by Freestyle Releasing/courtesy Everett Collection)

Getting a Tomatometer score of 1% is probably the most difficult ignoble feat to achieve on Rotten Tomatoes. Not only do you have to get enough reviews for it to be mathematically possible, you have to count on only one or two critics willing to come forward to say they liked it. Let’s give a hand to Alone in the DarkLeft Behind, Daddy Day Camp, Twisted, and Disaster Movie!

18. Number of 0% Movies (With At Least 20 Reviews): 36

It takes a lot of effort to make a movie. It takes a lot of effort to get critics to review it. And it takes a lot of effort for all of them to hate it. Jaws: The Revenge, Mac and Me, Bucky Larson…shine on, you crazy diamonds.

19. 0% Movie With The Most Reviews: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) 0%

The title doesn’t make any sense and it only goes downhill from there. The incomprehensible spy-thriller starred Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu and came out in 2002, a year when their careers were peak enough that neither had any reason to make this movie. To date, 117 critics have been able to re-assemble their shattered minds after experiencing Ballistic to submit Rotten reviews. Meanwhile, back in 2017 we celebrated the movie’s 15th anniversary with some cake:

20. Hardest Critic to Please: Paul Attanasio

Attanasio was employed by The Washington Post as a film critic in the ’80s, a rather shaky decade in terms of overall quality of movie output. So maybe it’s no surprise that out of the 209 reviews of his that we have in our system, only 61 are Fresh, or 29% overall. He hated every John Hughes movie, Martin Scorsese‘s After Hours, but did like Stop Making Sense. So what’s Paul doing now? Oh, nothing much, except getting Oscar-nominated for writing Quiz Show, and creating Homicide: Life on the Street and Bull.

21. The Ultimate Critic-Proof Movie: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) 20%

Only 19% of critics like the first sequel in the Transformers franchise. Its penance: A cool $402 million dollars at the domestic box office. No other movie among the top 100 all-time domestic grossers has fallen (no pun intended) below 20% on the Tomatometer, though Revenge certainly isn’t without Rotten company. There are 20 movies total with Rotten ratings, including two more Transformers films (the original and Dark of the Moon), three from the DCEU (Suicide Squad, Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman), and two from Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End). And the franchise with the most Rotten appearances? Twilight: All five movies score below 60%, and all four sequels are one of the 100 top grossers of all time.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

dc MSNBC die hard Crunchyroll telelvision historical drama RT21 2016 adaptation Super Bowl Creative Arts Emmys Academy Awards Pride Month Set visit movie werewolf dreamworks ESPN Reality Competition fast and furious zero dark thirty Ghostbusters A24 superman prank adenture Mary poppins gangster classics harry potter royal family Chernobyl Tubi Ellie Kemper spain GIFs aliens ITV universal monsters ratings TIFF mutant USA ghosts breaking bad Ovation doctor who ABC Family hist films Spike El Rey concert Character Guide movies casting spider-man YouTube Red streaming wonder woman true crime monster movies book adaptation American Society of Cinematographers Emmy Nominations Nominations Brie Larson facebook See It Skip It Binge Guide 93rd Oscars Pop TV Netflix Christmas movies Stephen King cats Disney streaming service crime ViacomCBS based on movie Discovery Channel award winner Premiere Dates obituary Comics on TV discovery BET cinemax Pop Comic Book spanish language The CW romance stop motion new zealand OWN rt labs LGBT police drama Mindy Kaling live event all-time Walt Disney Pictures HBO popular independent Nat Geo blockbusters italian disaster NBC The Walking Dead singing competition Marvel Television SundanceTV richard e. Grant godzilla Star Wars animated vs. streaming movies scary movies target DC streaming service sequels worst movies green book Peacock Watching Series children's TV Endgame Image Comics saw Adult Swim chucky Sundance Apple TV+ marvel comics 2017 reboot FX on Hulu Disney Channel Acorn TV supernatural Amazon golden globe awards Martial Arts basketball HBO Go cancelled TV series Neflix comic books 2019 Musical dceu Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt lord of the rings elevated horror Kids & Family ABC Signature deadpool Tomatazos reviews book PaleyFest Cannes mob Marathons medical drama Fox News vampires Tokyo Olympics Red Carpet sag awards IFC Films scorecard cancelled criterion name the review black comedy Starz dark spinoff Spring TV anime black versus TCM OneApp VH1 90s Showtime Marvel Studios series thriller CNN rom-coms Awards Tour Comic-Con@Home 2021 cars dogs pirates of the caribbean Sony Pictures MCU comic book movie TruTV BBC One NYCC crime drama war cancelled TV shows TCA X-Men Rock Superheroe spider-verse Podcast CW Seed indiana jones YouTube debate kong canceled Sci-Fi TCA 2017 Election Netflix game show new star wars movies E3 Amazon Studios RT History GLAAD Television Critics Association rotten movies we love suspense genre Awards foreign hispanic binge news Schedule Elton John art house TCA Winter 2020 king arthur Pirates VOD Sundance Now blockbuster Lifetime ID boxoffice Columbia Pictures joker Christmas documentary The Walt Disney Company CBS 20th Century Fox Tarantino Thanksgiving 71st Emmy Awards teaser political drama hispanic heritage month Alien Nickelodeon SXSW LGBTQ directors Cartoon Network revenge Toys TLC live action sitcom Food Network zombies Comedy Central Turner TNT travel Year in Review Family transformers period drama high school Classic Film Baby Yoda Trophy Talk BET Awards Black Mirror APB PBS strong female leads Marvel robots First Look FXX Mary Tyler Moore Trailer Hear Us Out 99% Best and Worst theme song YA zombie scary Quiz 2021 E! king kong Legendary 21st Century Fox Video Games marvel cinematic universe The Witch mcc First Reviews FOX Exclusive Video Avengers TBS Holiday San Diego Comic-Con blaxploitation toronto archives TCA Awards psychological thriller IMDb TV Pet Sematary documentaries AMC TV Land Heroines GoT talk show psycho Polls and Games football Mystery technology halloween tv slashers NBA anthology parents Winter TV Apple australia cooking Disney+ Disney Plus Extras New York Comic Con 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards HBO Max Hallmark Christmas movies Paramount Plus james bond natural history Fantasy Emmys Paramount Universal Pictures action-comedy trailers BBC America worst Opinion Funimation batman The Purge south america 45 rt labs critics edition young adult nature SDCC remakes Cosplay Holidays a nightmare on elm street emmy awards Star Trek CMT Fox Searchlight diversity Shondaland Black History Month Mudbound Rom-Com BBC adventure aapi spy thriller dragons Summer dexter composers Lionsgate venice USA Network dramedy DC Comics golden globes crossover stand-up comedy 007 Crackle olympics sequel franchise Universal quibi Trivia Drama National Geographic Film Women's History Month Animation Apple TV Plus The Academy Winners Disney Plus Paramount Network heist movie 4/20 VICE 2018 AMC Plus docuseries biography mission: impossible Epix ABC feel good witnail Music FX Masterpiece festivals TV movies DGA critics Box Office Country video hidden camera satire space Superheroes new york Musicals television comics Vudu kaiju Britbox stoner science fiction japan WarnerMedia festival President latino TV One cults toy story posters YouTube Premium miniseries cops Hallmark DC Universe child's play jurassic park Chilling Adventures of Sabrina twilight sports Grammys nbcuniversal TV screenings crime thriller Lucasfilm Bravo Amazon Prime Video docudrama Pacific Islander Oscars rt archives Hulu women Sundance TV Anna Paquin Amazon Prime international comic book movies indie PlayStation spanish Biopics jamie lee curtis laika Action tv talk scene in color 2015 24 frames romantic comedy screen actors guild Film Festival DirecTV christmas movies Reality Valentine's Day mockumentary Comedy Photos 1990s Warner Bros. Rocky Fall TV unscripted Captain marvel kids Mary Poppins Returns Dark Horse Comics Instagram Live 2020 halloween french Calendar Television Academy politics hollywood video on demand Freeform rotten fresh Broadway Tumblr Certified Fresh comic Lifetime Christmas movies A&E slasher History cancelled television Syfy sopranos nfl Writers Guild of America Travel Channel boxing IFC social media Spectrum Originals Shudder BAFTA asian-american Arrowverse game of thrones TV renewals free movies what to watch biopic Interview MTV critic resources justice league Esquire Logo Rocketman serial killer 73rd Emmy Awards legend best know your critic CBS All Access Pixar Wes Anderson finale renewed TV shows Countdown Turner Classic Movies The Arrangement Infographic cartoon Horror 72 Emmy Awards Song of Ice and Fire canceled TV shows WGN japanese Sneak Peek superhero Western Teen comedies razzies Disney comiccon