We Just Updated Our Tomatometer Critics Criteria

The changes will see new platforms and hundreds of new voices added to the Tomatometer.

by | August 28, 2018 | Comments

Recently added Tomatometer-approved critics (clockwise from top left): Clarisse Loughrey, Bernard Boo, Joelle Monique, Jacob Oller, Sandie Angulo Chen, Jane Crowther, Lorraine Ali, Robert Daniels

Ever wondered how the Tomatometer gets made? Well, this week we’re peeling back the layers of the onion ­– and apologizing for our mixed fruit-and-veg metaphors – to give you a Fresh look at the process, and some changes we’re making to it.

Keen followers of Rotten Tomatoes probably know how we get Tomatometer scores for movies and TV shows, but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick rundown: When a movie comes out, we collect Tomatometer-approved critics’ reviews of that movie, note which are Fresh and which are Rotten (that’s RT speak for positive and negative), and calculate the overall percentage of reviews that are Fresh. This is the movie’s Tomatometer score. The same goes for TV and streaming shows, though we also calculate season and episode scores. ­You can find out more about the process, and things like our Certified Fresh designation, here.

Who are these critics, though? And how do we select which critics to include when generating the Tomatometer? That’s the question we’ve addressed with our refreshed Critics Criteria.

When Rotten Tomatoes began, just over 20 years ago, the media landscape was a much different place – weekend newspapers were fat with ads, the iPhone was but a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye, YouTube was six years away from disrupting basically everything, Netflix was snail-mailing DVDs to early adopters, and Siskel and Ebert were still on the air every week wagging their kingmaking thumbs. Rotten Tomatoes was conceived in that era, and our first set of criteria for the critics whose reviews we would count towards the Tomatometer reflected it. There was an emphasis on major publications and market-leading broadcasters, on staff positions and broad audience reach.

In the intervening decades, a lot has changed. By some estimates, the total daily circulation of newspapers in America has fallen by half, and the size of the newspaper workforce has been reduced by more than a third with the subsequent drop in revenue; broadcast TV and radio stations have faced similar challenges with the rise of cable, online news, streaming, podcasts, and YouTube. Often, the Arts Desk has been the first place to suffer cuts when things get tough – traditional full-time arts journalism jobs, let alone full-time working critics, are a rarity today.

At the same time, new kinds of critics emerged, innovative thinkers and commentators who have seized on new platforms, developed their own sites and publications, or forged strong freelance careers, to have their voices heard. Many of these voices went unheard when traditional media was at its dominant prime, and too many still go unheard today.

In revamping our Critics Criteria, we sought to bring the criteria into better alignment with the way media works today, to promote the inclusion of more voices that reflect the varied groups of people who consume entertainment, and to maintain the high standards we’ve always set for inclusion in the group of Tomatometer-approved critics.

When assessing applications from those wishing to be a Tomatometer-approved critic, or a Tomatometer-approved publication, we now take into consideration four key values as well as a revised set of eligibility requirements. These values are Insight, Audience, Quality, and Dedication, and you can find a full breakdown of each value here.

On our critics page, you can meet some of the critics who embody these values, among them more than 200 critics who have been Tomatometer-approved as of today. And stay tuned, because we will be adding hundreds more as the year goes on. We’ll be regularly updating the Critic Spotlight section of the page with new critic profiles, including links to their work and social media profiles – you may just find your next favorite podcaster, writer, or vlogger there.

One key thing to note on the value of “Audience” is that while we still seek critics and publications with a wide reach, we also give weight to those applicants whose coverage may be less wide-reaching, but which serves underrepresented groups. Similarly, elements of our eligibility requirements that in the past proved obstacles for some insightful and dedicated self-published individuals and freelancers have been rethought to align with the way many are working today. Our requirements have also been updated to reflect the growing number of platforms and different types of media on which people are sharing their movie and TV reviews.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our dedication to quality film and TV criticism, held to high standards, and to ensuring the integrity of the Tomatometer and its usefulness for movie and TV fans.

You can find out more about Tomatometer-approved critics here, and apply to become one here.

Tag Cloud

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