Update, March 9, 2019: Rotten Tomatoes has said it has "identified a bug" that was responsible for the unusually high number of Captain Marvel ratings and apparent trolling, HuffPost reports.
Even though the comment function is disabled ahead of a film's release, the site still allows people to vote if they "want to see" a film — and Rotten Tomatoes says pre-release ratings were accidentally included in the post-release ratings.
In a statement to HuffPost, the site said: "In our product update, we planned to remove the 'want to see' votes from that user ratings total – which didn’t happen (the glitch) and showed an inflated number. And we fixed that, which brought down the number."
The score has since risen from 36% to 52%, with 29,530 user ratings as of publication — but that still makes it the lowest-ranking Marvel film on Rotten Tomatoes, reports HuffPost. The trolling may not be over just yet.
This article was originally published on March 8, 2019.
Happy International Women's Day! Men are trying to ruin Captain Marvel. Despite Rotten Tomatoes' new rule that you can't review a film before it's released, a bunch of trolls flocked to the website as soon as the Brie Larson-led movie hit theaters to tank its rating to, at time of publication, 36%. 36%! Coincidentally, that's also around how much less women make than men on the dollar. So maybe it's fitting.
While audiences on Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie searing and definitely-real reviews like "very bad movie it's not wat marvel movies should be like," the critics' take on the Marvel franchise is much more open-minded, coming in at a more respectable 81%.
"Superhero cinema has lectured us, ad infinitum, on the responsibility that is conferred by extraordinary gifts," Anthony Lane said in the New Yorker. "Praise be to Larson, for reminding us that they can be bringers of fun."
The issue isn't that we all have to like this movie, but that movies shouldn't face an unfair disadvantage because trolls took advantage of a feature meant to be used in good faith.
"We are disabling the comment function prior to a movie’s release date," Rotten Tomatoes previously told The Hollywood Reporter in an attempt to combat exactly this. "Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature, for now, is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have."
Instead, trolls waited until the clock struck midnight and barraged the film with more than 58,000 reviews, according to THR — more than Avengers: Infinity War got during its entire run. A cool and normal reaction to a woman being a superhero for sure.
Captain Marvel is in theaters now.