Rotten Tomatoes Adds “Verified” Layer With Reviews From Actual Ticket Buyers

Movie review engine Rotten Tomatoes is adding a level of verification to demonstrate that audience reviews come from actual ticket buyers.

Starting with movies released today, users can opt in to get their rating and review marked “verified” as long as they bought their movie ticket on Fandango, the NBCUniversal-owned digital brand that acquired Rotten Tomatoes in 2016. Major exhibitors AMC, Regal and Cinemark plan to add their ticket sales to the verification effort later this year.

The Audience Rating System will now be comprised of ratings from fans who are confirmed to have bought tickets, with their written reviews displaying a “verified” badge.

In an interview with Deadline, Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango executives said they will not apply the current verification scheme retroactively to past releases. They also indicated that research deployed for the initiative showed that there wouldn’t likely be a large gap between the “unverified” score and the verified one.

Even so, as on Twitter and other platforms, knowing a take is coming from a more legitimate source bolsters the credibility of the enterprise, the company believes. In recent years, some studios have grumbled about the effect Rotten Tomatoes has had on weekend box office, accelerating and amplifying word of mouth from Friday to Sunday.

“We know from our research that fans consult Rotten Tomatoes’ Audience Score along with the Tomatometer, when making decisions on what to watch,” Fandango president Paul Yanover said in a press release. “Having an Audience Score and reviews from fans who are confirmed ticket purchasers, will add even more usefulness to our product and increase consumer confidence.”

On Fandango’s site and mobile apps, fan ratings will be created by Rotten Tomatoes, replacing the previous 5-star fan rating.

The launch of Verified Ratings and Reviews is part of the Rotten Tomatoes’ overall plan to modernize its Audience Rating System over the next year, making it even more helpful to fans as they make their entertainment viewing decisions.

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