fans vs critics
Fans vs Critics

FANS Fight The CRITICS On September 11, 2020

Friday Feud: The fans face off against the critics with the movies released on August 28, 2020. This week’s combatants: Bill & Ted Face the Music, The New Mutants, Fatima, Get Duked! and The Personal History of David Copperfield.

There’s a disclaimer you can read by clicking here. It’s long so I gave it its own page, but it talks about what this is in greater depth, and what purpose it serves.

Welcome to the first ever “Fans vs Critics,” a weekly series posted on Friday, where I go through some of the new releases of the week and try to figure out if fans and critics are really at each others’ throats… or do they get along more than one may think?

It’s a debate we see whenever a movie comes out that divides people. I’m looking at you The Last Jedi. Websites are eager to talk about how the fans and those pesky critics just aren’t seeing eye to eye, but rarely do we see much of a dive into it. We hardly ever see an attempt to figure out if fans and critics really approach cinema differently or if critics have just been fans all along. Well never fear because Flickmetic is here to answer the important questions. We’ll examine the new movies to see if in this troubled, modern age if there’s any common ground between us and them.

There’s a disclaimer above that goes into greater detail so you don’t think I’m just making stuff up. It’s best not to trust me blindly. But simply put, I used numbers and my own measures to create a system that tells us if they basically have the same opinion, a similar opinion, a small difference in opinion or a large difference. I gathered this info from Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Metacritic, and I will post the pdf of the full report so you can see more of the breakdowns. Let’s get started.

IMDB

IMDB fans vs critics
It’s a middle finger. Classy start.

According to IMDB–and Metacritic since IMDB uses Metacritic to give critical review scores–there’s really not much of a difference in opinion. With one film there’s a small difference but the other four movies are either similar or basically the same. So let’s look at who the culprit is that broke the truce between the fans and the critics.

IMDB fans vs critics
The New Mutants. Oh, you crazy movie. I still can’t believe you actually got released.

The New Mutants opted to do its own thing and break from the love fest that was the IMDB fans and the critics. It’s important to note that according to my scale, it only slightly got into the “small difference” category. The Personal History of David Copperfield and Fatima both came dangerously close as well so this was literally only a few points off of being a different story. I imagine in the future this will change. Hell, the number of ratings is so little for something like Fatima that if I saw it and rated it I could probably shift it over. A war is brewing and I’m going to be right here when it starts, cheering on mutual destruction.

So far, it’s critics and fans agreeing four times and disagreeing once. The disagreement is small but so are some of the agreements. Critics and fans have a very uneasy alliance it seems.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes fans vs critics
Flippin’ you the bird again. No, I’m not Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Now we got Rotten Tomatoes. This isn’t the tomatometer or the audience score, because those aren’t actual ratings. They mean something but it’s not what I’m going for since the tomatometer just says what percentage of critics give a passing grade and the audience score says something similar.

Here the people who frequent Rotten Tomatoes and the critics still agree more than they disagree, but interestingly there’s a large difference this time. We will drill into that and see who’s kicking up a fuss.

Rotten Tomatoes fans vs critics
The New Mu… wait, Fatima? Oh why, you were such a pure, innocent soul.

The New Mutants is a problem child when it comes to world peace but in this case it’s Fatima that wants to watch the world burn. The Personal History of David Copperfield and Bill & Ted are both inching towards building a wall between fans and critics but they don’t quite get there. Get Duked!, rightfully in the middle, is the only semblance of balance in the universe. It’s also the best movie of the year but what do I know?

Rotten Tomatoes appears to be more dynamic, making it more of a fight, but in the end the fans and critics still agree three times as opposed to disagreeing twice. If this was actually a combat sport, Rotten Tomatoes is that knock-down, drag-out fight of the year that we instantly declare as the best fight ever until we forget about it and the next best fight ever happens.

The New Mutants
Not The New Mutants again. Go away!

Quick Hits

Now it’s time for some quick hits. These are observations that I make using the other graphs. There’s a link at the end of the article to see the full 5 page report so you can see the numbers that back up my statements. Don’t worry, it’s all graphs so you could probably read it on the toilet.

  • IMDB gives more details about the ratings such as male/female, US/non-US and age groups. Males and females don’t seem to differ much but, at least with these movies (though I assume as a whole), IMDB is male dominated as they rate films at a much higher percentage.
  • The IMDB age group breakdown indicates that the people most likely to rate movies at higher numbers is the 30-44 age range. That’s preposterous! (I’m 35).
  • Very few people under the age of 18 rate on IMDB, probably because they got cooler things to do than us old men. University students and those who just graduated are the second most likely to rate movies.
  • Regardless of age, the people rate similarly to each other, except the under 18s and their massive love for Bill & Ted and… Fatima. To be fair, five under 18s rated Bill & Ted and only four rated Fatima.
  • More people outside of the United States rate movies on IMDB in total, but that makes sense since the USA is only one country. But the citizens of the red, white and blue are overrepresented. God bless America. Along with that, people from the USA and outside of it don’t rate that differently from one another.
  • Men and women have similar tastes on average, but to the surprise of exactly nobody, men slightly prefer action movies and women slightly prefer dramas. I better report this finding to someone quick. I’ll get a PhD.
  • On the flipside, the critics in relation to Metacritic feel a lot more negatively towards action movies than the fans do. Outside of that their ratings are nearly identical. I’m not saying this is true (I’m not here to fan the flames of discontent) but here’s some ammunition: this lends credence to the idea that critics are too stuck up to enjoy mindless action flicks.
  • In general, every age group on IMDB likes action movies the least, while drama and comedy fight for supremacy.
  • There’s a lot more variance on IMDB in the runtimes. Critics seem more tolerant towards the longest movie–not that any of them are really long–but the fans in general show less variance, being more even-keeled in their reception according to duration. Men and women don’t differ much, and their trajectory is basically the same, dipping and increasing in the same places.
  • Still on the IMDB kick (I told you they offer a lot of depth when acquiring their dataset), the fans prefer movies that are rated PG but it’s not that much more than the PG-13 and R movies. The critics, on the other hand, rate PG movies quite a bit higher, PG-13 movies a bit lower and are pretty even with the adult–I mean R–rated movies. Again, men and women don’t differ much… so let’s just get along?
  • The under 18s rate R movies the lowest, which is good because they aren’t supposed to be going to them anyway. They rate PG-13 movies the highest. Every other age group shows less variance so they’re a little more boring, though there’s a bit of a difference between the people who are 45+ and the 18-29 year-olds in regards to R-rated movies. It seems that the people who just turned of age to see them are more likely to enjoy them. Go figure. Enjoy it while you can, the novelty wears off. Unless it’s Deadpool, I could watch that all day.
  • People outside of the USA prefer PG movies, people in the USA prefer PG-13 movies. They’re pretty united in the R-rated ones.
  • Now we go to Rotten Tomatoes to finish this up. I did factor in the tomatometer and the audience score and they’re pretty similar on average. There is a massive difference when it comes to The Personal History of David Copperfield; the tomatometer is a whopping 93 percent and the audience score is only 57 percent. In fact, there’s a sizable difference in every single one except for Bill & Ted Face the Music. But they go back and forth so much that they still end up with similar scores on average. The fact that Bill & Ted is the one where they are united is most excellent.
  • The Rotten Tomatoes ratings reflect the IMDB ones to some degree. The audience/fans still like action movies more than the critics do. But they also like dramas and comedies more. They’re just easier on movies in general over there. IMDB must be where all the elitists go.
  • In terms of the movie rating, critics like PG movies a lot more, fans like PG-13 movies a lot more, and they’re pretty close on R-rated movies.
  • Finally, critics also like the longest movie more. But they also like the shortest movie the most.
  • IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes don’t really differ that much, at least not this week. The actual ratings may differ but the patterns are quite similar.

The Personal History of David Copperfield
That old man is me talking about my rabbit.

Final Verdict And Summarization

IMDB: 4 to 1, advantage agreement.

Rotten Tomatoes: 3 to 2, advantage agreement.

Verdict: There may be some changes here and there, but this small sample size–which is meaningless at the moment but still intriguing–shows that fans agree with the critics more often than they disagree. Rotten Tomatoes appears to be the bad boy of the group, so I’m curious to see where this goes.

Click here to read an important essay about the psychology of movie polarization.

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