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Fans vs Critics Disclaimer

Disclaimer (disclaimer inception): Instead of making each fans vs critics post incredibly long I decided just to give the disclaimer its own page, and I can add to it as I see fit. The purpose of this disclaimer is just to simply mention some of the caveats. Bear with me here, this is the dry, boring stuff. Luckily you only have to read it once.

The first is that I wait a little over a week after release in order to get the ratings, and the post goes up two weeks after release. This gives a little bit of time for fans to rate the movies, and it gives me enough time to make these posts. So the ratings are not necessarily the most up-to-date but they’re pretty close unless there’s a massive rating fest that goes on. Because of this, there aren’t as many ratings as there would be if I waited a few months, or years. I just thought it would be fun to see what critics and fans think in the initial opening, unaffected by time.

Some movies will not have that many ratings and aren’t that reflective of much. It’s just for fun. Larger releases will have more ratings, obviously. I only picked movies that had both critic ratings and audience ratings, and I used the release schedule from firstshowing.net. This all means that some movies will not be included.

In order to figure out if there’s an agreement or disagreement among the two sides, I just did math. My teacher would be proud. No, I simply figured out the difference numerically between the average ratings of the two (out of 100) and made up a scale that indicated whether there was a same opinion, similar opinion, small difference or large difference. The breakdown of that is as follows:

  • Difference of 5 points = same opinion.
  • Difference of 6 to 14 points = similar opinion.
  • Difference of 15 to 19 points = small difference of opinion.
  • Difference of 20 points or more = large difference.

Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and IMDB are the resources I used. Rotten Tomatoes has both audience and critical reception, whereas IMDB is audience reception and it links to Metacritic for the critical reception. These websites are the best we currently have for this sort of analysis but they are flawed in their own ways.

I didn’t list every single caveat that exists. Just know that there are holes in the methodology. I just thought it would be fun to add some statistics to the old question of whether or not fans and critics really disagree. I have seen some people, like Stephen Follows back in 2014, try to answer that question using a bigger dataset. That’s of interest to me someday, but I also like the idea of doing it on a week-by-week basis and adding to the conversation.

So in closing, I know that if you wait a longer period of time the analysis will be more accurate. Averages will become more steady as people rate more, but I also think it’s interesting to see how the hardcore–the people who rush out to see the movie in the first week or so and jump on a website to rate it–think.

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