• Rotten Tomatoes scores increasingly impact directors’ job opportunities, according to a report from
  • One director representative says that critical acclaim is ”
    ” with studios using the scores to decide who to hire.
  • Rotten Tomatoes scores coming into prominence in studio decision-making mirrors their previous approach to box office.

Rotten Tomatoes has become increasingly important in directors getting more jobs, according to a new report. The review-aggregator website, which was originally launched in 1998, calculates a score out of 100% to assess the proportion of positive and negative reviews for a given movie or television title, with anything 60% and above considered “Fresh,” or generally positive. Although other aggregator sites like Metacritic have found success alongside it in the years since it was launched, Rotten Tomatoes remains one of the most prominent online resources for measuring critical reception in the entertainment industry.

The Hollywood Reporter recently ran a report about the difficulties directors are facing in finding new projects. A director representative who was interviewed for the piece shared their opinion that “critical acclaim is now gamified.” They revealed that the Rotten Tomatoes scores for directors‘ previous works are a go-to resource for producers deciding who to hire, and it “inevitably affects decision-making.” An executive’s rebuttal supports this claim but seemingly defends the process, sharing that when picking a director, “all you have is their past work and a meeting.” Read their full quotes below:

Director Representative:
Critical acclaim is now gamified. The Rotten Tomatoes score is the first thing people look at when I go pitch a director. It inevitably affects decision-making around hiring a director.
When you hire a director, all you have is their past work and a meeting.

Is Using Rotten Tomatoes To Judge A Director Worse Than Using Box Office?

This Rotten Tomatoes Development May Be A Lateral Move For Studios

Willy Wonka (Timothee Chalamet) in a still from Wonka set against a Rotten Tomatoes logo background

There are several issues inherent to using Rotten Tomatoes as an objective measure for the quality of a movie or television show. The first is that the demographic diversity of the critics hired at publications that are included in the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator does not always reflect the diversity of audiences interested in a particular title. Another issue, among many others, is the fact that a 50% score, which is deemed “Rotten,” still means that a movie was enjoyed by half the critics who watched it, a grey area that isn’t accurately reflected by the splat the title receives.


6 Movie Franchises With Impressive Rotten Tomatoes Streaks

Most movie franchises are up and down in terms of critical reception, but a few manage to maintain consistently good Rotten Tomatoes scores.

The site’s flaws could negatively impact the careers of directors who aren’t critical darlings. However, using divisive Rotten Tomatoes scores to guide the hiring process may not be any less accurate than another studio go-to for determining success, which is box office. Both methods of measuring a director’s success are fickle and require a broader context, though one isn’t necessarily shakier than the other. Below, see the Top 10 highest-grossing movies of 2023 at the worldwide box office compared to their Rotten Tomatoes critic scores and where they rank in the Rotten Tomatoes Top 30 for 2023, if applicable:

BO Rank


RT Score

RT Rank






The Super Mario Bros. Movie








Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3




Fast X




Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse








The Little Mermaid




Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One







This comparison shows that using Rotten Tomatoes as the only measure of success would probably turn out significantly different results from using box office. However, both measures are somewhat haphazard and represent a great deal of luck of the draw for any given director. For instance, while titles like Wonka and Elemental performed well commercially, titles that performed well critically but didn’t make Top 10 appearances include Air, Past Lives, and The Holdovers. Ultimately, it seems like it would be best if studios used both methods plus a broader cultural and historical context for deciding what director to hire.

Source: THR

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