A PR company Bunker 15 is paying critics for positive reviews to inflate Rotten Tomatoes scores for certain movies.
A report from Vulture suggests that many movies like Ophelia and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny have been the part of the campaign. Unlike most film PR firms that target top publication critics, Bunker 15 adopts a unique grassroots strategy, enlisting lesser-known, often self-published reviewers within Rotten Tomatoes’ radar.
What sets them apart further is their practice of compensating critics with $50 or more per review, a departure from the norm, although these payments remain undisclosed, and Rotten Tomatoes discourages reviews influenced by financial incentives.
“The studios didn’t invent Rotten Tomatoes, and most of them don’t like it,” says the filmmaker Paul Schrader. “But the system is broken. Audiences are dumber. Normal people don’t go through reviews like they used to. Rotten Tomatoes is something the studios can game. So they do.”
Quentin Tarantino, says that he no longer reads critics’ works. “Today, I don’t know anyone,” he said. “I’m told, ‘Manohla Dargis, she’s excellent.’ But when I ask what are the three movies she loved and the three she hated in the last few years, no one can answer me. Because they don’t care!”
Rotten Tomatoes issued an official statement, “We take the integrity of our scores seriously and do not tolerate any attempts to manipulate them. We have a dedicated team who monitors our platforms regularly and thoroughly investigates and resolves any suspicious activity.”