What is Rotten Tomatoes?

When we want to relax and wind down after a long day or provide entertainment for a group, watching a TV show or movie is usually the go-to choice. There’s a plethora of options out there, which is both good and bad for our purposes. We can opt to watch something on Netflix while staying at home, or go out for the cinema experience.

For one, we don’t want to waste our time and money on anything that isn’t up to the mark. Eve our favorite actor and actresses might not come in a stellar production every single time. This is why we read reviews or even watch videos of people analyzing certain works. These reviews, if they have enough influence, can even influence whether a certain movie or show is a success. They might even be a factor in deciding on the most important movie awards around the world.

If you like getting a review on a movie or TV show before watching it, then you will surely love Rotten Tomatoes. The Rotten Tomatoes site and its scoring system (known as Tomatometer) are now hailed as the world’s most trusted resources for quality entertainment. Here, a number of critics review the movie and then publish their feedbacks that if the movie is a fresh tomato (good) or a rotten one (bad). The site also features editorial content, informative video series, and holds live shows for fans across the world.

In short, if you are an entertainment lover who is always seeking for a movie recommendation, or want to share his opinion about any movie or TV show, you should definitely check out Rotten Tomatoes more often. In this article, we will be reviewing the Rotten Tomatoes site for its working, scoring system, and almost everything. Let’s get started!

The Concept of Rotten Tomatoes

The concept of this name “Rotten Tomatoes” was basically taken back in the days of the open theatres when a play was extremely terrible. The audience expressed their dissatisfaction by hissing and booing at the stage, even throwing whatever they had at hand – including vegetables and fruits. Of course, tomatoes would also be in the mix. 

Below are some terms used on the site with their meaning:

1. Tomatometer Score

This is a trusted recommendation score given to a movie or TV show, which is based on the opinions of many films and television critics. A fan can see the score and decide to either watch the movie/show or not.

2. A Red Tomato

A good review is symbolized by a fresh, bright red tomato. For a movie to get an overall rating of “Fresh”, it must have a Tomatometer score of at least 60%.

3. Rotten Green Tomato Splat

A bad movie with less than 59% on the Tomatometer score is denoted by a rotten green tomato splat.

4. Certified Fresh

To get a Certified Fresh rating:

  • A movie must have a Tomatometer rating of 75% or better
  • Movies opening in wide release must have at least 80 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics)
  • Movies opening in limited release must have at least 40 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics)
  • A TV show should have a Tomatometer Score of 75% or better plus 20 or more reviews from Tomatometer Critics including 5 Top Critics.

In some cases, RT’s editorial team also holds the “Certified Fresh” designation.

5. A Full Popcorn Bucket

If a movie receives the status of a full popcorn bucket, it has received 3.5 or more stars by Flixter and RT users.

6. A Tipped Over Popcorn Bucket

If a movie receives the status of a tipped over popcorn bucket, it has received less than 3.5 stars by 

Flixter and RT users.

7. A Plus Sign

A movie that hasn’t yet received any reviews and audience score is denoted by a Plus Sign. A percentage is also associated with this sign, which shows the percentage of users that have added the movie to their watch-later list.

The Importance of Rotten Tomatoes

People rely on RT so much that according to the National Research Group, 7/10 people would be less likely to see a movie if RT gave it a score of 0-25. However, this measure doesn’t always work for divisive movies that are not like average romance or action movies.

If a movie splits people or plays with some religious beliefs, no matter how authentic or brilliant it is, it will end up with a middling rating on RT. For instance, a highly controversial movie like Antichrist that isn’t just an average movie received only a 50% score. Such movies can’t be judged on a scale of 1 to 10 or any ratings. 

In theory, a movie that isn’t offensive and doesn’t annoy anyone can easily receive a high score on RT than a bold, challenging, and highly controversial movie.

Here is a list of some movies that have received a whopping 100% and a plain 0% on RT:


  • The Ridiculous 6 (2015)
  • Max Steel (2016)
  • The Layover (2017) 
  • Precious Cargo (2016) 


  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Leave no trace (2018)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999)
  • Paddington 2 (2018) 

The Up and Downs of This Site

While Rotten Tomatoes does have its advantages as a review site, it also has its downsides. Here are some Pros and Cons of RT:


  • Simple to understand
  • Trustworthy rating system
  • Gives a good demonstration of movies
  • Covers hot and trending entertainment topics


  • Oversimplifies the results that might not work for some movie lovers
  • Bloated with some lousy reviewers

Rotten Tomatoes and Popular Culture

Getting a ‘certified fresh’ rating is like a seal of approval and a major goal for many movies that come out these days. The influence of Rotten Tomatoes has made it a formidable player in the industry, whether one is working in films or television productions. The scores on this website might determine if a work is buoyed up and watched at least once by a great number of people, or flounders right at the beginning.

In many ways, a good Rotten Tomatoes score can even make a movie with relatively unknown stars and no brand name a hit at the box office. Of course, this also means that the work should be too controversial and have the potential to appeal to a large number of people.

Perhaps the main reason for the popularity and importance of Rotten Tomatoes is that there’s so much content out there to choose from. The same goes for a lot of choices that people make every single day, such as going to a restaurant. For our eating choices, the main site that we look towards is probably Yelp or something similar. For movies, sitcoms, dramas, and other types of visual entertainment, we turn to Rotten Tomatoes above all.

According to some recent statistics, more than a third of all moviegoers in the United States look up a movie on RT before they buy tickets for a film. This percentage has seen a great increase in the past few years, and shows no signs of going down. With the age group of 25 to 44 having a large chunk of regular moviegoers, the influence of Rotten Tomatoes is quite formidable. If RT says a movie isn’t good, the work is less likely to rake in the earnings.

Why Rotten Tomatoes Matters Today

Some might ask just why Rotten Tomatoes is as important as a review site. After all, movie and TV show reviews and recommendations are nothing new. We have several review sites for such works, while previously people used to rely on reviews in the major newspapers if they wanted to play it safe.

The attention of Rotten Tomatoes lies in several factors, some of which we’ve discussed above. Additionally, one can say that RT has reviews and ratings for a huge range of movies and shows. These include indie productions, works in various languages, and small budget films in addition to potential blockbusters with star-studded casts.

Another major reason for this popularity is that the reviews on RT come quick and fast. Sometimes, the reviews would even be up online before the movie is released to the masses. This keeps the directors and producers on their toes and alerts the audience to a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ movie before they make plans or invest any money. When we had to wait for the newspaper reviews, the people making the movies had quite a large chance to draw a cod even if the output wasn’t up to the mark.


Sites like Rotten Tomatoes are great to gain insight into movies and a have general consensus ahead of time. Unlike Facebook recommendations about a movie, RT has a number of reviews on a movie that you can read and decide whether to watch it or not. In addition to reading reviews, you can also write your own reviews and rate the movie/show according to your opinion. 

Overall, we would say that Rotten Tomatoes isn’t just a website, but a wholly interactive experience for those who love watching TV shows and movies. If you’re passionate about your visual content, RT can certainly lead you in the right direction. However, just make sure to take reviews with a pinch of salt and know the reasoning behind the various ratings.