- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2017

Hollywood mogul Brett Ratner says the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes and its “middle America” readers are responsible for the industry’s “destruction.”

The director of “Rush Hour” and head of RatPac Entertainment told an audience at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Idaho last weekend that “middle America” does not know how to make informed decisions after visiting Rotten Tomatoes, which consolidates reviews from across the industry and provides an overall score for films.

“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes,” Mr. Ratner said, Entertainment Weekly reported. “I think it’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore.”

The producer, whose credits include co-financing “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” lamented the intellectual acuity of moviegoers in the heartland.

“In middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck,’” he said. “But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”

EW’s audience was quick to respond to Mr. Ratner’s analysis.

“If you are a Hollywood type, and don’t like that Middle America isn’t paying to see your movies … you might want to figure out why,” wrote one reader. “Is it because Middle America is ‘bad, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and conservative?’ Or is it because people don’t like what you are selling? If you think both, then enjoy the empty theater.”

“The last person I would trust to tell me about art or film is an art or film critic,” wrote another. “They are pretty bizarre human beings. They take great pride is despising the average American, and the weirder the art the better they like it.”

Other projects by Mr. Ratner, which helped him earn a “Pioneer Award” at the festival, include executive producing “The Revenant” in 2015 and directing “Red Dragon” in 2002.

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