How Rotten Tomatoes Helped 'Angry Birds Movie 2' And Hurt 'The Kitchen'

'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

Sony

In two seemingly unrelated bits of Tuesday box office news, Warner Bros.' The Kitchen earned $1.06 million while Sony's The Angry Birds Movie 2 opened with a $2.6 million Tuesday gross.

Neither is very good on its face. The Melissa McCarthy/Tiffany Haddish/Elizabeth Moss mob drama jumped a whopping 83% from its $578,000 Monday gross to bring its five-day total to a still-lousy $7.166 million. Yes, it's clear adults were waiting until "cheap ticket Tuesday" to sample Warner Bros.' R-rated period piece while Sony is hoping that audiences merely treated Tuesday as a "sneak preview" day.

The Angry Birds Movie opened with $36 million in May 2016 and legged to $105 million domestic and $352 million global on a $72 million budget. The best-case-scenario comparison is The Smurfs 2. The Smurfs opened with $35 million in July 2011 and legged it to $142 million (and an insane $562 million worldwide) on a $110 million budget. Two years later, the "we were only curious the first time" sequel opened with $27 million over a Wednesday-Sunday debut and legged it to $71 million domestic and $347 million worldwide on a $105 million budget.

Angry Birds 2 cost around $65 million, so it can make a little less and still be relatively profitable. Sony would prefer to have a Tues-Sun debut closer to Smurfs 2's $27 million launch than Smurfs: The Lost Village's $16 million five-day gross (from a $13 million Fri-Sun debut). Sony is optimistic since the film, which I'm seeing later this afternoon (was waiting on the middle kid), has earned somewhat better reviews than its predecessor. "Tomb Raider Trap" or not, Sony is boasting that Angry Birds 2 is the best-reviewed video game movie ever, with 73% "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.

That boast is only partially true. The "fresh/rotten" scores (i.e., the number of reviews that rated the movie essentially at least a 6/10) is higher than Ryan Reynold's Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (68%), Dwayne Johnson's Rampage (52%), Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider (52%) and Rovio's Angry Birds Movie (44%). But ranked by average critic ratings, a far less binary score, the best-reviewed video game movies of late are Detective Pikachu (6/10), Angry Birds Movie 2 (5.55/10), Tomb Raider (5.47/10), Rampage (5.29/10). There's a huge difference between the 73% fresh of Angry Birds 2 and the 52% rotten of Tomb Raider despite just 1.5% difference in average critic scores.

Andrea Berloff's adult-skewing drama (which I'm seeing earlier this afternoon) was pronounced dead on arrival when it opened with a 21% "fresh" score. However, its average critic rating is currently at 4.54/10, meaning on average critics rated the film essentially at 45.5% while rating Angry Birds 2 at 55.5%. That's essentially a ten-point difference in average critic ratings but a 52-point difference in "fresh/rotten" ratings. If one were only to glance at the Tomatometer, they'd get the impression that Angry Birds Movies 2 was a very good animated comedy while The Kitchen was a basement-level awful mob drama.

We've seen this before, like in August of 2017 when Annabelle Creation entered theaters with an (at the time) 71% fresh while The Glass Castle opened concurrently with a 43% rotten score despite both films earning identical 6.10/10 average critic scores. This is not remotely the fault of Rotten Tomatoes, as they present all of the information users need to make informed decisions. Nor is it Sony's fault for knowing full-well that most folks would only look at the Tomatometer when deciding that, yes, Angry Birds Movie 2 was the best-reviewed video game movie of all time.

Our (arguably) lazy obsession with the Tomatometer, in terms of its actual function and the conventional wisdom that a 95% fresh means the movie is considered 9.5/10 by most critics (obviously not so, unless it's Paddington 2 which deserved its 13/10 average critic rating), ends up helping the kid-targeted video game-based animated sequel while hurting the R-rated, star-driven, female-led crime drama. Or, as we saw in 2017, helping the horror prequel over the adult drama. If you think about what critics do, I would argue that this is somewhat the opposite of how it's supposed to work.

Using the Tomatometer as the lone designation for critical consensus paints an unfinished and occasionally inaccurate portrait. Regardless of my own critical opinions (for what it's worth, Annabelle: Creation > The Glass House), if we're going to rely on Rotten Tomatoes to the extent that we currently do, we really need to at least take the five seconds to click that "more info" button and glance at the average score for any given film. Or, and here's a crazy idea, you can actually read some of the reviews posted on the site, which was kinda the point in the first place.

Of course, now that I've written this, I'm sure I'll end up hating The Kitchen while proclaiming Angry Birds Movie 2 to be an even better video game movie than Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Tomb Raider (2019), Detective Pikachu and Rampage.

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In two seemingly unrelated bits of Tuesday box office news, Warner Bros.' The Kitchen earned $1.06 million while Sony's The Angry Birds Movie 2 opened with a $2.6 million Tuesday gross.

Neither is very good on its face. The Melissa McCarthy/Tiffany Haddish/Elizabeth Moss mob drama jumped a whopping 83% from its $578,000 Monday gross to bring its five-day total to a still-lousy $7.166 million. Yes, it's clear adults were waiting until "cheap ticket Tuesday" to sample Warner Bros.' R-rated period piece while Sony is hoping that audiences merely treated Tuesday as a "sneak preview" day.

The Angry Birds Movie opened with $36 million in May 2016 and legged to $105 million domestic and $352 million global on a $72 million budget. The best-case-scenario comparison is The Smurfs 2. The Smurfs opened with $35 million in July 2011 and legged it to $142 million (and an insane $562 million worldwide) on a $110 million budget. Two years later, the "we were only curious the first time" sequel opened with $27 million over a Wednesday-Sunday debut and legged it to $71 million domestic and $347 million worldwide on a $105 million budget.

Angry Birds 2 cost around $65 million, so it can make a little less and still be relatively profitable. Sony would prefer to have a Tues-Sun debut closer to Smurfs 2's $27 million launch than Smurfs: The Lost Village's $16 million five-day gross (from a $13 million Fri-Sun debut). Sony is optimistic since the film, which I'm seeing later this afternoon (was waiting on the middle kid), has earned somewhat better reviews than its predecessor. "Tomb Raider Trap" or not, Sony is boasting that Angry Birds 2 is the best-reviewed video game movie ever, with 73% "fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes.

That boast is only partially true. The "fresh/rotten" scores (i.e., the number of reviews that rated the movie essentially at least a 6/10) is higher than Ryan Reynold's Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (68%), Dwayne Johnson's Rampage (52%), Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider (52%) and Rovio's Angry Birds Movie (44%). But ranked by average critic ratings, a far less binary score, the best-reviewed video game movies of late are Detective Pikachu (6/10), Angry Birds Movie 2 (5.55/10), Tomb Raider (5.47/10), Rampage (5.29/10). There's a huge difference between the 73% fresh of Angry Birds 2 and the 52% rotten of Tomb Raider despite just 1.5% difference in average critic scores.

Andrea Berloff's adult-skewing drama (which I'm seeing earlier this afternoon) was pronounced dead on arrival when it opened with a 21% "fresh" score. However, its average critic rating is currently at 4.54/10, meaning on average critics rated the film essentially at 45.5% while rating Angry Birds 2 at 55.5%. That's essentially a ten-point difference in average critic ratings but a 52-point difference in "fresh/rotten" ratings. If one were only to glance at the Tomatometer, they'd get the impression that Angry Birds Movies 2 was a very good animated comedy while The Kitchen was a basement-level awful mob drama.

We've seen this before, like in August of 2017 when Annabelle Creation entered theaters with an (at the time) 71% fresh while The Glass Castle opened concurrently with a 43% rotten score despite both films earning identical 6.10/10 average critic scores. This is not remotely the fault of Rotten Tomatoes, as they present all of the information users need to make informed decisions. Nor is it Sony's fault for knowing full-well that most folks would only look at the Tomatometer when deciding that, yes, Angry Birds Movie 2 was the best-reviewed video game movie of all time.

Our (arguably) lazy obsession with the Tomatometer, in terms of its actual function and the conventional wisdom that a 95% fresh means the movie is considered 9.5/10 by most critics (obviously not so, unless it's Paddington 2 which deserved its 13/10 average critic rating), ends up helping the kid-targeted video game-based animated sequel while hurting the R-rated, star-driven, female-led crime drama. Or, as we saw in 2017, helping the horror prequel over the adult drama. If you think about what critics do, I would argue that this is somewhat the opposite of how it's supposed to work.

Using the Tomatometer as the lone designation for critical consensus paints an unfinished and occasionally inaccurate portrait. Regardless of my own critical opinions (for what it's worth, Annabelle: Creation > The Glass House), if we're going to rely on Rotten Tomatoes to the extent that we currently do, we really need to at least take the five seconds to click that "more info" button and glance at the average score for any given film. Or, and here's a crazy idea, you can actually read some of the reviews posted on the site, which was kinda the point in the first place.

Of course, now that I've written this, I'm sure I'll end up hating The Kitchen while proclaiming Angry Birds Movie 2 to be an even better video game movie than Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Tomb Raider (2019), Detective Pikachu and Rampage.

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I've studied the film industry, both academically and informally, and with an emphasis in box office analysis, for nearly 30 years. I have extensively written about all

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