Will I "Really Like" this Movie?

Navigating Movie Website Ratings to Select More Enjoyable Movies

Rotten Tomatoes Is Male Critic Dominated and It Really Does Matter

In this past Monday’s post I left you with an unresolved question. Does it really matter that Rotten Tomatoes is male critic dominated if the ratings produced by female critics are similar to male critics? Now that I’ve completed my study of all 100 of Rotten Tomatoes Top Romance Movies, I can dismiss that question because there are clear differences between male and female critic ratings, at least when it comes to movies that are actually about romance.

A mistake I made in my last post was not recognizing that I was using a biased sample. Because only 15% of the reviews were by female critics, the movies at the top of the list were the Romance movies that the male critics liked the most and rated highly. In many of these movies romance was not front and center. Female critics were also likely to rate these same movies highly. It is not surprising that for the top 50 movies the average male critic rating was 95.4% Fresh and female critics ratings were a similar 95.7% Fresh. With high ratings there isn’t much room for differentiation between the male and female critics. Theoretically, the greatest opportunity for differences in ratings would be on lower rated movies where real opposing reviews of movies would be more likely.

The next 50 movies do show greater separation between male and female critic ratings, with the average male critic rating for movies 51 to 100 at 91.0% Fresh and female critic average ratings at 94.5% Fresh. Female critics like the second 50 movies almost as much as the first 50 while male critics are a little less enthused with the second 50. If the next 100 movies on the list were available and the rate of decline in the ratings for each gender maintained the same pace, the gap would be even greater for those movies..

If we take another perspective and look at results based on female critic participation rates, we get some interesting results.


# of Male Reviews to Female Reviews # of Movies  Male Avg. % Fresh  Female Avg. % Fresh Female Rating % Difference  Avg. # of Male Reviews per Movie  Avg. # of Female Reviews per Movie Female % of Reviews per Movie
3 to 1 and lower             9 90.3% 96.6% 7.0%                  69               26 27.5%
4 to 1           15 93.8% 95.9% 2.2%                101               24 19.4%
5 to 1 and higher           76 93.2% 94.4% 1.2%                  80               13 14.1%

Movies that generate the greatest percentage of female reviews have the greatest difference in the average Rotten Tomatoes rating. It is noteworthy that the nine movies that have the most female critics per movie have the fewest male critics per movie. You might be interested in what these nine movies are:

Ever After: A Cinderella Story
I’ll See you in My Dreams
Big Night
Obvious Child
Singin’ In the Rain
Sense and Sensibility

With the exception of Big Night, all of these movies have a strong female orientation. The fact that there are only nine of them on this list reinforces my comments about sample bias.

See, Rotten Tomatoes’ gender bias really does matter.



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One thought on “Rotten Tomatoes Is Male Critic Dominated and It Really Does Matter

  1. Pingback: Stop the Madness! The Male IMDB War Against Ghostbusters. | Will I "Really Like" this Movie?

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