Back to listing

What is Rotten Tomatoes?

Rotten tomatoes
Rotten tomatoes

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

So 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 dissatisfied feedback by hissing and booing at the stage, even throwing whatever they had at hand – including vegetables and fruits.

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

1.      Tomatometer Score

It 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 denoted by a fresh, bright red tomato. For a movie to receive an overall rating of “Fresh”, must have at least 60% of Tomatometer score.

3.      Rotten Green Tomato Splat

A bad movie with less than 59% 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 least 40 reviews from Tomatometer Critics (including 5 Top Critics)

·        A TV show must have a Tomatometer Score of 75% or better with 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.

(Data taken from: Rotten Tomatoes Site)

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, it 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 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) 

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


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 either to watch it or not. The site isn't just for reading reviews but you can also write your own reviews and rate the movie/show according to your opinion, and let others know about your perspective. 

Click Here to Learn More: