You were looking forward to your date, which included dinner and a movie. Your date chose the food since "it garnered five stars on Yelp!" but you got to pick the movie. So you went to the Fandango movies website to check what was on and bought the tickets. You decided to watch "Fantastic Four," despite the fact that you hadn't heard many good things about it. It had earned over 7,000 reviews, with an average rating of 3 out of 5. This is going to be a watchable film.
Online movie reviews have grown into a lucrative business. The U.S. box office takes in roughly $10 billion each year for Hollywood, and online ratings aggregators may have more influence over where that money is spent in the future.
Poor opening weekends are blamed on services like Rotten Tomatoes, which aggregate movie reviews and assign them a single overall score. A single film critic can no longer make or break a film, but thousands of critics, both professional and amateur, may be able to.
Several websites, including IMDb, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes, have created popular rating systems. Despite the fact that the sites' selection and combination criteria differ, they have all built systems based on the following key principles: They employ the complete rating spectrum, strive for consistency, and strive to minimize rating manipulation.
These rating systems, despite their shortcomings, are sound enough to be useful.
Fandango, a branch of NBCUniversal, has a five-star rating system, with almost no film obtaining less than three stars. Furthermore, due of the peculiar method Fandango aggregates its customers' reviews, ratings on the website are even higher as I write this.
And, whereas other review websites may have a tenuous relationship to the entertainment industry, Fandango has a clear stake in your desire to see a movie: the company sells tickets directly to customers.
What started all of this? A coworker approached me about it a few months ago after observing that a bad movie had a fair rating on Fandango. This year, 510 movies had tickets for sale on Fandango.com, and when I collected the data for those movies, I noticed something odd: of the 437 movies with at least one review, 98% had a 3-star rating or higher, and 75% had a 4-star rating or higher.
According to Fandango's standards, it seemed nearly impossible for a film to fail.
When I focused on movies with 30 or more user evaluations, none of the 209 films had less than a 3-star rating. Seventy-eight percent of the reviews were rated four stars or above.
Or was it just the quality of the films? Perhaps the civilization in which we live gives "Mordecai" 3.5 stars?
Not us. Other websites' reviews were less kind. I gathered IMDb user ratings, Metacritic's aggregate critic rating, Metacritic's user score, Rotten Tomatoes critic and user scores, and the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score for the 209 movies. These were then rounded up to the nearest half-star and standardized to Fandango's five-star rating scale.
This finding is not surprising given that the scores on IMDb, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes were typically in the same range: Fandango's star rating was higher than the IMDb rating in 79% of the cases, the Metacritic aggregate critic score was higher than the Metacritic user score in 77% of the cases, and the Rotten Tomatoes critic score was higher than the Rotten Tomatoes user score in 86% of the cases.
There are several reasons why ratings on Fandango may be higher than those on competitors; after all, if you ask people about a movie after they've spent $15 on it and a couple hours watching it, they may have a more favorable opinion of the production. Perhaps the significant rightward shift in Fandango's bell curve is just moviegoers' Stockholm syndrome.
Nonetheless, this rating system is fundamentally flawed. It's unclear why so few films receive ratings of less than three stars, and Fandango didn't offer an explanation. "It is unacceptable for us to speculate on how our ratings may or may not differ from theirs," Fandango stated via email. "We have not analyzed the user rating systems of other sites, and we do not have access to their customer profiles or interaction behavior."
As a result, Fandango effectively employs a 3 to 5 star rating system. There are also additional difficulties with its ratings. In my opinion, the method Fandango aggregates user evaluations on their website has a flaw: they never round the average down.
On the Fandango website, the aggregate user rating for a certain movie is displayed in one place: the stars next to the movie's poster, above the area that lists showtimes. On a five-point scale, half-star increments are used to express the stars. Fandango displays the number of reviews the film has received beneath the star ratings.
More information, however, can be obtained by downloading the HTML source of a page from the Fandango website. Take a look at "Ted 2." When I checked the numbers on Monday, the film had 4.5 stars from 6,568 reviews.
Who wouldn't want to see David Harbour as an asskicking, John McClane-style Santa Claus? We are unable to assist you if you find it unpleasant. In any case, according to a recent Fandango poll of over 1,000 moviegoers aged 18 to 24, Universal Pictures' Violent Night (available everywhere on Friday, December 2) is one of Gen Z's top five most anticipated Christmas films.
The remaining four films are DreamWorks Animation's Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Dec. 21), 20th Century Studios' Avatar: The Way of Water (Dec. 16), Disney Animation's Strange World (Nov. 23), and Paramount Pictures' Babylon (Dec. 23).
Fandango's Vice President of Domestic Ticketing "Our data reveals that Gen Z adult moviegoers are going to watch several films at the theater this Christmas season, inspired by fresh titles that demand to be seen on the big screen," said Melissa Heller. "By starting off the holiday season early with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Gen Z fans helped us have one of our biggest opening weekend pre-sales this year."
Surprisingly, 96% of survey respondents stated going to the movies was one of their favorite pastimes, and 94% indicated they were pleased with their recent moviegoing experiences. Furthermore, 78% of responses indicate that Gen Z (the largest demographic group at the box office) is watching more movies on big screens than it was before the COVID-19 outbreak halted ticket sales.
Given that, just a few years ago, it appeared that this significant and vital audience had shifted from the large screen experience to much of the available filmed entertainment on their tiny screen devices, "The fact that Gen Z viewers now adore going to the movies is wonderful news for movie theaters and filmmakers," says Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore. "Throughout the course of the epidemic, younger people began to like and covet the movie theater experience, and curiously have found the movie theater to become a primary focus of social media influence," according to the report.
According to him, the success of Avatar: The Way of Water, Strange World, Babylon, Violent Night, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish will be primarily dependent on Gen Z audiences. The holiday film season is critical to Hollywood. Serving this group is critical for movie theaters now, in 2023, and in the future.
Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola of Dead Snow, will be released in theaters on Friday, December 2. The Croods: A New Age, directed by Joel Crawford (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish), will air on Friday, December 21.
Walmart paid $100 million bought the on-demand movie streaming provider Vudu in 2010, but the firm was unable to profit from it. The following year, the retailer sold the service to NBCUniversal's Fandango, a movie ticketing and discovery company. Fandango is advancing with Vudu by integrating it with its existing streaming service, FandangoNOW, today.
The newly unified service will keep the name Vudu, with over 200,000 new releases and titles from the catalog available for rent or purchase without a subscription, as well as "thousands" of free-to-stream titles.
The company argues that it chose the moniker "Vudu" since it is a well-known brand with a committed fanbase that is significantly larger than the FandangoNOW service.
Existing FandangoNOW customers will not lose access to any of their already purchased content, despite changes to the service. All of their movies and TV shows will be automatically moved to the new Vudu service beginning today.
Vudu's on-demand offering currently competes with services such as Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play/YouTube, and others from various telecoms companies. These services are especially tempting to consumers who prefer to view new releases and have the option of purchasing their favorite movies and television shows rather than subscribing to services where material changes when license agreements expire.
New titles include "F9: The Fast Saga," "Luca," "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," "Peter Rabbit 2," "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard," "A Quiet Place Part II," Disney's "Cruella," "Godzilla vs. Kong," "In the Heights," and more.
The Marvel Studios film "Black Widow," which is currently the subject of a breach of contract lawsuit filed by actress Scarlett Johansson against Disney for sending what was supposed to be a theatrical release straight to Disney+ on opening day, will also be made available to it beginning next Tuesday.
Vudu already has a big built-in audience for its movie and TV marketplace. According to Fandango, the service is used by "millions" of people every day and has more than 60 million registered users.
According to NPD Group research, it can reach over 75 million TV-connected device households in the United States because to its broad platform compatibility. This includes support for Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs by Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, PlayStation, Xbox, Tivo, and Vudu.
Following the merger and rebranding, the new Vudu service will replace FandangoNOW as the official movie shop on the Roku platform, where users may rent or buy using Roku Pay.
Fandango's current digital network will now include MovieTickets.com, Flixster, Movieclips, and Rotten Tomatoes in addition to its movie ticketing operation with the inclusion of Vudu. While the merger of the two companies eliminates some overlap within the Fandango area, NBCU parent company Comcast still faces its own streaming overlap issues.
Comcast acquired the ad-supported streaming service Xumo in February 2020. It also manages Peacock, a service that has been offered for a year, through NBCU. It has failed to take any steps to focus such efforts.