Rotten Tomatoes, in a move to combat trolling, has banned user reviews and comments prior to a movie’s release.
The movie review site’s decision comes after “Captain Marvel” was inundated with bad reviews before it hit theaters, joining “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in late 2017 and “Black Panther” in early 2018 as films that trolls deliberately tried to decrease the Audience Score for.
“Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership,” Rotten Tomatoes said in a post outlining the change. “We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.”
“Over the past few years, Rotten Tomatoes has been evolving into a robust movie and TV show recommendations platform that celebrates the views of professional critics and fans alike, and encourages discussion and debate,” Ara Nalbandian, head of product and technology, Rotten Tomatoes, said in a statement. “We continue to invest in our product to deliver useful and relevant resources for fans and are in development on new tools to help fans express their opinions and connect with others.”
The ban comes as Rotten Tomatoes plans to roll out several changes to its website in the coming months. Some of the fixes that Rotten Tomatoes is instituting includes verified reviews from ticket buyers, more community features and account personalization, and better data security.
Also introduced on Tuesday was an updated interface that places its Audience Score adjacent to its Tomatometer Score, which counts the collective opinions of thousands of critics. And, it would make it easier for fans to compare comments from fans and professional reviewers.
“Captain Marvel” was peppered with nasty comments last week, and star Brie Larson told Marie Claire she started to notice movie critics “appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” and added that “moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive.”
The movie is set to open on March 8.