Just as you might expect, many of the recently released, universally-panned movies are bringing in big box-office numbers, while praised films like Zodiac are falling short. Using the Rotten Tomatoes scale, which is usually quite forgiving when it comes to negative reviews: Wild Hogs, which was the number 1 film of last weekend, rests at 18%, Norbit rests at 10%, Ghost Rider came in with 27% and Night at the Museum had the highest with 45%, which is still low for a multi-week #1 hit.
With the box-office squarely on their side, the big honchos of mainstream movies are now, unsurprisingly, picking a fight with critics. An exec at Disney recently went on record saying that "critics are out of touch with their readership," while Tom Rothman of Fox proudly says that his feature wasn't embraced by "highfalutin snooty snoot critics." At least he was creative with his distaste. But when has big money ever equalled big quality? McDonald's rakes in the bucks, but no one calls the Big Mac gourmet. So, why are execs getting ticked off when critics, who are paid to evaluate how well something is done, see a film as a limp fast food burger and not a juicy taste of Kobe beef? You might like the limp burger, but that doesn't mean that it was made just as well as the gourmet one.
There's no winner or loser to this debate because the sides aren't arguing about the same thing. Just because a film does well does not mean that it is good. Can anyone attached to any of those films say that they are as good as some of their highly-regarded, highly-praised films? Would William H. Macy describe Wild Hogs as comparable to Pleasantville or Boogie Nights? No. It's time for these execs to stop getting ticked at critics when their crappy, or questionable big-box-office movie gets panned, and start seeing their mainstream schlock for what it is.