Right now, The Eternals are being review bombed on the review-aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes (RT). Currently, it is the lowest-rated MCU movie. But a low Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t directly translate to a flop box office.
The sequel to Venom, titled: Venom: Let There Be Carnage, was a box office hit. But its critical reviews tell a different tale. The movie has a score of 59% on Rotten Tomatoes. It might seem more minor, but it’s still an improvement over the 30% of Venom.
But both the movies are still rated Rotten on the site. As such, this contrast between the box office reports and Rotten Tomatoes tells us that there’s no direct correlation between the score and the movie’s financial performance.
Many MCU fans tend to think that a positive RT score results in a big box office. After all, the MCU movies, which have earned positive RT scores, have enjoyed high box office collections. As such, it makes one think of correlation and then causation.
But as we can see with Venom, the answer isn’t that clear cut. However, Venom isn’t the first movie that has provided a counter-example. But Venom’s Marvel ties do help us make an interesting point here. So let us explore this in more detail.
Know that the first Venom film earned $856 million at the global box office with an RT score of 30%. Compared to this, MCU’s pre-pandemic films that weren’t Avengers movies grossed just under $780 million.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage has a better RT score than its predecessor, but it’s still categorized as Rotten. Compared to the RT score of the entire MCU, these two movies are at the bottom of the barrel.
However, the box office collection of the first Venom movie is well above the average of the MCU. And its sequel has got an even bigger start even in the pandemic box office.
It has beaten movies like Black Widow and Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. We also need to consider that it was made with a lower budget than those above two MCU movies. And yet, it’s well on its way to becoming a 2021 standout theatrical success.
Venom isn’t the first movie to prove that there’s no necessary correlation between RT scores and box-office collections. Every Transformer movie was rated Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes before Bumblebee.
However, most of them have impressive box-office numbers to show off. Weirdly, even though Bumblebee was the first Transformers film to get a Fresh RT to score finally, it didn’t do that well compared to the box-office grosses of the previous Transformers movies.
Another franchise that has proven this RT-box office theory wrong is the Fast and the Furious. The first four movies of the F&F franchise were RT duds, but their box-office grosses were solid.
However, for the later movies, the score went up along with the box office add well. Note that we are mainly focusing on Venom here because of its tangential connection to the MCU.
So, RT critic scores don’t have an impact on the box office. However, a better indicator would perhaps be the audience score. After all, they are the ones who are buying the ticket for the movie.
The audience scores of Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage are at 81% and 85%. For the MCU, the average is 83%. However, it needs to be said that audiences are demanding.
As seen with Eternals and most notably Captain Marvel, there have been instances of unfair review bombing.
But in the case of Captain Marvel, it went on to gross over 1 billion at the box office. As such, it seems like even audience scores aren’t always reliable and don’t always reflect the majority’s views.
Now what will happen will Eternals, that remains to be seen.
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