People Think John Travolta's New Film Is Manipulating User Reviews
We've Gotti get to the bottom of this.
We here at ten daily love a mystery, and we love drama so when the curious case of John Travolta's latest film began to crop up we had to take a deeper look.
You see, after it received a whopping zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes, people are beginning to look at the user ratings of Gotti.
The movie had its fair share of issues leading up to release with the original distributor, Lionsgate, shelving the film just 10 days before its initial release. Travolta, the star and an executive producer on the film, claimed the decision actually came after he begged Lionsgate to hand the film to him in order to release it wider than the studio had planned.
We have also already spoken about the brutal reviews critics gave the film, but what's more curious is how the movie has pivoted its marketing strategy to focus on user reviews, and where are those reviews coming from.
"Audiences loved Gotti but critics don't want you to see it," the Film's official Twitter account posted with a video that called critics "trolls behind a keyboard".
A similar sentiment was sent out via MoviePass, who -- you would be shocked to learn -- are invested in the film. MoviePass users can see a film a day for a set monthly price.
Business Insider notes a notification was sent out via the MoviePass app saying, "Audiences love GOTTI but critics think otherwise. Who do you trust?"
The film wasn't widely reviewed, partly because it appeared the distributors shielded the film from critics for ... you know ... a certain reason. Gotti currently has 28 critic reviews. On the other hand, it has more than 7,000 user reviews.
A few thoughts: Gotti is currently not in a very wide release in the United States, with BoxOfficeMojo reporting the film opened in just over 500 locations.
To compare, Pixar's Incredibles 2 opened on the same day in more than 4,400 theatres. Incredibles 2 has 7,722 user reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The numbers seem shifty, right? A film with a wide release like the Incredibles having the same amount of user feedback as a limited release that didn't even make that much money.
Gotti also opened on the same day as Race 3, a Bollywood film from Yash Raj that opened in 314 theatres, but the films made just over $1.6 million each, despite Race 3 being in 188 fewer locations.
So where are all these user reviews coming from? As Screen Junkies' Dan Murrell pointed out on Twitter, something doesn't add up.
Of the influx of five star reviews there are a few common threads: many have never reviewed a film before Gotti, often the account was created this month and many reference the negative critic reviews, or the disparity between the views of critics and every day movie-loving audiences.
"I laughed, I cried, I stood up and cheered!" reads one user review while another said, "These 'critics' don't know what they're talking about".
To be clear, there are still many, many negative user reviews in amongst the praise, but the similar trends in specifically the 5-star reviews is interesting and difficult to ignore, especially when they're in caps lock.
"Never go by critics. This movie was great!"
"TO ALL YOU LIBERAL CRITICS: UP YOUR NOSE WITH A RUBBER HOSE!!!!"
We wish we were making these up.
Now, it's totally respectable for you to believe that the film could be fabricating user reviews in order to both bolster the user review rating (the film currently has a 69 percent audience score) as well as spread the message that the film is a ictim of some kind of film critic assassination. But look a little closer and another player may be up to no good.
Another common thread behind these anonymous, recently-created accounts posting positive reviews of Gotti is that many of them are also posting positive reviews of another film: American Animals. Another film MoviePass has invested in.
Again, this all could be a great coincidence. Hoards of Travolta fans could have rushed to defend his work in the film. That could be the case, and totally innocent, however the film's pivot to use these questionable reviews as part of their marketing push seems ... suspicious.
Featured image: Vertical Entertainment / Rotten Tomatoes.