Film critics are out of touch with public opinion

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Audiences were divided on Ad Astra and Venom (Twentieth Century Studios / Sony Pictures)

A new analysis has found that the gap between what movie critics think about films – versus what the general public thinks – has widened in recent years.

In a blog post titled “Are movie critics losing synchronization with audiences? “Film data analyst and film producer Stephen Follows examined the critical response to 10,449 films released in U.S. theaters between 2000 and 2019 (via Metacritic), and compared reviews to audience scores on IMDb.

The analysis found that although critics and the public largely agree for the most part, critical opinion has moved further and further away from public reactions since the turn of the millennium.

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The data suggests that the greatest difference of opinion occurs in the most controversial film genres: action, thriller and sci-fi films are ‘crowd-pleasing’ and are often preferred ‘more by audiences than critics ”, while“ critics’ favorites – westerns, historical films and documentaries – are generally rated better by critics than the public.

The past 20 years have seen an increase in the number of films released in three of the four most controversial genres – thriller, documentary, history – (the action genre has remained stable), which may explain part of this difference of opinion.

Follows analysis also shows that low budget movies (under $ 20 million) also tend to divide more, which is another area of ​​film that has also grown in production over the past 20 years.

Among the films that have elicited stronger public reactions to critical reviews recently included Tom Hardy Venom (29% on the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer against 81% public approval) and Gerard Butler’s action adventures in 2019 Angel fell (38% critical rating against 93 audience rating).

Conversely, recent critical darlings that audiences have shrugged their shoulders with include space drama Brad Pitt. Ad Astra (83% critical approval vs. 40% of the public) and the case restarts 8 from the ocean (69% critical approval, but only 45% public approval).

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