Surprise! Those small critics on Rotten Tomatoes get paid by PR firms

A big old “duh” from me.

While most film-PR companies aim to get the attention of critics from top publications, Bunker 15 takes a more bottom-up approach, recruiting obscure, often self-published critics who are nevertheless part of the pool tracked by Rotten Tomatoes. In another break from standard practice, several critics say, Bunker 15 pays them $50 or more for each review.

“More input from different critics” is not very subtle code, and the prospective critic wrote back to ask what would happen if he hated the film. The Bunker 15 employee replied that of course journalists are free to write whatever they like but that “super nice ones (and there are more critics like this than I expected)” often agreed not to publish bad reviews on their usual websites but to instead quarantine them on “a smaller blog that RT never sees. I think it’s a very cool thing to do.” If done right, the trick would help ensure that Rotten Tomatoes logged positive reviews but not negative ones.

$50 seems like a triviality in the grand scheme of things, but the “we’re all friends here” vibe is the bigger concern across media in general.

Wow, selling their integrity for a mere fifty bucks, those are some cheap hookers.

I underestimated the commercial opportunities of just splitting my work into and

edit: for clarity, sites do not exist, do not click hoping for my non-exsistant bad opinions on films

Plenty of game criticism these days runs the same way. We are definitely in an age of payola.

I’m shocked, shocked!

Next you’ll tell me that all those Twitter impressions from early showings of movies from obscure “reviewers” aren’t completely kosher.

My first reaction was that $50 seems insultingly low. My second reaction is I’d probably be willing to spend 20 minutes or so writing some junk “review” for that money.

Wait until Vulture finds out their own site uses SEO.

As soon as there’s an algorithm, some bottom-feeder will be along to sell you a way to hack it.

I’m shocked the writers aren’t using ChatGPT to generate $50.