Black Panther director Ryan Coogler has responded to plans to sabotage the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score, while also offering his thoughts on the review aggregator as a whole. Black Panther is outpacing every superhero film to date for early ticket sales and is estimated to net as much as $150 million during its opening weekend at the domestic box office. Meanwhile, social media buzz has been overwhelmingly positive and early reactions have pegged it as Marvel’s best film yet. But in this divisive era, it seems that some are displeased with the movie’s potential success on principle alone.
Earlier this week, far-right trolls claiming to be DCEU fans announced a campaign to sabotage Black Panther‘s Rotten Tomatoes score. A similar campaign was allegedly responsible for lowing Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s own RT score, despite its apparent success with critics and general audiences. The group, comprised of people who claim they’re angry that Disney is spotlighting non-white and/or female characters in their films, are hoping to derail what looks to be a massive hit for the company and Marvel Studios. Now, Coogler himself has weighed in.
Huffington Post spoke with Coogler about the attempts to sabotage Black Panther based on its political message and mostly black cast. And while the group behind the sabotage seems equally as disaffected by Marvel’s success and DC’s troubles at the box office, Coogler was very diplomatic in his response.
“For me, I’m looking forward to everybody seeing the film. I’m really looking forward to sharing the film with audiences regardless of what their political views are … that’s kind of where I [stand on that].”
Though Coogler is taking it in stride, it’s clear the issue with Black Panther goes far beyond mere political differences. From the words of the organizers themselves, they seem to view the very idea of female, queer, and/or POC representation as an attack against them. Luckily, they’re in the minority and their only real recourse is to try and drive down the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. As for Coogler, the RT score is hardly the final word on a film’s value, in his eyes:
“It … can be an oversimplification of what critics are saying about a movie. It’s quicker to look at the consensus than it is to read the articles. But I’m a person who definitely respects film criticism and draws on it in the filmmaking process.”
As Coogler points out, sites like Rotten Tomatoes are merely designed to provide a quick overview of the critical consensus of a film and their scores aren’t reflective of a film’s larger successes/failures. Still, many poorly reviewed blockbusters from the past few years have been met with a cry from various fans who want to take down the site.
For their own part, Rotten Tomatoes is taking steps to prevent any meddling with Black Panther‘s audience rating. What’s more, Facebook has actually banned the group behind the sabotage campaign for violating its terms. However the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the film turns out now, the box office will speak for itself when it comes to how general audiences really feel about Black Panther.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Black Panther release date: Feb 16, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 release date: May 4, 2018
Ant-Man & The Wasp release date: Jul 6, 2018
Captain Marvel release date: Mar 8, 2019
The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie release date: May 3, 2019
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel release date: Jul 5, 2019