Movie Critics: Power on Popular Movies, Reviewers Vs. Viewers

What’s the relative power of film critics in determining the degree of commercial popularity, both domestically and internationally, of American movies


Judging by the top ten grossing films worldwide, there’s quite a disparity between critics assessments and commercial appeal, measured by box-office receipts.  In this article, to gauge the critics’ evaluations, I rely on the grades of Rotten Tomatoes, a service that polls about 200 critics across the world (I’m one of them).


With the exception of The Dark Knight and Wall-E, two global blockbusters, which were also highly acclaimed by the critics, most of the other popular films have received mediocre or downright negative reviews.  According to Rotten Tomatoes, Chris Nolan’s comic-hero adaptation had a high rate of approval (94 percent of the reviews were positive and 6 percent negative).


The most highly acclaimed picture on the list was the Disney sophisticated animation, Wall-E, which was accorded 96 approval-rate. 


Will Smith:  Special Case


The worst-reviewed blockbuster on the list is the Will Smith star vehicle, the actioner Hancock.  Is Will Smith above and beyond criticism  Not really.  Just look at the mediocre box-office receipts of his latest film, Seven Pounds, which received almost unanimously bad reviews. 


Top-Grossing Movies (Worldwide in $)


The Dark Knight            996.8

Indiana Jones 4              786.6

Kung Fu Panda              631.9

Hancock                        624.4

Iron Man                        581.4

Mamma Mia!                  572.1

Quantum of Solace         534.5

Wall-E                           507.3

Chronicles of Narnia 2     419.6

Sex and the City             415.1


Critically Acclaimed Blockbusters (rank-ordered by critics approval)


Wall-E                          96  Percent positive reviews

The Dark Knight            94

Iron Man                        93

Kung Fu Panda              88

Indiana Jones 3              76

Chronicles of Narnia 2     66

Quantum of Solace  65
Mamma Mia!                 52

Sex and City                 50

Hancock                       39