Special Report

50 Films Critics Hate but Audiences Love

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What makes a great movie? Quality cinematic productions require a well-written script, skilled acting, and superb direction — or so the critics maintain. For the general public, however, these qualities don’t always matter, and many films that critics snub, audiences actually love.

Film critics are often in tune with audience tastes and are generally in consensus with the opinions of typical moviegoers. Still, some widely loved movies elude the appreciation of professional movie critics. Romantic comedies, action blockbusters, and Christian dramas are genres that commonly achieve the adoration of the general audience and the disdain of critics.

Many of the films with the largest disparities between audience and critic ratings lack the elements typically associated with good movies — quality acting, realistic dialogue, visual storytelling, and mise-en-scène — yet offer other cinematic delights. Films such as “Transformers,” “300,” and “Warcraft” offer little in the way of plot and character, but contain dazzling, bombastic set pieces that may be enjoyable in their own right as spectacles of CGI-fueled action scenes.

To determine the films that audiences love but critics hate, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on the disparity in audience and critic ratings from reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database. There are 50 films whose audience and critic ratings differ by approximately 1 star on a 5-star rating system.

Click here to see the films critics hate but audiences love.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

50. Shooter (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.2/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.6/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $124.2 million

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49. Chaplin (1992)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.6/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $20.4 million

48. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.8/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.9/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $76.8 million

47. Dreams (1990)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.0/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.8/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 6.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $4.1 million

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46. The Age of Adaline (2015)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.2/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.5/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $69.6 million

45. Saw (2004)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.5/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $149.4 million

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44. Across the Universe (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $38.1 million

43. Flipped (2010)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 6.0/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $2.0 million

42. The Accountant (2016)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.7/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $160.2 million

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41. The Judge (2014)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.6/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $92.3 million

 

40. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.2/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $390.2 million

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39. Me Before You (2016)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.6/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $214.7 million

38. The Book Thief (2013)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.6/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.7/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $84.1 million

37. The Blind Side (2009)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 6.1/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $368.2 million

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36. Hotel Transylvania (2012)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $402.0 million

 

35. 300 (2006)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 6.1/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $621.8 million

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34. Latter Days (2003)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.4/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $1.2 million

33. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.7/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $20.3 million

32. Brother (2000)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.2/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $25.3 million

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31. Detachment (2011)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $81,855

30. Soul Surfer (2011)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $53.0 million

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29. Green Street Hooligans (2005)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.5/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.5/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $4.4 million

28. Transformers (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $921.2 million

27. Life as a House (2001)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.5/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $37.7 million

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26. The Best Man Holiday (2013)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.9/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $80.0 million

25. The Stoning of Soraya M. (2008)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 8.0/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 6.0/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $1.4 million

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24. The Bucket List (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.1/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $227.6 million

23. Newsies (1992)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.0/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.9/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $6.1 million

 

22. Man on Fire (2004)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $187.4 million

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21. Chasing Mavericks (2012)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.2/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.9/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $6.7 million

20. Equilibrium (2002)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.5/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $8.2 million

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19. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 8.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $53.6 million

18. I Am Sam (2001)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.6/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.6/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $154.3 million

17. The Ultimate Gift (2006)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.0/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.1/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $4.7 million

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16. Miracles from Heaven (2016)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.0/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 5.0/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $76.3 million

15. August Rush (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.5/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $85.8 million

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14. The Longest Ride (2015)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.4/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $66.7 million

13. Step Up (2006)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.5/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.5/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $155.7 million

12. P.S. I Love You (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.1/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.4/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $203.6 million

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11. Warcraft (2016)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.9/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $447.7 million

10. The Life of David Gale (2003)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.6/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $57.7 million

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9. Little Boy (2015)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.5/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $6.9 million

8. Courageous (2011)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.6/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.0/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.8/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $38.9 million

7. Fireproof (2008)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.2/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.6/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $41.6 million

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6. Facing the Giants (2006)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.1/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $14.0 million

5. An American Crime (2007)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 7.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.0/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $1.7 million

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4. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.0/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.3/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $150.8 million

3. War Room (2015)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.8/10
> IMdb audience rating: 6.4/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.4/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $71.8 million

2. Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.0/10
> IMdb audience rating: 5.7/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 3.9/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $70.6 million

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1. The Boondock Saints (1999)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 8.4/10
> IMdb audience rating: 7.9/10
> Rotten Tomatoes critic rating: 4.2/10
> Inflation adjusted box office: $52,564

Detailed Findings & Methodology

Light, heartwarming films that follow generic formulae, contain recycled storylines and plots, and are predictable to experienced critics also tend to be polarizing. While normal moviegoers may enjoy the lighthearted fare, critics looking for originality and cinematic boldness may be left disappointed. One of the most clearly formulaic genres is the romantic comedy. “P.S. I Love You,” “August Rush,” and “The Blind Side” are some examples of formulaic rom-coms and dramas that audiences enjoy and critics hate.

One director dominates the list of films audiences love and critics hate. Four of the five films written, produced, and directed by Alex Kendrick — “War Room,” “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof,” and “Courageous” — are among the 10 films with the largest disparity between audience and critic rating. While those four films together have an average audience rating of 8.1/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, critics give the films an average rating of just 4.1/10. Many of Kendrick’s films center on religious themes and contain strong Christian messaging, which could be a losing formula for impressing critics. Many other Christianity-themed dramas make the list.

The gap between audience and critic ratings may be thinning in recent years. The internet has increased the number of film review platforms and allows for more people — many of them regular moviegoers — to write film reviews online. For many movies released in the past several years, there has been a stronger consensus among audience and critic. Of the 50 movies with the largest disparities between audience and critic ratings, 32 were released prior to 2010, before the rising popularity of film blogs like A.V. Club, Slashfilm, and IndieWire.

To determine the films audiences love but critics hate, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the difference between each film’s average user rating and average critic rating. The average user rating was calculated as an average of a given film’s Rotten Tomatoes’, average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database’s average user rating weighted by the number of votes placed for each. Critic ratings were the average critic score from Rotten Tomatoes. To be considered, each film needed to have at least 10,000 user ratings on IMDb, 5,000 audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, and 10 approved tomatometer critic reviews.

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