Special Report

Movies Critics Love but Audiences Hate

Detailed findings:

Perhaps critics’ greatest weakness is for children’s movies. Critics often identify such films as quality efforts, even though they may not watch them for fun outside the duties of their occupation. Approximately two out of every five films on our list were made for children or for family enjoyment. Critics have given exceptionally favorable reviews to films such as “Babe,” “Antz,” and “The Witches,” though none particularly resonated with audiences.

The movies on our list also include multiple examples of recent films by directors with major previous hits under their belts. Sofia Coppola’s remake of “The Beguiled,” Judd Apatow’s Amy Schumer vehicle “Trainwreck,” and the Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” were particularly well reviewed by critics. In these cases, it’s possible that critics were more open to new films by trusted directors than audiences were.

One courtesy that is not extended to critics in the same way it is to audiences is the ability to reevaluate initial ratings. Film critics generally write their reviews upon a film’s release and that opinion does not publicly change. Online ratings from moviegoers, on the other hand, can be frequently adjusted. Therefore, films that were cultural touchstones upon their release – such as “Saturday Night Fever” and “The Blair Witch Project” – have extremely high critic ratings and lackluster audience support.


To determine the films critics love but audiences 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’ audience rating, and IMDb’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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