Special Report

Movies Audiences Hate But Critics Love

Moviegoers rely on film critics to give an honest assessment of a movie so they can avoid wasting their money and their time on a bad movie. Yet sometimes these two groups are at odds, with some critics reviewers turning up their noses at blockbusters or slapstick comedies that regular movie fans enjoy.

However, sometimes these roles are reversed — with critics heaping praise onto a film that most audience members end up disliking. Through film history, there have been a wide variety of movies that despite receiving rave reviews from professional critics, that audiences ended up hating. 

To determine the movies that critics audiences love but audiences critics hate, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience and critic ratings from Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. Films were ranked based on the difference between a film’s Tomatometer score — the percentage of professional critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes that are positive — and the weighted average of audience ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. 

Many of the films on this list fall into one of two categories — children’s movies and horror films. While critics are reviewing films for aspects like pacing and artistic choices, audiences may overlook a movie intended for kids or be repulsed by the gory or frightening scenes in a horror movie. 

Having a wide gap between what critics and audience members think seems to be a relatively new phenomenon. Of the 30 movies on this list, just six were released before the year 2000. This is also the case with films that the audiences loved but critics do did not — nearly all of them were released in the last 20 years. These are the movies audiences love but critics hate.

Click here to see movies audiences hate but critics love

To determine the movies that critics love but audiences hate, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on audience and critic ratings from Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. Films were ranked based on the difference between a film’s Tomatometer score — the percentage of professional critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes that are positive — and the weighted average of audience ratings on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. The average audience score was weighted by the number of audience reviews on IMDb and on Rotten Tomatoes. Only films with at least 25,000 audience reviews on either IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes, 10 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, a Rotten Tomatoes audience rating of less than 70%, and a  critic rating of at least 75% were included. Supplemental data on domestic box office came from film industry site The Numbers.

Source: Courtesy of Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution

30. Big Game (2014)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 50% (31,558 votes)
> RT critics rating: 78% (89 votes)
> Directed by: Jalmari Helander
> Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Onni Tommila, Ray Stevenson

Typically, blockbuster action movies are adored by audiences and panned by critics — but for 2014’s “Big Game,” the opposite was true. The film centers on a Finnish teenager who witnesses a plane crash, only to realize it was Air Force One, and that the president is being hunted by kidnappers. Together, the two must get away from their pursuers and to the safety of the U.S. Special Forces.

Of the 89 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, 78% were positive. However, just 34% of the over 5,000 audience reviews said “Big Game” was any good. The film was a box office flop, taking in just $3.6 million worldwide.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

29. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 63% (847,277 votes)
> RT critics rating: 92% (269 votes)
> Directed by: Sam Raimi
> Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Ruth Livier

“Drag Me to Hell” is a supernatural horror film about a bank loan officer, who does not extend an elderly woman’s mortgage. In retaliation, the old woman puts a powerful curse on the loan officer, who is now turning to a psychic for help. Critics have praised the movie for its horror scenes.

Source: Courtesy of Neon

28. Revenge (2017)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 64% (37,576 votes)
> RT critics rating: 93% (134 votes)
> Directed by: Coralie Fargeat
> Starring: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe

In “Revenge,” a woman survives a hunting trip after being left for dead by her married boyfriend and his friends. She is now hunting them down. The thriller movie “slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely — yet never less than viscerally thrilling — feminist spin,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus. Some viewers did not like the movie because they thought it was unrealistic.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

27. Babe (1995)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 67% (508,833 votes)
> RT critics rating: 97% (70 votes)
> Directed by: Chris Noonan
> Starring: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Christine Cavanaugh

“Babe” is a bonafide classic, telling the story of a piglet who shows he has some special skills and a big heart, bonding with other farm animals and impressing his new owner. Critics found the film charming and sweet, with nearly all giving “Babe” a positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet only about two-thirds of audience reviews on RT were positive, with some dismissing the film as just another kids movie with talking animals.

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Source: Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

26. Teeth (2007)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 50% (41,800 votes)
> RT critics rating: 80% (70 votes)
> Directed by: Mitchell Lichtenstein
> Starring: Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais

“Teeth” is described in the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus as “smart, original, and horrifically funny.” The film turns horror movie tropes about virginity on their head, when a high school girl learns that her anatomy contains a grisly secret. Simon Reynolds of Digital Spy says the film is “probably too lurid and graphic for the mainstream’s tastes,” which helps explain why just 45% of audience members on RT said they enjoyed “Teeth,” compared to 80% of critics.

Source: Courtesy of USA Films

25. Nurse Betty (2000)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 53% (35,289 votes)
> RT critics rating: 83% (131 votes)
> Directed by: Neil LaBute
> Starring: Renée Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock

“Nurse Betty” is a comedy about a woman’s obsession with a doctor in a soap opera. She travels to meet him in person (while she is being chased by a hitman). Critics praised the actors’ performance, and Renée Zellweger won a Golden Globe for her performance as Betty.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

24. Freaky Friday (2003)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 58% (932,429 votes)
> RT critics rating: 88% (155 votes)
> Directed by: Mark Waters
> Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon

Critics freaked for the 2003 remake of “Freaky Friday,” bestowing upon it an 88% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site’s Critics Consensus cites the charming performances of Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in this fun body-switching movie. Viewers, on the other hand, thought the film was awkward, corny, and a cliché.

Source: Courtesy of Film & TV House

23. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 59% (27,025 votes)
> RT critics rating: 91% (11 votes)
> Directed by: Adam Robitel
> Starring: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang

Few films have polarized critics and audiences like the 2014 found footage horror film “The Taking of Deborah Logan.” The film centers on a mother and daughter who are being recorded as part of a thesis project, when the mother starts showing signs that she is possessed. Though more than 90% of critic reviewers liked the film, less than half of audience reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a positive review.

Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

22. Chicken Run (2000)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 66% (548,773 votes)
> RT critics rating: 97% (172 votes)
> Directed by: Peter Lord, Nick Park
> Starring: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels

The stop-motion animated film “Chicken Run” is one of the few on this list in which a significant majority of both audience members and critics gave the film positive marks. Though generally positive, audiences were somewhat lukewarm on the film, with 65% of Rotten Tomatoes reviews giving it a thumbs up. Yet nearly every single critic liked the movie, with the Critics consensus praising the voice acting, the comedy, and action sequences.

“Chicken Run” tells the story of an American rooster that crash lands in a British farm, inspiring the local hens to flee before they’re turned into chicken pot pies.

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Source: Courtesy of Narrative Capital

21. Stephanie Daley (2006)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 59% (49,281 votes)
> RT critics rating: 90% (51 votes)
> Directed by: Hilary Brougher
> Starring: Tilda Swinton, Amber Tamblyn, Timothy Hutton

“Stephanie Daley” tells the story of two women — a pregnant psychologist with a history of giving birth to a stillborn and her patient who stands trial for killing her newborn baby. “The premise has all the trappings of melodrama, but the excellent performances give the characters complexity and empathy,” according to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus. Some viewers, however, described the movie as overrated and uninteresting.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

20. Splash (1984)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 60% (123,572 votes)
> RT critics rating: 91% (43 votes)
> Directed by: Ron Howard
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy

“Splash” arguably launched Tom Hanks’ career. He plays a man who falls in love with a mermaid (Daryl Hannah). Critics fell in love with the enchanting tale, which still holds a 91% Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes. Viewers, however, did not respond with the same affection, with only 58% giving the fantasy romantic story a positive rating. Some audience members called it silly, and some thought Hanks and Hannah had no chemistry.

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

19. Lassie (1994)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 56% (33,831 votes)
> RT critics rating: 88% (16 votes)
> Directed by: Daniel Petrie
> Starring: Helen Slater, Tom Guiry, Jon Tenney

“Lassie” is an adventure comedy-drama about the profound bond between a boy and his rough collie, Lassie. The films are based on Eric Knight’s 1940 novel “Lassie Come-Home.” The film was generally reviewed positively by critics but only about half of audience reviewers liked it. They prefer the remake, which was released in 2005.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

18. Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 43% (126,318 votes)
> RT critics rating: 75% (136 votes)
> Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
> Starring: Alexa PenaVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas

While the vast majority of critics thought the second installment of the “Spy Kids” franchise was worth a watch, most audience members disagreed. “Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams” sees two siblings follow in their parents’ footsteps of espionage, jetting off to a mysterious island to stop a mysterious villain, while also contending with a rival set of sibling Spy Kids. Despite the negative feedback from audiences, Spy Kids 2 did well enough at the box office to spawn two more sequels.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 51% (32,495,606 votes)
> RT critics rating: 83% (230 votes)
> Directed by: Tim Burton
> Starring: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly

Only about half of audience members said they enjoyed the 2005 reboot of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Johnny Depp as the enigmatic Willy Wonka. Many critics were charmed by Tim Burton’s visually innovative directing and Depp’s performance. Yet some reviewers said Depp’s Wonka came off as “creepy” and “bizarre” and that viewers would be better off watching the original 1971 film.

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Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

16. Coriolanus (2011)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 60% (31,199 votes)
> RT critics rating: 92% (156 votes)
> Directed by: Ralph Fiennes
> Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Brian Cox

“Coriolanus” is a modern retelling of the Shakespeare play of the same name. Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, the film tells the story of decorated general Caius “Coriolanus” Martius, who is ousted from Rome. As a result, Coriolanus teams up with a sworn enemy to destroy the city he once defended. The Critics Consensus said the film was “electrifying and relevant in a modern context,” but less than 60% of Rotten Tomatoes audience members gave it a positive review.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

15. The Informant! (2009)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 47% (359,280 votes)
> RT critics rating: 79% (233 votes)
> Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
> Starring: Matt Damon, Tony Hale, Patton Oswalt

Matt Damon teamed up with “Ocean’s Eleven” director Steven Soderbergh for 2009’s “The Informant!” The film centers on an agricultural corporation vice president who works as an informant for the FBI, gathering information about the company’s price fixing scheme. Critics said the film was an effective satire of corporate life, but 56% of audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were negative.

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Source: Courtesy of First Look International

14. Little Fish (2005)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 57% (80,003 votes)
> RT critics rating: 90% (29 votes)
> Directed by: Rowan Woods
> Starring: Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving

“Little Fish” stars Cate Blanchett as a recovering heroin addict who must avoid falling into old patterns when she starts dating her one-time ex-boyfriend while also taking care of another addict. Critics praised the acting performances from Blanchett as well as co-stars like Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving. But many moviegoers found “Little Fish” too slow and its subject matter too bleak.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

13. Splice (2009)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 42% (252,003 votes)
> RT critics rating: 75% (196 votes)
> Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
> Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac

“Splice” is a horror movie about geneticists who create a human-animal hybrid creature. At first, their creation seems like a scientific breakthrough, but they soon realize they got more than they bargained for. Three-quarters of critics on Rotten Tomatoes recommended the film, with the Critics’ Consensus calling it a “smart, well-acted” sci-fi film. But less than half of the over 250,000 users who reviewed “Splice” said the film was good.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

12. War of the Worlds (2005)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 42% (32,518,946 votes)
> RT critics rating: 75% (264 votes)
> Directed by: Steven Spielberg
> Starring: Tom Cruise, Dakota Fanning, Tim Robbins

In the 2005 update to H.G. Wells’ classic alien invasion story “War of the Worlds,” Tom Cruise stars as a father who has to overcome his strained relationship with his kids to keep them safe from bloodthirsty extraterrestrials.

Though the film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 75% of critics giving it a positive review, just 42% of moviegoers said they enjoyed it. The polarizing film was a financial success, earning over $600 million internationally and ranking as the third highest-grossing film in the 2005 U.S. box office, behind only the Star Wars and Harry Potter films released that year.

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Source: Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

11. The Innkeepers (2011)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 45% (93,100 votes)
> RT critics rating: 79% (121 votes)
> Directed by: Ti West
> Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis

“The Innkeepers” is a suspenseful horror mystery film about the two last employees of a haunted hotel who search for ghosts. Critics were about twice as likely to enjoy the film as a regular moviegoer — the movie is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with 79% of critics giving it positive marks. Yet just 42% of audience members gave the film a passing grade.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

10. King Kong (2005)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 50% (33,766,734 votes)
> RT critics rating: 84% (267 votes)
> Directed by: Peter Jackson
> Starring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody

This remake of the 1933 classic of the same name was praised by critics for its special effects and the performances of the leading actors. The movie tells the story of an actress who forms a bond with a giant ape after he kidnaps her. “King Kong” (2005) is one of the most expensive movies ever made. Though viewers were less impressed with the movie, it still turned a profit.

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Source: Courtesy of Third Rail Releasing

9. Rogue (2007)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 60% (28,298 votes)
> RT critics rating: 94% (17 votes)
> Directed by: Greg McLean
> Starring: Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington

“Rogue” follows an American travel journalist who goes on a cruise assignment in the Australian outback where he soon finds himself in a fight for his life against a giant man-eating crocodile. Most critics loved the nature’s revenge flick, calling it thoughtful, suspenseful, and entertaining. Viewers, on the other hand, described it as forgettable and bland.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

8. Cam (2018)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 59% (27,641 votes)
> RT critics rating: 93% (99 votes)
> Directed by: Daniel Goldhaber
> Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters

“Cam” tells the story of an ambitious young camgirl who is suddenly replaced on her own show by a woman who looks exactly like her. Most critics gave the horror mystery thrilling reviews with some even comparing the film to Oscar-winning “Get Out.” Only 54% of viewers on Rotten Tomatoes, however, liked the movie.

Source: Courtesy of The Filmgroup

7. The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 57% (54,903 votes)
> RT critics rating: 92% (13 votes)
> Directed by: Roger Corman
> Starring: Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles

“The Little Shop of Horrors” follows a young man who works in a flower shop. He accidentally breeds a carnivorous plant and has to commit murder to keep it fed. The movie became something of a cult classic; it was re-made in 1986 and yet another version may be in the works starring Scarlett Johansson.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

6. Arachnophobia (1990)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 56% (225,755 votes)
> RT critics rating: 93% (42 votes)
> Directed by: Frank Marshall
> Starring: Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, John Goodman

“Arachnophobia” follows two men — an exterminator and an arachnophobe — who fight deadly spiders to prevent an infestation in their small town. The movie still holds a 93% Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes, but only just over half of viewers gave the film a positive review.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

5. Stuart Little 2 (2002)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 44% (179,730 votes)
> RT critics rating: 81% (124 votes)
> Directed by: Rob Minkoff
> Starring: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie

The likeable mouse returns in “Stuart Little 2” to save a friend from an evil falcon. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus, the animated movie is “a sweet, visually impressive sequel that provides wholesome entertainment for kids.” Most viewers, however, did not like it, describing it as predictable.

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Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

4. Antz (1998)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 54% (652,010 votes)
> RT critics rating: 92% (93 votes)
> Directed by: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson
> Starring: Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman

Woody Allen reprises a typical role for him — that of a neurotic character. In “Antz,” he is the voice of a neurotic but rebellious ant that tries to escape its colony but then falls in love with the ant princess. The animated film was praised by both critics and viewers for its special effects, but only the critics enjoyed the plot.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

3. About a Boy (2002)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 55% (31,164,074 votes)
> RT critics rating: 93% (187 votes)
> Directed by: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
> Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette

“About a Boy” is sort of a coming-of-age movie but about an immature adult who is being taught how to act like a grown-up by a boy. The comedy-drama is still highly praised by critics, who liked not only the script but the main actors’ performances as well.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

2. Spy Kids (2001)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 48% (427,471 votes)
> RT critics rating: 93% (128 votes)
> Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
> Starring: Alexa PenaVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas

“Spy Kids” is the first movie of the Spy Kids franchise. In the 2001 movie, two kids go on a mission to save their parents, who are former spies, from an evil mastermind. Most critics really enjoyed the movie, describing it as fun and entertaining. Viewers were less keen. Only 48% gave the action comedy a positive rating. Some even called it cheesy and lame.

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Source: Courtesy of Netflix

1. Cuties (2020)
> RT and IMDb avg audience rating: 31% (27,737 votes)
> RT critics rating: 87% (79 votes)
> Directed by: Maïmouna Doucouré
> Starring: Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou

“Cuties” is a coming-of-age film about an 11-year-old girl from a conservative family who joins a dance troupe and grows aware of her femininity, much to the dismay of her mother. Critics have called the movie honest and thoughtful. The film holds an 88% Freshness score. Only 16% of viewers, however, liked it, with many saying the film sexualizes the young actresses.

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