Those 'amazing audience reviews' for Gotti might actually be fake

Ben Arnold
(Credit: Vertical Entertainment)

The new mob drama Gotti, starring John Travolta as the infamous ‘Teflon Don’ John Gotti Sr, has decided to try and turn its terrible critical reception on its head.

In an unusual move, it’s decided to attack the critics in its marketing plan.

“Audiences loved Gotti but critics don’t want you to see it… The question is why???” reads the tweet from the movie’s official feed.

“Audiences loved Gotti. Critics put out the hit. Who would you trust more? Yourself or a troll behind a keyboard,” read another.

‘Trolls behind a keyboard’? Ouch. That stings.

These ‘audiences loved’ the movie claims have come from rave user reviews seen on Rotten Tomatoes, where it’s audience approval score has risen to as high as 77% (compared to the critical rating of a rare 0%).

But it seems there might be something a little suspicious about those figures.

ScreenJunkies writer Dan Murrell has already called it out pretty forcefully.

To put it in context, there’s a stunning 7,055 user ratings (that’s comparable to the number of user ratings so far for Incredibles 2), despite the movie only being released on 500 screens in the US, which also doesn’t quite fit with the lowly $1.7 million it brought in at the box office last weekend.

Further inspection by one Reddit user also throws up other areas of suspicion.

“I went to take a look at the written reviews on RT and of the first 58 reviewers with an available profile, 45 had created their account in June 2018. Out of these 45, 32 have only reviewed Gotti, 10 reviewed Gotti and another movie (7 times it was American Animals for some reason) and 3 had more than 3 reviews,” wrote wunder_3.

“Of the remaining 13 accounts, 8 looked normal and 5 had created their account in December (The Last Jedi?) so those were probably legit.”

Read more: Every terrible movie with 0% on Rotten Tomatoes

It’s worth noting that both Gotti and the movie American Animals were both acquired by MoviePass Ventures in the US, the new distribution spin-off of the company that provides the all-you-can-eat movie-ticket subscription product in the States.

MoviePass itself has also pushed messages to subscribers which read ‘Audiences love Gotti but critics think otherwise. Who do you trust? See it today?’, aping that seen by the movie’s producers.

A quick look at the some of the user reviews does suggest that some ‘users’ haven’t put their all into their reviews (‘movie was entertaining’, ‘great movie must see’).

Rotten Tomatoes has found itself at the centre of user manipulation in the past, but in the other direction, where movies like Black Panther and Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been down-voted in targeted campaigns.

But while some of these figures are seriously questionable, perhaps with its critics’ score of 0%, a rarity on Rotten Tomatoes, cinema-goers might be tempted into the multiplex simply out of curiosity.

It’s yet to be released in the UK.

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