The current Rotten Tomatoes score for Dune is 87%, which is a bit higher than the 85% Rotten Tomatoes average for the MCU (the best franchise to use as a Rotten Tomatoes benchmark due to its sample size and consistent performance on the platform) yet the actual average review score is 8 out of 10, which is far higher than the MCU’s 7.2 average. Another recent blockbuster, The Suicide Squad, has a higher score on the Tomatometer with 91%, but its average review score is lower than Dune’s at 7.5 out of 10. Since Rotten Tomatoes only reflects the percentage of reviews that are generally positive vs generally negative, the score isn’t influenced by just how positive or negative the individual reviews are, only whether the score is thumbs up or thumbs down.
But when the pandemic arrived, the fittingly titled “No Time to Die” was put on ice for a year and a half while MGM and United Artists Releasing awaited the right conditions to open a film that cost at least $250 million to make.I’ve never experienced anything like this. There have been releases that come out later but never by that much — especially because we broke our backs just trying to get done in time. So it’s been strange. You want to watch it with an audience and see how people react. But you just kind of put it behind you. What I haven’t gotten on this one is the satisfaction of anyone else seeing the film and saying “I hated it” or “I like it.” That’s the part you’re waiting for. Some people are going to like. Some people aren’t going to like it. But you still want to hear it. Even if you don’t want to hear it, you want to hear it.
As a result, there tends to be a blindspot for more auteur-driven blockbusters. The same thing was seen with Blade Runner 2049, which had an 88% score and 8.2 out of 10 average review score. The real poster child for this Rotten Tomatoes flaw is Joker, which is only 68% despite a 7.3 average review score. In fact, looking to another review aggregator, Metacritic, which divides reviews into positive, mixed, and negative, shows there’s no actual negative reviews for Dune, only a handful of more mild “mixed” scores, which Rotten Tomatoes counts as “Rotten” scores.