We Can Both Be Successful

I came across this article today, describing how a group of 2,000+ DC Comics fans are banding together to give Marvel’s new movie coming out (Black Panther) negative Rotten Tomato scores as soon as possible. Their goal? To give it an artificially low rating, thereby hoping to harm Disney and Marvel. Their reasoning? They believe Disney has been trying the same thing to DC movies, blaming that for the box office failure of Superman and the like. The Last Jedi suffered from the same sort of attack, and there are now stories out that it’s underperforming in the long term in the box office, so they have hope this could have similar results.

This is so wrongheaded on so many different levels, I’m not sure where to begin. First of all, having watched DC and Marvel movies, I’d have to say the reason DC movies aren’t doing better in the box office has more to do with the fact that they’re mediocre films than any clandestine smear campaigns. If you want to make a boatload of money, start by making fantastic movies.

Second, the concept of lying about reviews is something deeply disturbing to me. It’s this mentality that makes people give things 1 star on Amazon, because they’re upset something has too high of a rating. As if they need to give an extra harsh review to “balance” the ratings.

Ratings don’t need balance, people. They need honesty. That will naturally cause the ratings to end up at a balanced point. That point will be different for each item. Ideally, that’s how review aggregators work.

At the same time, anyone who listens solely to review aggregators to decide whether or not they want to read or watch something is someone who needs to reexamine their media consuming criteria. There are plenty of things out there I loved that many other people strongly disliked. Am I wrong for loving them? Of course not. Would I want to deprive myself of the chance to watch them, just because other people might think those shows/movies/books were bad? Never. That’s why I give new media a shot. And there are times I hate stuff other people love. That’s okay.

In the end, I hate the “us vs them” mentality behind this whole concept. That somehow there’s a limited amount of money out there, and in order for one book or movie or show to do well, it needs to show why other things are worse. That’s not how it works. Successful superhero movies make people want to go watch more successful superhero movies. A smash like Harry Potter didn’t kill all other fantasy books. It made a ton of new fantasy fans.

As an author, I *want* books in my genre to succeed. I want them all to succeed. The more that are bad, the more people might get turned off of a genre. The more that are good, the more fans I might attract. There is no “them” in “us vs. them.” It’s all just “us.”

I can’t imagine my words will convince anyone in that group to change their mind, but I still wanted it out there.

And for the record, I continue to love love love The Last Jedi. Just a fantastic movie. Here’s my review.

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