With over 17,000 signatures by the time he was done, Abdullah Coldwater withdrew his change.org petition to demand Rotten Tomatoes shut down, saying that he didn't expect it to become such a big deal.
"In fact i started this petition to gather DC fans to express our anger just for fun. I didn't mean it to be taken that serious," writes Coldwater, who started and administered the petition. "After thinking, I found this petition is pointless. And the only thing that it does is spreading a speech of hate and online fighting among the supporters and objectors . The movies is [sic] something to enjoy. And the hate and fight is the opposite of enjoying."
During the two days that the petition was online, it garnered a lot of media attention -- almost all of which was exasperated reports about fan entitlement and a whole lot of snark and meanness directed at Coldwater and those who signed his petition. His response, right up until he decided to close the whole thing down, was to continually post links and embed tweets in the petition's update feature, giving anybody who might consider signing a pretty complete picture of both the positive and negative responses the petition was getting.
Coldwater had launched the petition after the first wave of Suicide Squad reviews came back and they were significantly more negative than fans had expected based on a handful of well-received trailers. The petition claimed that DC's movies were being penalized too harshly by the binary nature of Rotten Tomatoes's review scoring system.
Currently, the movie review aggregator -- which collects the reviews of critics that meet their requirements, converts their reviews to simple "fresh" or "rotten" (good or bad) judgments, and then assigns a score to the movie based on the percentage of "fresh" reviews, has Batman v Superman sitting at 27%, Suicide Squad at 32%, and Man of Steel at 55%.
Fans scored Batman v Superman 65% fresh, and Man of Steel at 75%. Suicide Squad hasn't yet opened up fan voting because the movie's official release happens tomorrow at 6 p.m.
Metacritic, another review aggregator with a different method for calculating the "real" score, comes up with 44% for both Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. Batman v Superman currently has a 7 (out of 10) rating with fans on Metacritic.
The difference in scores between Rotten Tomatoes' 32% and Metacritic's 44 for Suicide Squad likely comes down to who's being asked. Metacritic draws from a different pool of reviews than does Rotten Tomatoes, and they take things into account like the actual "score" in a review. While an A+ rating can earn a movie 100 "points" toward a weighted average at Metacritic while a C+ earns it just 58, Rotten Tomatoes would assign both of those reviews a "fresh" rating and the same score. See also a C- score versus an F for "rotten" movies.
Rotten Tomatoes also tends to skew more toward traditional media, with the internet -- particularly fan and specialty press outlets -- less or unrepresented. This means that the people who are most enthusiastic about certain types of films -- particularly things like non-Marvel comic book movies, which are made to preach to an audience of the converted -- tend to take a hit. There's a (not entirely unfounded) perception that Marvel Studios have more success with "traditional" critics because they've cracked the code to making broadly appealing superhero fare, essentially by taking action movie conventions and using them to tell superhero stories.