Martin Scorsese bemoans the box office influence

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 11 October 2017
Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

Hollywood legend Martin Scorsese has bemoaned the obsession with box office figures in the film industry

Martin Scorsese has bemoaned the obsession with box office figures in the movie business.

The Academy Award-winning director has penned an essay in The Hollywood Reporter in which he's hit out at "research firms like Cinemascore" and "aggregators" like Rotten Tomatoes, claiming they have clouded the thinking of movie fans.

He wrote: "Box office is the undercurrent in almost all discussions of cinema, and frequently it's more than just an undercurrent.

"The brutal judgmentalism that has made opening weekend grosses into a bloodthirsty spectator sport seems to have encouraged an even more brutal approach to film reviewing.

"I'm talking about market research firms like Cinemascore, which started in the late '70s, and online 'aggregators' like Rotten Tomatoes, which have absolutely nothing to do with real film criticism."

Scorsese, 74, said that these organisations are guilty of reducing the role of a moviemaker to that of "a content manufacturer".

The Hollywood icon's essay continued: "They rate a picture the way you'd rate a horse at the racetrack, a restaurant in a Zagat's guide, or a household appliance in Consumer Reports.

"They have everything to do with the movie business and absolutely nothing to do with either the creation or the intelligent viewing of film. The filmmaker is reduced to a content manufacturer and the viewer to an unadventurous consumer.

"These firms and aggregators have set a tone that is hostile to serious filmmakers - even the actual name Rotten Tomatoes is insulting.

"And as film criticism written by passionately engaged people with actual knowledge of film history has gradually faded from the scene, it seems like there are more and more voices out there engaged in pure judgmentalism, people who seem to take pleasure in seeing films and filmmakers rejected, dismissed and in some cases ripped to shreds."

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