Vulture has published an article that alleges Bunker 15, a movie-publicity company, has been manipulating Rotten Tomatoes and some of its Tomatometer scores for the last few years by paying off reviewers for positive reviews. The idea of this is nothing new and has been speculated by many for quite some time, but according to some of the critics that Vulture spoke with, some “reviewers” are doing this for as low as $50 a review. Ophelia, a feminist retelling of Hamlet that stars Daisy Ridley, is one of the movies that benefited from this arrangement, Vulture reported. (Rotten Tomatoes appears to be have scrubbed its page and reviews for Ophelia completely.)
….Bunker 15 takes a more bottom-up approach, recruiting obscure, often self-published critics who are nevertheless part of the pool tracked by Rotten Tomatoes. In another break from standard practice, several critics say, Bunker 15 pays them $50 or more for each review. (These payments are not typically disclosed, and Rotten Tomatoes says it prohibits “reviewing based on a financial incentive.”)
Between October 2018 and January 2019, Rotten Tomatoes added eight reviews to Ophelia’s score. […] Ophelia climbed the Tomatometer to 62 percent, flipping from rotten to “fresh.” The next month, the distributor IFC Films announced that it had acquired Ophelia for release in the U.S.