The box office numbers and audience reviews for “woke” movies have been tanking—and efforts to negate that problem are clearly part of the Hollywood machine’s promotion budget these days. This has never been more obvious than in the case of the live-action release of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), one of the top sites people turn to in order to decide whether or not they want to see a film, has taken unorthodox measures to curb the influx of terrible reviews the movie is getting.
In the audience review section for the Disney film, IMDB added the note:
Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied.
So, because the audience doesn’t like the film at such a high rate, the website has decided that it should alter the actual review numbers to make it look like the people like the movie, after all.
Deadline reported IMDb added a note that not all votes have the same weight on the final rating, but they didn’t want to say how they calculated the score. Essentially, IMDb admits they decided to alter the numbers in an arbitrary way.
‘Although we accept and consider all votes received by users, not all votes have the same impact (or ‘weight’) on the final rating. When unusual voting activity is detected, an alternate weighting calculation may be applied in order to preserve the reliability of our system,’ the website explains. However, it does not disclose the exact method used to generate the rating.
How did this impact the final rating of the film? As of this writing, “The Little Mermaid” on IMDb has over 34,000 ratings, of which roughly 14,000 (or 40.6 percent) are one-stars. Yet the average score, according to the site, is a seven out of 10. In short, it doesn’t matter if the majority of viewers—or even a plurality—didn’t like the new film. Their opinion no longer matters to IMDb. It gets a seven because they say so.
It’s interesting to think about why the site took such steps to alter the rating system in just this instance. It didn’t just magically happen, of course. Just as the influx of thousands of positive reviews for “The Little Mermaid” skewed the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes to 95 percent positive, what we’re really seeing is Disney marketing magic.
As you’re probably aware, there are no laws regulating the ratings and critiques posted on film review sites, nor are there regulations that limit how much advertising money these sites receive or disclose—and to uphold the First Amendment, there never should be. But users should be aware that lack of regulation allows such sites, ultimately, to do whatever they like—including directly or indirectly taking money to shape the way people think about certain films.
In a complex world, if a website’s users tank a Disney film, Disney might decide to drop sponsorships or usage of that site because they’re bothered by it. Review websites like their access in Hollywood as much as the next guy and, “we didn’t like how you treated us, so you can’t come to our opening night parties anymore,” would sting enough to also be a way for studios to negotiate how ratings are displayed. I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but it certainly isn’t out of the question.
Movie studios are multibillion-dollar companies that rely on good audience response to continue to make money. Why wouldn’t they act to alter their ratings for woke films on sites that will now simply calculate audience scores in the positive when they are clearly negative?
Fact is, DEI-laden films aren’t sitting well with audiences, and they’ve stopped going to theaters to see them. Marvel films have been in consistent decline since “Avengers: Endgame,” while the woke messaging in them has increased exponentially. That isn’t a coincidence.
As the old phrase goes, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” Here, you can alter the audience scores of a terrible movie, but it’s still a terrible movie.
The propaganda game to keep profits up might work. “The Little Mermaid” did make $164 million globally in its first week. But it won’t stop the ultimate decline studios are facing due to their decisions to push leftist propaganda.