But for the grace of Toy Story(s)

Tomatometer ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, April 11-14, 2011.
Yearly top grossing films are as listed on Wikipedia.

17 Comments on "But for the grace of Toy Story(s)"

  1. This is interesting but also pretty inaccurate. Rottentomatoes doesn’t have a database of every review written about films at their release, so the reviews of films from 1950 don’t reflect viewpoints of that particular period. Of course, the reviews of old classics are overwhelmingly positive– they’re already considered classics! Trust me, after taking enough film classes, there were TONS of duds produced in the ’50s… they just get filed away into the “let’s pretend MGM didn’t just spend many thousands on that rubbish” cabinet.

  2. You know who we have to thank for the decline of the film making industry? George Lucas. Yea. I said it. An over-abundance of special effects have destroyed the art.

  3. How can we say that movie quality has declined? I just got done watching “Great Expectations”, which came out in 1946, and yes, it was a fantastic movie! However, I watched ‘Inception’ last night and it too was a fantastic movie. Age does not define a movie, CONTENT DOES! Do you also not realize that this is chock full of statistical errors? It’s showing not only amateur reviews, but also only looking at the highest grossing films of the year, not necessarily the ones that are of good quality make. People can be swayed to shell out money for drek, but the true quality films aren’t judged by money. If anything, the quality of the American moviegoer is declining. They’re wowed by everything except the content. Remember LOTR? Why did people go see it? BIG ACTION SCENES! Why will it be remembered as a classic? Because it was able to exemplify both quality make and quality content, even with so many special effects. Don’t rank on movies nowadays, your kids can do that for you.

  4. Looking with only a statistical eye; one can say that the graph certainly demonstates a widening gap between people’s expectations and movie quality.
    It can be said to some extent that the capacity to make a movie of quality has never been more widespread, and that we must therefore have some increase in quality.
    The two main factors counted against this argument are of course that far more people water down the creative vision in a large movie today than ever before; and that nostalgia leaves only the finest movies at their finest moments to remain in our minds for any given past era.

    Directors and actors work towards being free of the restraints imposed by producers and the dull wants of sales figures; but few retain the creative modesty required to produce flawless film once they have that control.

  5. But ‘Inception’ ISN’T a good movie. It’s more crap reviewed by critics in a studio’s pocket.

    When “The King’s Speech” wins that many Oscars, you know something is amiss. Was it a bad movie? No, it wasn’t; but it sure as hell wasn’t MOVIE OF THE YEAR material. Unless of course, every other movie was so damn bad that anything would look good in comparison.

  6. Does no good to pick and choose movies to defend/destroy the above graphic, unless you choose all the top-grossing movies from the years discussed. Not your favorite ones or the “best” ones. The top-grossing ones, which is what the graphic illustrates. Also, “Gone with the Wind” is a horrible movie.

  7. To give an idea of how “top grossing” does not mean “best films:”

    Requiem For A Dream is considered by many to be an exceptionally artistic film, but it is was also a complete and total box-office flop because of it’s NC17 rating (which had a lot to do with it’s being an independent film, and ‘edgy’ for the time).

    On the other hand, Twilight.

  8. Somebody needs to take a statistics course. If the top horizontal line of the graph is 100% and the bottom is 50%, that means the bottom half of the graph has been lopped off. This chart gives the false impression that the public is dwelling at the bottom of the barrel.

  9. How about giving us either the same chart but of the top 50 or more grossing films of the year or flip it: put box office money (adjusted for inflation) on the Y-axis and show the earnings of the “freshest” movies of each year.

  10. How many of the old movies were reviewed at the time of their release vs. after the fact? This would definitely create a skew as many “classic” movies only come to be loved because they are now considered classics? (In other words, their importance is a self-fulfilling prophecy.)

    I’d much rather see a graph based on reviews published at the time of release.

  11. Everyone, yes, I certainly agree. The information available is far, far less than perfect. Which is why I can’t pretend to mean anything by these charts – I can only mention what exactly is being shown. If you can point to any lists of the top 100 grossing movies per year, present to some time ago – or a better source for contemporaneous reviews of older movies, converted to any numerical value – please link to it in the comments (or email it to the address below!). I thank you in advance.

  12. There may be another explanation, not that movies have become worst, but that most people don’t go to the cinema to see the “good” ones. One example: The Shawshank Redemption is not in the top ten grossing movie of 1994 and yet it’s probably the best of that year ( at least better than the Flinstones 6th top grossing of that year ).

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