Are film critics out of touch with the viewing public?

Our commissioned research shows there’s a large gap between critic and viewer ratings of film franchises, sparking debates over how useful film reviews are.

We looked at 30 popular film franchises — Harry Potter, Die Hard, and Rocky to name a few — and compared their Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores, along with Box Office opening weekend revenue.

The research suggests film critics, in the main, afford much harsher judgements than viewers.

Titles such as Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol were rated a devastating zero by Rotten Tomatoes film critics, whereas viewers rated the film a comparatively generous 4.8 on IMDb.

Twlight: Eclipse was the only title that saw harmony between viewer ratings and film critics, both scoring a paltry 4.9.

Critic ratings, however, seem to have little effect on the performance of subsequent films in the franchise.

What followed — Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 — outperformed Eclipse’s Box Office opening weekend revenue by approximately 108%, even with a 2.4 critic rating.

Despite the low critic score, Part 2 achieved the franchise’s highest viewer rating of 5.5, and matched its predecessor’s Box Office opening weekend takings.

The report, then, shows Box Office opening weekend revenue also flies in the face of critic and viewer ratings.

Captain Jack Sparrow returned in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and saw viewers award the film an average score of 7.3 on IMDb, with Box Office takings of $164 million.

Its successor, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, while scoring a similar 7.1 on IMDb, took just $16 million — a reduction of over 90%.

In light of this, how much attention should viewers pay to critics? It seems viewers may be best advised to keep an open mind until they can draw their own conclusions.

Look at the interactive guide and see for yourself.