IMDb Warns ‘Little Mermaid’ Being Review Bombed With ‘Unusual Activity’
All things considered given how Disney’s live-action remakes have performed lately, The Little Mermaid has gotten pretty good reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 68 percent from critics and a 95 percent from verified fans. On Metacritic, the movie has a 59 percent. Obviously, those numbers are way lower than the ones for the animated Little Mermaid, but when you compare them with recent Disney remakes like Dumbo (46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), The Lion King (52 percent), or Pinocchio (29 percent), they looks pretty darn respectable.
Over on IMDb, it looks much the same at first glance. The film’s rating is a solid 7.0 out of a possible 10 with 34,000 votes cast. But if you click through to the “User Ratings” page, you’ll see a disclaimer has been added to the top. It reads:
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.
In other words, The Little Mermaid has gotten so many negative votes — and not just negative, but 1s out of 10, the lowest possible score — that IMDb’s system recognized the film was getting “review bombed,” i.e. thousands of people who haven’t seen the movie were negatively reviewing it in order to deliberately and artificially drive down its score. (As of this writing, the new film has about 6,000 10/10 ratings, and about 13,000 1/10 ratings.)
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Because of the rise of review bombing in recent years, IMDb now sometimes calculates ratings with a “weighted” average, rather than simply using the raw data from users. (If they did, The Little Mermaid would currently be rated 4.7 out of 10 on the site.) When you click over to “learn more” about IMDb’s weighted vote averages, it reads:
The simplest way to explain it is that 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.
Ever since Halle Bailey was announced as the star of this updated version of The Little Mermaid, the film has been targeted by some fans. The film, directed by Rob Marshall, also stars Jonah Hauer-King, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula. The Little Mermaid is in theaters now. The film was the #1 title in theaters last weekend, grossing $117 million over the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. alone.