‘Black Panther’ Beats Out ‘The Wizard of Oz’ as the Best Reviewed Movie on Rotten Tomatoes

Since its release this last weekend, Black Panther has taken the world by storm.  There is seemingly no record that the latest Marvel movie can’t break.  It’s $235 million domestic opening shattered the previous best opening for a movie in February, Deadpool, which debuted to a comparatively scant $132 million.  In fact, with those numbers, it has the single highest grossing opening weekend of any superhero movie, previously held by The Avengers with $207 million.  What’s more, is that the only movie in history with a higher opening weekend haul is The Force Awakens and, even then, not by all that much.

It’s not just audiences that are buying into the hype, either.  Although it debuted with a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Black Panther hasn’t plunged among late-entry critics the way that you would expect it to.  It has dipped only 3% points, enough to make it the best reviewed superhero movie of all time, beating out the similarly lauded The Incredibles from more than a decade ago.  This means, broadly speaking, critics love the movie more than they do Iron Man or The Avengers or Civil War or Batman or The Dark Knight or even Superman!

Now the movie has cut another notch in its belt, and this might be the most shocking one yet.  Black Panther is now officially listed as the best movie of all time on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, beating out perennial favorite The Wizard of Oz for the coveted top spot.

If this confuses you, don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  On it’s face, it makes no sense that a movie with a 97% on the website beats out a movie with a perfect 100% rating.  That’s because it’s not strictly based on the movie’s aggregated score.

The Wizard of Oz sits at a 100% rating based on 110 reviews, only one of which is negative.  Black Panther, for comparison, has a 97% based on 310 reviews, only ten of which are negative.  In order to account for the difference between the number of reviews any movie receives, Rotten Tomatoes uses a complex statistical formula known as the Bayes’ Theorem to weight scores differently than they appear elsewhere on the website.  This allows older movies with comparatively fewer reviews to compete against the latest Hollywood offerings, which have considerably more reviews (and thus differing opinions) to inform their scores.

In this case, it allowed for Black Panther to sneak in and steal the crown from The Wizard of Oz despite having a lower aggregate score on the site.  That doesn’t mean that Black Panther is a strictly speaking “better movie,” because Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t actually measure how intensely liked a movie is.  Their binary measure of “fresh” or “rotten” simply determines how broadly liked a movie is: in other worse, whether people are more likely to enjoy it, not how much or little those people will.

The entire Rotten Tomatoes ‘Best Movies of All Time’ list includes:

Rank Rating Title No. of Reviews
1.   97% Black Panther (2018) 310
2.   99% The Wizard of Oz (1939) 110
3.   100% Citizen Kane (1941) 76
4.   99% The Third Man (1949) 79
5.   99% Get Out (2017) 300
6.   96% Call Me by Your Name (2018) 264
7.   97% Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 375
8.   100% Paddington 2 (2018) 187
9.   100% The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) (1920) 50
10.   100% All About Eve (1950) 64
11.   98% Inside Out (2015) 331
12.   98% Lady Bird (2017) 266
13.   99% Metropolis (1927) 116
14.   98% E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 119
15.   98% Moonlight (2016) 313
16.   97% Casablanca (1942) 77
17.   100% Modern Times (1936) 53
18.   98% It Happened One Night (1934) 52
19.   100% Singin’ in the Rain (1952) 50
20.   98% The Godfather (1972) 87
21.   97% Spotlight (2015) 323
22.   97% Psycho (1960) 86
23.   100% Laura (1944) 60
24.   98% A Hard Day’s Night (1964) 106
25.   98% The Big Sick (2017) 249
26.   97% La Grande illusion (Grand Illusion) (1938) 64
27.   92% Dunkirk (2017) 373
28.   100% North by Northwest (1959) 68
29.   97% Coco (2017) 268
30.   97% Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire) (1922) 62
31.   100% The Maltese Falcon (1941) 51
32.   97% Boyhood (2014) 291
33.   99% The Battle of Algiers (La Battaglia di Algeri) (1967) 83
34.   96% Gravity (2013) 326
35.   92% Wonder Woman (2017) 366
36.   98% Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 47
37.   96% 12 Years a Slave (2013) 324
38.   100% Repulsion (1965) 60
39.   98% King Kong (1933) 55
40.   98% Sunset Boulevard (1950) 60
41.   100% The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 45
42.   100% Rashômon (1951) 51
43.   98% Zootopia (2016) 256
44.   100% Rear Window (1954) 63
45.   93% Logan (2017) 328
46.   93% Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) 379
47.   96% Argo (2012) 318
48.   94% Arrival (2016) 344
49.   99% Toy Story 3 (2010) 293
50.   100% Toy Story 2 (1999) 163
51.   100% The Philadelphia Story (1940) 56
52.   100% The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 42
53.   88% The Post (2018) 314
54.   98% Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) (1949) 56
55.   91% Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) 361
56.   92% La La Land (2016) 382
57.   100% M (1931) 51
58.   98% Selma (2015) 242
59.   100% Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai) (1956) 57
60.   98% Taxi Driver (1976) 80
61.   97% Alien (1979) 104
62.   100% 12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men) (1957) 50
63.   100% The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 44
64.   98% Up (2009) 288
65.   100% All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) 42
66.   93% Baby Driver (2017) 311
67.   100% The 400 Blows (Les Quatre cents coups) (1959) 54
68.   96% Touch of Evil (1958) 71
69.   98% The Night of the Hunter (1955) 65
70.   98% A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) 55
71.   99% Rosemary’s Baby (1968) 69
72.   97% Army of Shadows (L’Armée des ombres) (1969) 73
73.   99% Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) 76
74.   99% Finding Nemo (2003) 260
75.   98% The Babadook (2014) 219
76.   92% The Shape of Water (2017) 325
77.   97% Hell or High Water (2016) 247
78.   98% Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 80
79.   93% Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) 302
80.   95% Manchester by the Sea (2016) 293
81.   95% The Jungle Book (2016) 293
82.   97% Brooklyn (2015) 251
83.   92% Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 321
84.   94% The Dark Knight (2008) 326
85.   100% Rebecca (1940) 48
86.   91% Phantom Thread (2018) 250
87.   100% The Conformist (1970) 50
88.   96% The Florida Project (2017) 234
89.   100% Frankenstein (1931) 45
90.   98% The Wrestler (2008) 223
91.   97% The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 69
92.   93% War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) 294
93.   99% L.A. Confidential (1997) 109
94.   100% The African Queen (1951) 40
95.   100% Open City (1946) 42
96.   100% Pinocchio (1940) 46
97.   92% Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) 312
98.   96% The 39 Steps (1935) 45
99.   100% Tokyo Story (Tôkyô monogatari) (1953) 42
100.   98% On the Waterfront (1954)  62

 

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