Trolls working to bring down ‘Ghostbusters’

by Stephanie Merry

As of this writing, the IMDb rating for “Ghostbusters” is sitting at 3.7/10. More than 6,500 users have weighed in on the movie, which is interesting considering it hasn’t even opened yet. The comedy has only screened for critics in some cities (D.C., for example, didn’t get a screening until Wednesday), and yet thousands of people have apparently seen the action comedy and flocked to IMDb to let their voices be heard.

And those voices have settled on an extremely low rating. It’s not exactly “Baby Geniuses 2” territory, but it’s especially dismal compared to Paul Feig’s other comedic collaborations with Melissa McCarthy, like “The Heat” (6.6), “Spy” (7.1) and “Bridesmaids” (6.8).

Of course, “Ghostbusters” isn’t just any action comedy. It’s the action comedy that whiny trolls claim they hate because it’s bad, rather than because it stars women. But let’s play along and assume the IMDb hate isn’t about sexism. Let’s just look at the numbers, which are admittedly fishy.

Of the 6,654 voters, 3,842, or 57.7 percent, gave the movie one star. A vast majority of the reviewers are men: 4,268, compared to 509 female voters. And the disparity between the way men and women vote is interesting. For example, in the demographic of users aged 18 to 29, 1,669 men averaged a 3.1 rating, while 243 women averaged 7.1. Even a stereotypically female-centric movie like “Pride & Prejudice” or “27 Dresses” doesn’t have that kind of stark divide.

It’s also worth looking at the top 1,000 voters – basically IMDb’s power users. Those voters, though always a small group, tend to vote pretty close to the overall average, although they’re also usually tougher on movies. With “Finding Dory,” for example, 80 top-1,000 voters averaged 7.8 while the overall rating was 7.9. To go back to the horrifyingly awful “Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2,” 206 top-1,000ers gave the movie 1.6, compared to an overall average of 1.9. For a bigger gap, see “Batman v Superman,” which the top 1,000 awarded 5.8 compared to a 7 average.

With “Ghostbusters,” only 21 of the top 1,000 have seen and voted on the movie (because, well, the movie hasn’t come out yet!), but they average a score of 5.1.

In other words, the campaign to force “Ghostbusters” to tank – which started with an epic turnout to downvote the movie’s trailer on Twitter – has continued apace. Why people spend so much time trolling a new release, rather than just opting not to see it, is anyone’s guess.

This looks a lot like a coordinated campaign, though counter-attacks are making it look like a bigger issue than it is. A Reddit user who has written pro-“Ghostbusters” opinions in the past posed as a hater, beginning a thread with: “OK, so obviously the reviews aren’t as bad as we had hoped. So what more can we do at this point to make sure that the public knows it’s terrible so that it bombs?” The media bought it.

Meanwhile, the picture looks less bleak for “Ghostbusters” in the critical realm. With 74 reviews in so far, 56 – or 76 percent – have been positive. It’s a rare day that studios appreciate the positivity of critics. So maybe “Ghostbusters” isn’t so bad after all. But don’t bother telling that to the conspiracy theorists: The new story is that Sony must have paid off critics. So much for logic.


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