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Rotten Tomatoes vs. IMDb — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Published on February 9, 2024
Rotten Tomatoes aggregates critic and audience reviews to give movies a fresh or rotten score, while IMDb offers detailed movie data and user ratings.
Rotten Tomatoes vs. IMDb — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb


Key Differences

Rotten Tomatoes is known for its binary rating system that classifies movies as 'Fresh' or 'Rotten' based on the percentage of positive reviews. IMDb, on the other hand, provides a more nuanced 10-point rating scale, allowing users to rate movies from 1 to 10.
Rotten Tomatoes separates its ratings into two main categories: the Tomatometer, which reflects the opinions of professional critics, and the audience score, representing viewer feedback. IMDb combines ratings from its vast user base to give a single, averaged score for each title.
Rotten Tomatoes uses a specific methodology for its Tomatometer score, requiring a certain number of reviews for a movie to be considered "Certified Fresh." IMDb's rating system is more straightforward, aggregating all user-submitted ratings to calculate its score.
Rotten Tomatoes is often used by moviegoers to quickly gauge the critical consensus of a film. In contrast, IMDb serves as a comprehensive database, offering extensive information beyond ratings, such as cast, crew, trivia, and more.
While Rotten Tomatoes focuses primarily on review aggregation, IMDb offers a wider range of features, including detailed movie and TV show databases, actor biographies, and industry news, making it a broader resource for entertainment information.

Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Review aggregation with a fresh or rotten score
Comprehensive movie database with user ratings

Rating System

Fresh or Rotten based on critic reviews
1 to 10 scale based on user ratings

Audience Engagement

Audience score alongside critic reviews
User reviews and ratings

Additional Features

Certified Fresh status, critic consensus
Cast and crew details, trivia, industry news

Industry Influence

Influences public perception with simple scores
Used as a reference for detailed movie information

Compare with Definitions

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes provides audience scores reflecting viewer opinions.
The audience score on Rotten Tomatoes was more favorable than the critics' score.


IMDb serves as a resource for industry professionals and movie enthusiasts alike.
IMDb is my go-to source for the latest film and TV news.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes offers a 'Certified Fresh' badge for highly-rated movies.
Earning a 'Certified Fresh' badge on Rotten Tomatoes can significantly boost a movie's reception.


IMDb allows users to rate movies on a scale from 1 to 10.
The film has an impressive 8.5 rating on IMDb, indicating widespread acclaim.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes uses a Tomatometer to quantify the percentage of positive reviews.
A high Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes often correlates with box office success.


IMDb includes user reviews and ratings for a comprehensive overview.
Before watching a movie, I read several IMDb user reviews to set my expectations.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregation website for movies and TV shows.
The film got a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating strong critical approval.


IMDb provides detailed movie information, including plot summaries and trivia.
For in-depth movie details, I always check IMDb.

Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes rates movies as 'Fresh' or 'Rotten' based on critic reviews.
Despite its popularity, the movie was rated 'Rotten' on Rotten Tomatoes.


IMDb is an online database for movies, TV shows, and celebrities.
I looked up the movie's cast on IMDb to find more about the actors.

Common Curiosities

Can anyone submit reviews on Rotten Tomatoes?

While anyone can submit audience reviews, critic reviews are only counted from approved critics and publications.

How does Rotten Tomatoes calculate its scores?

Rotten Tomatoes calculates the Tomatometer score based on the proportion of positive reviews from accredited critics.

How does IMDb rating work?

IMDb's rating is an average of user-submitted ratings on a scale from 1 to 10.

What is Rotten Tomatoes?

Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregation website that provides a 'Fresh' or 'Rotten' score based on the percentage of positive critic reviews.

What kind of information can I find on IMDb?

IMDb provides extensive details including plot summaries, cast and crew information, trivia, ratings, and user reviews.

What is IMDb?

IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is an online database offering detailed information about movies, TV shows, actors, and film industry professionals.

How are IMDb ratings updated?

IMDb updates its ratings in real-time as users submit their ratings.

Can anyone rate movies on IMDb?

Yes, any registered IMDb user can rate movies and contribute to the overall score.

What does 'Certified Fresh' mean on Rotten Tomatoes?

'Certified Fresh' is a distinction awarded to movies with a high Tomatometer score and a certain number of reviews.

Is Rotten Tomatoes owned by a larger company?

Yes, Rotten Tomatoes is currently owned by Fandango Media.

How comprehensive is IMDb's database?

IMDb's database is vast, covering nearly every movie and TV show ever made, along with cast and crew details.

Can Rotten Tomatoes scores affect a movie's box office performance?

Yes, Rotten Tomatoes scores can influence public perception and, indirectly, a movie's success at the box office.

Why might there be a discrepancy between Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores?

The discrepancy often arises because Rotten Tomatoes focuses on critic reviews, while IMDb's ratings are derived from a broader audience base.

Is IMDb free to use?

Yes, IMDb offers free access to its database, with optional premium services for industry professionals.

How does audience feedback influence Rotten Tomatoes scores?

Audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes reflect the opinions of viewers, separate from the critic-based Tomatometer.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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