Critical Dissonance / Film

Sometimes, critics and the public don't see eye to eye.
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    Directors and Actors 
  • Wes Anderson is a rare example of being this among both critics and audience members. Many consider his style too artsy, eccentric, and hipster-ish, while others flock to his movies for the very same reason. He is a very polarizing taste. Some, like The Life Aquatic, are loved by many Anderson fans, but more mixed among critics. Others, like Moonrise Kingdom, are loved by critics but generally mixed among Wes Anderson fans. Still others, like Fantastic Mr. Fox, have gotten almost no attention, either negative or positive, from audience members and critics, and become ignored masterpieces. However, fans and critics alike seem to enjoy The Grand Budapest Hotel, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums.
  • The entire career of Michael Bay is built upon this. The only film of his to get any respect from critics is The Rock, but even that film is now retroactively Damned by Faint Praise in critical circles.
    • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was one of the biggest box-office successes of the decade, but critics and fans of the original cartoon alike disparaged it, often violently.
    • Happened again with the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Despite bad reviews from critics (though it’s considered somewhat better than Revenge of the Fallen), and even a mixed consensus from audiences, it still ended up making over a billion dollars worldwide.
    • Transformers: Age of Extinction continued the tradition, also making over $1 billion worldwide (and actually becoming the highest-grossing film of its year, the second time a Bay film accomplished this feat after Armageddon) despite opening to near-universally negative reviews.
    • Popular opinion started to catch up with the critics with Transformers: The Last Knight. Although far from a flop, it made the least money of any film in the series, with even the usually lucrative Chinese market drying up unusually quickly. The blame can be pinned on a failed attempt at Pandering to the Base by including copious Product Placement for Chinese products and services that even Chinese audiences knew weren't sold or marketed in the United States, leading those viewers to regard it as pure Snark Bait.
  • Mel Brooks has always been far more popular among average moviegoers than among critics, who usually only single out The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein as his career highlights.
  • Tim Burton provides an interesting subversion. His early films managed to be wildly popular despite being ‘artistic', and in fact he was hailed as one of the few auteur-style filmmakers to thrive amidst the blockbuster mentality that prevailed in Hollywood (and in American pop culture generally) throughout the 1980s and most of the '90s (one critic remarked that Burton was adept at "filtering junk culture through an art-school sensibility"). The critics' opinions on him were mixed; however, he seemed to find favor more with elitist critics (such as Pauline Kael) than with populist or at least middlebrow critics (such as Roger Ebert). This despite the fact that Burton himself is no snob, and in his spare time gleefully consumes some of the trashiest entertainments imaginable. Played straight, however, with 1994's Ed Wood: while it was beloved by critics (though ironically having as its biographical subject one of the most reviled film directors of all time), it failed miserably at the domestic box office.
  • The Dardenne brothers have made plenty of films in their career that get very high ratings from critics and every movie they put out won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, but on average their films make an average loss of $1 million at the box office. The Walloon government keeps financing their films, however, since they make Wallonia look good.
  • Cecil B. DeMille: His movies were among the biggest blockbusters of the first half of the century, but only The Ten Commandments is actually seen as an example of good cinema by critics.
  • Johnny Depp's faced this in The New '10s. It started with the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, as the original was critically acclaimed, and Alice in Wonderland (2010). Critics pilloried them, despairing that he was squandering his gifts by sticking with such Large Ham, Spectacle-driven fare instead of the smaller, ‘serious' films on which he built his artistic reputation. Nevertheless, audiences flocked to them; the second and fourth Pirates films and Alice grossed over a billion dollars each worldwide. When The Lone Ranger, patterned after the Pirates films, became a Box Office Bomb, critics were effectively given free rein to beat up on Depp and his later career choices — never mind that, beyond these ‘wacky' roles paying him well, he enjoys playing them. Given that Depp wasn't an A-lister until the first Pirates caused his popularity to skyrocket, there's an undercurrent of It's Popular, Now It Sucks to this dissonance. The AV Club spoke up for his choices in a 2014 opinion piece.
  • Walt Disney: While many people acknowledge Disney's contributions to animation, film and the fine technical draftmanship of the drawings, special effects and narratives many art snobs see him as a prime example of horrible kitsch. His works from The Golden Age of Animation tend to get some recognition, though, but even back then he was criticized for downgrading the artistic achievements by including fluffy Funny Animal characters, a lot of Cuteness Overload, Tastes Like Diabetes storylines and happy, safe, romanticized fairy tale worlds. Literature fans despise Disney for taking many of the world's most famous novels and fairy tales and turning them into sugar-coated kiddie entertainment which even replaced the original literary masterpieces in the public consciousness. The introduction of the Disney Theme Parks did this reputation no good. Many critics feel Disneyland and the likes are the work of a megalomaniac trying to create a kitsch paradise and get rich off it. As the Disney brand became more corporate-controlled many feel his cartoons and films became totally risk-free, formulaic, and devoid of any artistic depth or vision. Worse, these Merchandise-Driven marketing techniques have spread to countless other cartoons, TV shows and films. Yet, despite all that, the general public still loves Disney with a passion, especially parents with children.
    • A very odd example is Fantasia. At the time it was Disney's riskiest project and it failed to appeal to both the general audience as well as art fans. Regular viewers felt the cartoon was pretentious, devoid of a story and didn't like the fact that Classical Music and no dialogue were its prime gimmicks. Fans of Classical Music felt Disney downgraded these artistic masterpieces by adding preposterous cartoonish images to them, with the Pastorale segment as a prime example. By the 1960s Fantasia was Vindicated by History as a Cult Classic. Many film and animation fans see it now as a highlight of Disney's artistic vision and feel it is his most artistically interesting picture, because of the experimental nature, Art Shift in some sequences and sometimes controversial imagery. Yet, even so, most general audiences prefer Disney features with an actual story and even among the people who recognize the artistic value there are some who dismiss it as the same old Disney kitsch.
  • Much like Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich is one of the most lucrative directors of today, yet none of his box-office blockbusters has gotten particularly positive reviews from critics.
  • David Lynch is very popular among film critics and intellectuals for making innovative cinema that at least tries to do something different. Other moviegoers literally hate his pictures for being bizarre and arty.
  • As shown by the page image, the works of Tyler Perry get consistently negative reviews from critics, but fan response (more specifically the actual target demographic) is positive. As with Michael Bay and The Rock, I Can Do Bad All by Myself is the only film of his to get a critically favorable reception.
  • Julia Roberts is quite possibly the biggest and highest-paid actress in Hollywood, but rarely receives any critical acclaim. A viewing of her filmography on Rotten Tomatoes reveals that her movies usually score higher with the general public than highbrow critics, who typically dismiss them as pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator. This hasn't stopped them from making back their budgets several times over, with Pretty Woman (mentioned below) being a prominent case.
  • David O. Russell has several films that critics just loved and audiences were more mixed about, but perhaps his most polarizing was American Hustle. While critics absolutely loved it, giving it a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences merely liked it. They argued that the scenery chewing, over-the-top performances were a bit too much, and the accents were … not that accurate.
  • Most of Adam Sandler's entire career is built on this, and it goes both ways. Prior to the 2010s, only two of his star vehicles with an approval rating of at least 50% on Rotten Tomatoes (The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore) made back their budgets, while all his sub-50% movies were successful with audiences. For example, while most critics panned The Waterboy, it was one of 1998's highest-grossing movies, while 2002's Punch-Drunk Love ended up being his most critically acclaimed movie, but also his least financially successful one. With that said, this only applies to his films from the 1990s and 2000s films, as everyone has since seemed to come into agreement about Sandler: in 2012, critics were especially unkind to both Jack and Jill and That's My Boy, and, significantly, both of them failed to make back their budgets (at least in America). Sandler initially experienced a brief comeback with the animated Hotel Transylvania and live-action sequel Grown Ups 2, but the trend returned with Blended, Men, Women & Children, The Cobbler, and Pixels; none of which was reviewed fondly by critics and were also box-office underperformers.
  • All of the films of the duo of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg were panned by professional critics and Internet reviewers alike, and typically rank on lists of the worst comedies ever made, but (apart from Disaster Movie) they all made enough money to be profitable given their low budgets.
  • Steven Spielberg is the most successful film director of all time, with myriad blockbusters and box office hits. Critical reception is more mixed. Few will question the entertainment values of Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park; most critics, however, will prefer his more serious mature stuff like Schindler's List, Munich and Saving Private Ryan. And still others will heap on Spielberg's movies nothing but scorn for the often infantile themes, Tastes Like Diabetes moments and obligatory happy endings. The general opinion of this school can be summed up as ‘He is closer to being Disney's successor than Hitchcock's.'
  • Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Bruce Willis, and Jean-Claude Van Damme are all among the most recognizable Hollywood stars of The '80s and The '90s, yet most of their pictures are much more popular with average movie watchers than with critics who dismiss these pictures for putting action before substance. Only a few pictures haven gotten some kind of critical praise over the years, like First Blood (which wasn't even an action film), The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the first Die Hard.
  • Shirley Temple's popularity in the 1930s was so enormous that she made many average moviegoers forget their troubles for a while — no mean feat in the days of The Great Depression. Yet critics hated her cutesy, namby-pamby family films with a passion.
  • The Three Stooges have always been more popular among children and common people than among critics, who consider their slapstick far too lowbrow and formulaic.
  • Rudolph Valentino: A hugely popular movie star among female viewers in The Twenties, yet his pictures have always been dismissed as quaint and ludicrous Fanservice stories for fan-girls. It says a lot that The Sheik and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse do get a mention in cinematic history books, albeit more for their historic value than their artistic merit.
  • M. Night Shyamalan could be the trope codifier. Ever since the movie The Sixth Sense put him on the map for being a director who can throw a good Plot Twist into a story, he hasn't had a good relationship with the critics. Almost every film that has come out by him since then, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, and others have been bashed by the critics. However, this hasn't stopped many of his films from making an average of over 100 million dollars per release.

    Films — Animated 
  • Audiences' opinions were divided about Antz, but critics liked it.
  • Most critics either hated or didn't understand the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, but it was well-received by fans, though some of them criticized it for its Pacing Problems.
  • Cars 2 was not well-received by critics (38% on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences flocked to see it like they did with the first (although not to the same extent as previous Pixar movies).
    • Considering Pixar's track record to that point, people found it hard to believe that they had stumbled.
  • The Croods. Most critics found it to be So Okay, It's Average, but it more than held its own at the box office.
  • The Disney Animated Canon has a few examples, especially during its two "Dark Ages" (c. 1970–88 and c. 2000–08):
    • Robin Hood was critically reviled upon its release, and still doesn't get very positive reviews upon rereleases. Audiences then and today, however, love it.note 
    • The Black Cauldron was apparently only released on VHS because of fan protest.note  Yet, it has always had very lukewarm critical reception, and for the record, is barely remembered.
    • The Rescuers has an impressive 85% on RT, while its sequel, The Rescuers Down Under, has a merely passable 68%. Disney aficionados tend to switch the two, with the original being seen as middling and dull and the sequel a vast improvement with beautiful animation.
    • Oliver & Company: Critics hated the animation, the characters, and cited the plot as a Cliché Storm. The movie itself, however, was a pretty big hit, grossing about $75 million on its initial release (which was almost as much as the total gross of Disney's previous three films combined).
    • Pocahontas was viewed as ‘pretentious' and hated for being historically inaccurate. Despite this, it still ranks among Disney's most popular films, the main character is still a Disney Princess, and people still have great love for it.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire is the biggest Cult Classic in the Disney canon, despite being generally ignored by critics and a disappointing gross.
    • Brother Bear has been fairly well-received by the Disney fanbase, while Home on the Range has been considered to be one of the worst Disney movies of all time, with some saying that it's just as bad as Chicken Little. Critics, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. Home on the Range got scores that are mostly around 50%, while Brother Bear currently has the second-lowest score of any movie in the Disney Animated Canon on Rotten Tomatoes (Only behind Chicken Little), and is also tied with, again, Chicken Little as the lowest scoring Disney animated movie on Metacritic.
  • DreamWorks Animation's offerings in the mid-New Ten's also landed in this.
    • Home received generally mixed reviews from critics (47% on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest for a Dreamworks movie since Shrek the Third), but was successful at the box office, with an opening weekend of $52 million (the highest opening weekend for a Dreamworks movie since Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted) and had generally positive audience feedback (an A grade from CinemaScore).
    • The Boss Baby originally received scathing reviews, but the critical rating climbed to a 49 on RT. Audiences were much more enthusiastic about the film, when it opened at number one and bumped off the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast to No. 2.
  • Hotel Transylvania received generally mixed critical reception; it currently holds a critics score of 45% ("Rotten") on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, however, view it quite differently; the audience score on the aforementioned Rotten Tomatoes is currently at 72% ("Fresh"), it set a box-office record for the largest September film opening ever (previously held by Sweet Home Alabama), was the highest-grossing film for Sony Pictures Animation up to that point (previously a record held by The Smurfs) and was an overall box-office success, taking in $358,375,603 worldwide against a modest budget of $85 million.
  • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return was utterly reviled by critics, while civilians who saw it enjoyed it.
  • Minions received mixed reviews from critics, many agreeing that it wasn't as good as the previous two Despicable Me films. Its box office take is a different story.
  • Critics were mixed to My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), general opinion being passable without anything noteworthy, getting only 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. But it also got an 86% positive audience score, and Cinescore gave it an "A-".
  • The Nut Job was very poorly received by critics (11% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it was successful at the box office (due in part to being released during a Dump Month) and has down-the-middle audience ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.
  • Critics hated Planes, equating it to a shameless ripoff of Cars (despite being a spinoff, which means it's canonically part of the Cars franchise) meant to sell more toys. This didn't stop the film from making back its budget more than four times over and getting a sequel.
  • Pokémon
    • Pokémon: The First Movie did poorly with critics, but ended up being the highest grossing anime film released in the United States. Most audiences certainly didn't love it because of its inaccessibility to those unfamiliar with the series, but it did fairly well with fans (although many prefer the Japanese dub which had many noticeable differences). See also: the other Pokémon movies.
    • Pokémon 2000 was roundly panned by critics, but made quite a bit of money during the summer 2000 season and is among the more well-regarded films among fans.
    • Pokémon 3: Spell of the Unown did poorly with critics on its release. However, fans, such as Suede and friends, praised it. They say the battles are some of the best to come out of the movies, has the best story, and love its dark themes.
    • Pokemon Kyurem Vs The Sword Of Justice is considered to be one of the better Pokémon movies despite its IMDb rating of 5.4 out of 10.
  • The Mexican animated movie El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza. While the movie itself got more or less good reviews by critics, on the other hand, the Mexican audience didn't share the same opinion. And for a very good reason: The whole movie is a giant middle finger against the Mexican culture.
  • A minor case with Sausage Party. From critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it got an 83% "Certified Fresh" rating. From audiences, it got a much less impressive 52%.
  • Critics treated Smurfs: The Lost Village with slightly less contempt than the two live-action movies, as its critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is 38%, which is a bit higher than the first two. Meanwhile, its audience score is a modest 61%, indicating that people who watched it saw it as So Okay, It's Average, but both sides seem to agree that it's a better movie.
  • Transformers: The Movie was trashed by critics for being a 90-minute film about toys, and was not a big hit due to the mass slaughter of beloved characters in favor of new ones. Once the backlash hit Hasbro and they were forced to bring most of the characters back to life, however, the movie became a cult favorite, even among fans who came into the franchise from newer adaptations.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh
    • Pooh's Grand Adventure got a mixed-to-negative critical reception upon its initial release, with critics particular citing that the darker themes that the movie explored, the complex ways that the movie explores the characters of Pooh and his friends, and the overall more somber tone were things that had no place in a Winnie-the-Pooh movie. However, these very things are among the things that make the Pooh fanbase consider Pooh's Grand Adventure one of Pooh's best movies.
    • The Tigger Movie likewise received a mixed critical reception, but is also very well-regarded among the Pooh fanbase for its extraordinary exploration of Tigger's character and great songs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The A-Team only got a 47% score on Rotten Tomatoes, but was somewhat better regarded by the audience (66%). This did not translate into box-office success, though.
  • Act of Valor was poorly received by the critics who saw it (29% on Rotten Tomatoes) but most of its audience (mainly the ‘support-our-troops' crowd) tends to love it (84% on the same website).
  • The live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks movies (The Squeakquel in particular) have received nothing but hate from most critics. That didn't stop the first three films from being financially successful (the fourth film, however, was another story due to opening against Star Wars: The Force Awakens). The fact that The Squeakquel outsold The Princess and the Frog made Disney fans join the critics, and it got worse in 2011 when the third film (Chipwrecked), while not as high a grosser as the previous two entries, outperformed The Muppets, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, The Adventures of Tintin and We Bought a Zooall of which received significantly better reviews. That being said, most adult audiences hate this franchise as well.
  • American Sniper attracted harsh criticism from antiwar activists like Michael Moore and many news personalities, has been compared to Nazi recruitment films and generally has met with venom-spewing hatred from anyone who sees it as a glorification of the Iraq War. Others, including veterans of that war, said that Chris Kyle, the titular sniper, was no hero but a dangerously unbalanced man whose autobiography of the same name (on which the movie is based) is a bunch of lies. Overall, critics seemed to like it, but many were also turned off by the premise and the potential lack of truth in it. As for audience reactions? It broke several box-office records, wound up being the highest-grossing film of 2014 (in the American market, anyway) and earned a rare A+ on CinemaScore.
  • Mere days after the release of Annie, the sharp contrast between negative reviews and overall-positive reception from the public was already glaring. Four days after its release, there was a 30% difference between the critic and audience numbers for the film on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • August Rush, the story of an incredibly gifted musical child, got a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but an 82% from fans.
  • Belle got good reviews, but the audience was not very excited about it. German critics described the film as good, solid "educational cinema" that "doesn't whip up feelings" … which may explain why it passed into oblivion, with hardly anyone having seen it, or even heard of it, in 2015, one year after the release. Telling people that something is educational is a good way to keep them from wanting to see it, after all.
  • The action film Billy Jack and its sequel, The Trial of Billy Jack, were viewed as jokes by critics in The '70s, but they were so popular with audiences that Tom Laughlin, the star, director, and co-writer of the films, organized an essay contest in which fans wrote rebuttals to the terrible reviews that Trial received.
  • The Boondock Saints was trashed by critics as a ‘poor man's Tarantino,' holding a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from professional critics … and a 92% from fans on the same site (as well as a 7.9 on IMDb), who have turned the film into a Cult Classic and a St. Patrick's Day tradition.
  • The Butterfly Effect got a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes but a 7.7/10 on IMDb. It was also a box-office success.
  • Can't Stop the Music is definitely not a film we'd recommend, and in fact the critics trashed it, but it at least has a huge cult following if the blurb on the back of Anchor Bay Entertainment's cassette is anything to go by.
  • The Carry On film series divided audiences and critics by the time the 1970s rolled around. Although, after popular regular Sid James left, as well as the the series screenwriter, the critics and audience both began to argue over which movies were the ‘worst' post-1974.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was well-liked by critics. Audiences, however, who were less likely to be familiar with Roald Dahl's original book, instead considered it to be a badly-done remake of the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and gave it mediocre reviews.
  • Christmas Eve, a forgettable 2015 film starring Patrick Stewart, has a rare 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences gave it a barely-fresh 61%.
  • Orson Welles' most famous movie, Citizen Kane, was received with critical acclaim and box-office indifference (mostly caused by being backlashed by none other than William Randolph Hearst). When it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, the crowd tried to boo the announcer off the stage. Nowadays, it's a Sacred Cow beloved by both the public and critics.
  • Cloud Atlas received polarizing but mostly positive reviews (Roger Ebert gave it four out of four stars and called it one of the most ambitious films ever made) and was nominated for a number of awards. Audiences, however, roundly ignored the film, and it ended up becoming a Box Office Bomb.
  • The Film of the Book of Daisy Miller received a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, but a measley 23% from audiences.
  • This is becoming a trend for the films in the DC Extended Universe:
  • Death Wish 3 has a negative critical reception, but has a positive fan reception.
  • The Die Hard franchise:
    • Die Hard with a Vengeance was somewhat divisive to critics (though its reputation has improved since then), but was still the highest-grossing film of 1995 and well-received by fans.
    • Live Free or Die Hard was hailed as a return to form for the series, as well as a true sequel to the first, by critics. However, despite all the moviegoers and series fans who enjoyed it, it quickly turned into the series' most divisive movie thanks to accusations of Boring Invincible Hero, complaints about Justin Long, and its series-unusual PG-13 rating.
    • Years later, A Good Day to Die Hard got terrible reviews and good box office — yet fans of the series hated it with a passion.
  • Divergent received mixed reviews from critics, but was generally well-received by audiences and fans of the book it was based on, handily beat out the much better-received Muppets Most Wanted, and had a massive $55 million opening — about $2 million more than the latter would make in its entire run.
  • Doctor Zhivago received negative reviews at the time of its release, but audiences didn't care and it became one of the most popular movies of the 1960s. Ditto for director David Lean's next film, Ryan's Daughter, which got even worse reviews and middling box-office returns, but was a smash hit in London.
  • Drumline earned praise from critics with an 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDb users, however, didn't feel the same way, as it only has a rating of 5.6 from that website.
  • Dude, Where's My Car? has a big enough cult following to be remembered years later and was a box-office success at the time of its release, but did poorly with critics (with an 18% Rotten Tomatoes score).
  • Dumb and Dumber received mixed reviews from critics at the time, holding only a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 41 on Metacritic. Even the critics who liked it thought it was stupid, and that Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels were the only reasons why it worked. Audiences, however, loved it, and it was a box-office smash that has held its stature since, viewed nowadays as one of the greatest comedies of the '90s.
    • The same thing happened with the sequel Dumb and Dumber To, which received worse reviews than the first but was also a commercial success, albeit smaller.
  • Enough was panned by critics with a 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were much more accepting giving it a 67%.
  • Entourage received a Tomatometer score of 32% from critics and a score of 84% from audiences.
  • Equilibrium has a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but has a score of 7.6 out of 10 on IMDb.
  • Both 2000s Fantastic Four movies were disliked by the critics in general, but both were box office hits (unlike the universally hated 2015 reboot).
  • Fifty Shades of Grey broke several box-office records upon release and went on to gross over $569 million worldwide, in spite of garnering negative reviews and inheriting the detractors of the novel it was based on, who were already downright disgusted that the source material became popular enough to be brought to the silver screen in the first place.
    • Fifty Shades Darker has an even greater case of this, as it got even worse reviews than its predecessor (it has only 9% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes). However, the overall audience response has been significantly more positive (it has 64% on the same site), and it did well in its opening weekend ($46.7 million), beating John Wick: Chapter 2, which has been much better-received.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra got bad reviews, several Razzie nominations and hate from audiences and $300 million worldwide. G.I. Joe: Retaliation got even worse reviews and performed even better with $370 million (though with less domestically) and with fans finding it a better G.I. Joe adaptation.
  • The original Godzilla, when it first premiered in Japan just nine years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was utterly hated by critics, who felt that it was exploiting the tragedy in the name of spectacle. It didn't help that, in March of the year it came out, a Japanese fishing boat was exposed to radiation from the nuclear test at Bikini Atoll, producing history's first victim of the hydrogen bomb.
  • Gothika made back more than triple its $40 million budget despite being critically reviled.
  • The Great Gatsby got mixed reviews for its overblown style, but it did very well at the box office and is well-liked by many.
  • Grumpier Old Men, the sequel to Grumpy Old Men, was given largely negative reviews from critics (it's rated 18% Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes) for being a tired rehash of the first film. Fan responses are much kinder (6.6 out of 10 on IMDB).
  • Gunday has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (based on five votes), but a 1.9 rating on IMDb. It was actually once #1 on the Bottom 100, though it has since dropped down to #23. Much of this comes down to an extremely vocal Periphery Hatedom, though — Bangladeshi audiences absolutely despised the film for the artistic license it took with the Bangladesh Liberation War, and drove the film's IMDb score into the gutter in response.
  • Hail, Caesar! was well liked by many critics, with a solid 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, however, were much more mixed, with a mere 46% Audience Score, and a disappointing C- on CinemaScore. This was probably due to the film's reliance on obscure satirical jabs at both old-time Hollywood and current Hollywood, as well as its non sequitur series of events, which understandably alienated the common audience member, but was liked by the critics who understood the jokes.
  • The Hangover Part II. Critics bashed it (for among other things, recycling the plot while adding gross-out factor), audiences loved it.
  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters made back its $50 million budget at the box office worldwide despite less-than-stellar reviews from critics and negative reception from audiences.
  • Haywire was well-received by critics (80% on Rotten Tomatoes), who are usually familiar with Steven Soderbergh's films, but hated by audiences (a D– on CinemaScore) who expected a more Hollywood-style action film (the film was even promoted as being like the director's Ocean's Eleven). The same thing happened with the director's Contagion, which has an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes but a C– on CinemaScore (but at least was profitable with over $135 million worldwide, unlike Haywire, which barely recouped its budget).
  • The first part of Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, received mixed to positive reviews, even without considering the debate over the High Frame Rate version (it helps that it's often considered to be overlong and was a Tough Act to Follow to a really acclaimed trilogy). Nonetheless, by the end of only its third weekend in release, it earned over half a billion dollars globally (and finished its BO run with over a billion, the second Tolkien adaptation to do so). While barely registering as "Fresh" at 65% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics, audiences give it a much higher 80% Fresh.
  • The first Home Alone film got mixed reviews and the second was utterly panned, but both were box-office successes, have become beloved Christmas fixtures and Kevin's Scream face has become almost as much of a pop-culture icon as the Munch painting that inspired it.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a very divisive film, especially in terms of this trope. It received a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 46% on Metacritic, but spent four weeks as the #1 film in the US, and was the highest-grossing movie of 2000 domestically, with $260 million. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning for Best Makeup (which, if you've seen the behind-the-scenes footage, is very well-deserved), and was nominated for two Razzies, but won neither.
  • Critics lauded The Hurt Locker for being a realistic war movie, but ‘ordinary' viewers were less enthusiastic about it. In fact, some current and former U.S. military personnel who saw it, especially Iraq veterans, felt that it was unrealistic to the point where it was almost insulting. It became the lowest-grossing Best Picture Academy Award winner of all time — and some moviegoers have argued that the award should have gone to Inglourious Basterds or Avatar.
  • The Indiana Jones franchise:
  • Identity Thief was eaten alive by critics, but that didn't stop it from becoming a box-office juggernaut.
  • Critics are mixed on Into the Woods but overall are leaning more on the positive side. Audiences, on the other hand, are even more mixed on the film, with a 53% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Critics looooove the horror film It Follows. Audiences are much more mixed, though generally positive. (A 65% on Rotten Tomatoes isn't bad, after all.)
  • Jingle All the Way was poorly received by most critics, with most of the few positive reviews feeling that it was merely Narm Charm or So Bad, It's Good. However, it was fairly successful with audiences and was a box-office success.
  • Juno. Highly acclaimed by critics, and made lots of money at the box office, but is one of the most despised movies on the internet. Just go to its IMDb page, you'll see that the entire first page of reviews considered the most helpful are all negative.
  • Justin Bieber's Never Say Never was a massive hit thanks to his fanbase, but reviews were so-so and general audiences could not care less. The sequel, Believe, bombed terribly due to the fact that most of his rabid tween followers had abandoned him.
  • Kick-Ass 2 was poorly received by critics and most filmgoers (as the dip in both review aggregators and the box office numbers shows). However, many of the fans of both the film and the comic loved it — 41 on Metacritic, 28% on Rotten Tomatoes … and a user score of 78 and 69% respectively.
  • The urban thriller Kicks received great reviews from critics with an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its IMDb score however is at an alarmingly low 4.5/10 because... Air Jordans? Fortunately, this trope gets downplayed when you look deeper into the rating and find out that all of the 900+ users who downvoted it are anonymous with no prior activity on the site, suggesting that the rating was rigged. The responsible parties and their motivation behind the fabricated bad rating remain ambiguous, though Wired caught wind of this.
  • Killing Them Softly reteamed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford's star Brad Pitt with its director Andrew Dominik. It opened to critical acclaim, was hailed by many critics as one of the best crime dramas in years … and also received an F grade from filmgoers polled by CinemaScore, one of only two movies that year (the other being The Devil Inside, which saw far more agreement between critics and moviegoers) to be dishonored in such a manner. Needless to say, it bombed in theaters and became Pitt's lowest-grossing wide-release film in nearly two decades (though it still made $37 million worldwide with a $15 million budget).
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a critically Acclaimed Flop at the box office, but most people who did see it really enjoyed it. The film was later named "Most Overlooked Movie of the Year."
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist was received poorly by critics, but is a Cult Classic for its lowbrow comedy and So Bad, It's Good nature.
  • Critics gave The Last Castle 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were a lot more forgiving, giving it 75%.
  • Law Abiding Citizen earned $126 million worldwide and has a good IMDb score of 7.4 out of 10. Reviews were mostly scathing due to plot holes and excessive violence.
  • Let Me In got rave reviews from film critics, but did so-so at the box office. Some people believe that the low turnout was due to people who refused to go see it out of sheer bitter spite (or on simple principle) because it's an American remake of a foreign film. But what really killed Let Me In was distributor Relativity Media (who acquired the film from Starz due to buying the Overture distribution outlet from them) giving the film the Invisible Advertising treatment. There were few trailers or TV spots released and the film wasn't even listed on Relativity's website. Not helping the film was that the company chose to open it the same day as The Social Network (a film Relativity co-financed with Sony).
  • Critics ate The Life of David Gale alive, giving it a 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was more positively received by filmgoers, who have given it an 81% audience rating on that site, as well as a 7.5 on IMDb.
  • Magic Mike, despite being Best Known for the Fanservice (the movie is about male strippers), is actually liked more by critics than by the general public. Its Rotten Tomatoes critics score is 80%, whereas its audience score is 62% and on IMDb is 6.1/10. This may be because a lot of the general public found the fanservice off-putting (especially since it's Female Gaze) and couldn't pay attention to the plot.
  • Among the movies in Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Rotten Tomatoes lists Iron Man 2 as the second least well-received (75%), yet it also became the third highest-grossing of those movies (behind Iron Man and The Avengers). Inversely, Captain America: The First Avenger has the third-highest RT rating (behind those two as well), but also the second-lowest gross (above only The Incredible Hulk), and the lowest IMDb score.
  • You would be forgiven for thinking everyone who saw both Matrix sequels loathed them even though they both turned profits during their respective theatrical runs. But while Revolutions' significantly lower gross lines up with its critical 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 47 on Metacritic,note  Reloaded actually got mixed to positive reviews (73% on Rotten Tomatoes, 62 on Metacriticnote ).
  • The indie western Meek's Cutoff is infamous for this: critics love it for its unorthodox, realist take on its genre, whereas average moviegoers are left disappointed by its slow pacing and inconclusive ending.
  • Meet the Mormons was ripped to shreds by critics, earning the dreaded 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That didn't stop it from being a box-office bonanza, especially in the LDS community.
  • Moonraker is widely thought of as one of, if not the worst, James Bond movies, but it was the highest-grossing film in the franchise until GoldenEye was released. The same also happened with The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
    • Only if not adjusting for inflation, then the title still belonged to Thunderball, being one of the ten highest-grossing films of all time internationally. It took nearly 50 years for another Bond film to surpass it.
  • Mom's Night Out has a 17% critic rating and a 91% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Darren Aronofsky's film Mother got fairly positive reviews from critics with a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but in manner similar to Killing Them Softly, audiences gave it an F CinemaScore.
  • The original Night of the Living Dead. Seriously. Initial reaction by the critics was mixed to negative, while horror fans thought it was groundbreaking (but even some of them were shocked by it). A decade later it was Vindicated by History. Roger Ebert tried to explain the critical dissonance, saying, "I don't think the audience really knew what hit them." His review mentions that he saw the movie at what was a typical location for horror movies of the time (read: monster movies with Special Effect Failure) — a kiddie theater.
  • Noah received very good reviews from critics (a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes), but earned a much more lackluster response from the audience, despite it being a financial success (it made around $359 million worldwide on a $125 million budget, but a very low 44% on RT and a 6.1 on IMDb). It's hard to tell if it's because of its controversial changes, its source material, or its own merits as a film.
  • The Notebook has considerable praise by the general public, but major reaction from critics was mixed. A good example of this is the IMDb rating (7.9 out of 10) compared to the Rotten Tomatoes rating (52%).
  • Now You See Me was rated "Rotten" at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the ‘regular' folks at CinemaScore rate it an A–.
  • The Number 23 has an 8% at Rotten Tomatoes (one of the few positive reviews coming from Richard Roeper), but it made back more than double its budget and has down-the-middle audience ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.
  • October Baby received horrible reviews, sitting third on the A.V. Club's list of the worst movies of 2012 and earning a mere 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. Conservative Christian audiences ate it up, however, and the film looks set to become a Cult Classic.
  • One for the Money. A whopping 2% on Rotten Tomatoes and bombed at the box office, but fans of the book series the film was based on generally enjoyed it and the film did considerably better once it reached home media.
  • The Other Woman received generally negative reviews from critics (23% on Rotten Tomatoes) but still did pretty well at the box office (making over $150 million worldwide against a $40 million budget) and was pretty well-received by audiences (67% on Rotten Tomatoes).
  • Out Cold was panned by reviewers giving it an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. But the film immediately gained a small cult following, as it has an 85% user rating on that site.
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful received mixed reviews, but proved to be a box-office success.
  • Critics panned Patch Adams and many people hate it (including the man it's based on), but it was successful at the box office.
  • The Police Academy series was always critically panned. Some will try to tell you that only the first film was good, but even that received a critical drubbing (Roger Ebert rated the original no stars, something he almost never did). The series' reputation is so bad that any time it's cited in other fiction, it's always intended as a Take That!, never as an affectionate Shout-Out. And yet the original spawned six sequels, which doesn't happen to a series if absolutely nobody likes it.
  • Power Rangers received mixed reviews from critics (47% on Rotten Tomatoes), but has an audience rating of a whopping 80%.
  • Pretty Woman has a barely-fresh rating of 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, with a slightly higher audience rating. Many critics lambasted it for being an overly slick, mindless Hollywood product and for its perceived glamorization of prostitution. Nevertheless, it was a massive success at the box office, grossing well over $400 million on a budget of $14 million.
  • Pure Country, the only acting role to date for Country Music singer George Strait, was generally lambasted by critics. Most reviewers considered it a Cliché Storm with Strait's surprisingly solid acting as a leading man being its only saving grace. Country music fans were somewhat more forgiving, giving the film a 7 on IMDb and 91% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. The soundtrack (performed entirely by Strait) is also his bestselling album to date, containing the Signature Song "I Cross My Heart"; it was also his first album with Record Producer Tony Brown, who produced all of Strait's albums until 2015.
  • Rad is perhaps the king of this trope. This 1986 movie about BMX riders holds a 0% from the critics, and a 91% approval rating from the fans, on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Every live-action Resident Evil movie got negative reviews (the first two are both on Roger Ebert's most hated movie list, but they were successful at the box office. For the most part, it seems people who enjoyed the games hated the movies for being Name-Only Sequels, while people who were unfamiliar with the games could enjoy the film for what it is: an over-the-top cheesy action zombie thriller.
  • Downplayed with Rings. The film was panned by critics (it has a measly 5% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it has been met with a mixed response from audiences (it has a 44% audience rating on the same site), and even this appears to be getting worse.
  • Safe Haven — like most Nicholas Sparks adaptations (see The Notebook entry above) — was ravaged by critics but it made back its budget at the box office three times over.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a critically lauded movie that nobody initially cared about outside its cult following. But it sold immensely on home video due to positive word of mouth and the slight success of the comic series it was based on.
  • Scrooged: Critics hated it when it came out — it has a weak Metascore of 33 — yet audiences loved it, and today it's regarded as a Christmas classic and one of Bill Murray's best movies.
  • Audiences reacted much more positively to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty than critics did.
  • Seven Pounds was slammed by critics for its implausible plot as well as being grim and morose. It did well at the box office, however, and currently holds an average score of 7.6 out of 10 on IMDb.
  • Many critics enjoyed Shutter Island, but did not see it as one of Scorsese's best works— it holds a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it remains an audience favorite and holds an 8.1/10 on IMDB and a 4.5/5 on Amazon (for the DVD version).
  • Sideways received many awards nominations (including five Oscars) and was quite the critical darling back in 2004, but there are 19 pages of one-star Amazon reviews slamming it for being pretentious, unfunny, and too dog-gone depressing.
  • Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining was so poorly received that it was nominated for two Razzies (one for Shelley Duvall for Worst Actress, the other for Kubrick for Worst Director). In a talk with Kubrick, Steven Spielberg even admitted to Kubrick that he didn't like it (though the conversation and rewatches eventually led him to improve his opinion). While its stature has greatly improved since then, coming to be regarded as one of the great horror films of the era, Stephen King still regards it as one of the worst adaptations of his work, mainly due to the liberties that Kubrick took with his story.
  • The 2002 remake of Solaris received generally positive reviews from critics (66% on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences hated it. It received an F grade from audiences polled by CinemaScore, the first film to ever get this ‘honor.'
  • Audiences and critics alike had incredibly mixed feelings towards Space Jam, but it was a financial success, and both Siskel and Ebert liked it.
  • Spider-Man 3 got mixed to positive reviews from critics, but is one of the most reviled superhero films in history.
  • The 2009 Canadian sci-fi/horror film Splice was a critical hit because it was different from most horror films. Audiences, meanwhile, got turned off by it for the same reason.
  • Spring Breakers was well received by critics, with some calling it an instant Cult Classic. Audience opinions were more mixed.
  • Spy Kids was liked by critics and sold well, but fans of Robert Rodriguez detested it because they believed he had ‘sold out.'
  • Star Trek Into Darkness was a box-office success and got great reviews … while also being hated by hardcore Trekkers, who went as far as choosing it as the worst Star Trek movie. It's Popular, Now It Sucks and They Copied It, So It Sucks are also at hand for unpopularity.
  • The Star Wars prequel trilogy received far more respect from the critics than the mainstream opinion might have you believe: Attack of the Clones scored 67% on Rotten Tomatoes and Revenge of the Sith 80% on their original releases.note 
  • Street Fighter was very negatively received by critics, but that didn't stop it from earning lots of money during the holiday season of 1994.
  • Sucker Punch started to become a cult classic after barely making back its budget and being criticized by many reviewers.
  • Superman Returns received very strong reviews upon release, but it not only divided fans, but has seen increasing backlash from both viewers and critics since its release in 2006 — which continues to grow even more severe with the release of Man of Steel.
  • Taken: The public loved it, but critics were mostly mixed about it. Taken 2, even more so: reviewers hated it, but it did about as financially well as its predecessor despite being much less respected.
  • The 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot and its 2016 sequel Out of the Shadows were subjected to mostly negative reviews from critics, but most viewers consider the films to be So Okay, It's Average. Which is par for the course when it comes to Ninja Turtles movies.
  • The Thing (1982) retroactively is this. It counts due to the fact that people like it now, but most mainstream critics haven't changed their negative opinions about it, unlike, say, Blade Runner. It was slammed by critics after its release, mainly due to the gore and a plot that was perceived as needlessly depressing. After it hit the VHS market, though, the movie gained a significant cult following and is nowadays considered one of the greatest sci-fi horror films of all time. One popular theory for the dissonance says it was due to being released so close to the decidedly more family-friendly E.T. and the unfriendly aliens put a lot of critics off.
  • Chris Farley and David Spade's movies together, Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, were both poorly received by critics (the former made Roger Ebert's "Most Hated Films" list, and Gene Siskel proudly said the latter was one of only three movies he'd ever walked out on in 26 years of reviewing), but they were well-received by audiences.
  • Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. Although at the time of its premiere critics were divided (receiving both boos and standing ovations at Cannes), it went on to achieve an 85% at Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers hated it, and it has been known that certain cinemas have received complains of people asking for their money back. It's no help that the film may be either the most beautiful examination of life or the biggest example of how True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • The Unbelievers, a bizarre ‘travelogue' chronicling atheists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they visited various parts of the world ridiculing/deconverting believers, was heavily panned by critics (both religious and secular) but has comparably high user review averages on sites like Metacritic and IMDb. Of course, it probably helps that the film was seen mostly just by people who were already big fans of Dawkins and/or Krauss.
  • Angelina Jolie's 2014 World War II biopic Unbroken scored a 51% on the Tomatometer and a 59% on Metacritic. However, the Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes clocks in at 70%, and the audience reviews on Metacritic are overwhelmingly positive. Most critic reviews praised the actors, especially Jack O'Connell, but were all too aware of the fact that it was heavy-handed Oscar Bait and strongly criticized Angelina Jolie for taking too long to tell the story, focusing on the Oscar potential rather than the film, and drawing too many parallels between Zamperini and Jesus Christ.
  • The Underworld movies all got mediocre-to-negative reviews from critics, but all were box-office hits and audience reviews were much more favorable.
  • Vampire Academy got a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the fans of the book liked it just fine, or even loved it.
  • Critics panned Warcraft, but audience reviews have ranged from positive to So Okay, It's Average. As of this writing, its Metacritic score is 32% from critics and 8.3/10 from viewers.
  • Critics were mixed towards We're the Millers, some outright hating the film, but it was a financial success and scored better with audiences.
  • Wiener-Dog is the usual case for this trope, scoring a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes but a 42% from users. It is a Todd Solondz film, after all. What makes this example notable is that its Amazon rating is at 1.5/5 stars, the main or even sole reasoning behind it being that the main dog gets run over at the end. One user on the IMDb (where the film has a more reasonable 5.9 score) denounced this as a case of Hate Dumb from overly sensitive viewers.
  • Wild Hogs has a whopping 14% average based on over 100 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite that, the audience score is 72%, and it returned over quadruple its budget in the box office.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand had the worst reviews but the best box office results out of the original X-Men trilogy.
  • It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when many professional critics didn't take Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, every Stanley Kubrick film, and Psycho seriously even though they were popular from the start. They have thankfully all been Vindicated by History.
  • A handful of indie films (Under the Skin, The Guest, and Night Moves, to name a few) have attracted critical praise yet are often met with lukewarm to negative responses from audiences. Reasons for the divide vary from film to film, but the general idea from moviegoers in most cases is that it wasn't as great as critics made it out to be. Chances are, if a Certified Fresh-Rotten Tomatoes-awarded indie movie only has a two-and-a-half- to three-star rating (out of five) on Amazon, then this trope is in full effect.
  • Religious films are often given mixed or negative reviews by critics, but popular with the audiences that watch them. For example, The Passion of the Christ was rated 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, but is the highest-grossing religious film and the highest grossing non-English language film of all time.

    Film Criticism 
There have been at least two points in history where critical dissonance got to such a point that it led to a paradigm shift within film criticism in general.
  • The first was in the late 1960s and early '70s, when a new generation of young, snarky writers like Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael became the most popular new voices in film criticism. Kael in particular is worth noting because The New York Times went out and hired her as their lead critic due to her glowing review of Bonnie and Clyde, which their former lead critic Bosley Crowther had panned, in the pages of The New Yorker. Bonnie and Clyde, of course, went on to become a pop-culture phenomenon and is now regarded as one of the foundational films of New Hollywood.
  • The second was in the late '90s and early '00s, when the Internet emerged as a media tool and the likes of Harry Knowles et al. overturned the film critics who came of age during the New Hollywood era. One major online movie site, JoBlo's Movie Emporium, got its start specifically because of a group of guys who loved Armageddon and thought that the critics were wrong about it.

    Genres 
  • The horror genre, in general, tends to fall victim to this. Critics tend to either balk at their graphic content or write them off as ripoffs of earlier films; meanwhile, fans of the genre either actively enjoy such graphic content, or are able to see past the genre elements and read the films properly. However this also works in reverse as well, with some critically acclaimed horror movies dividing audiences (in terms of core horror fans), or outright putting them off.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/CriticalDissonance/Film