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Critic-Proof

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"This is just how the film industry works nowadays; critics give bad opinions, the public usually has a differing opinion, and all is well in the world of Hollywood since the studios made their millions anyway."

Sometimes a movie, book, game, TV show, or song is released, and the critics hate it. They just hate it. Entire forests are destroyed printing scathing reviews that dissect such media down to the bone, showing in every possible way that the general public should stay away in droves, and even go as far as to place it on "Worst [X] of All Time" lists just to show everyone how much they hate it. But, no matter how bad they are... no matter how many bad reviews they receive, the public loves it. The movie becomes a blockbuster. The book sits atop the New York Times best-seller list. The game flies off the shelves and becomes a must-have. The show is weekly appointment viewing. The song is on everyone's iPod...

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The reasons for this phenomenon are myriad and diverse. Critics are people who watch movies/read books/etc. for a living, on average they consume far more media than the average person. They tend to gravitate towards works that are innovative and experimental, being different makes a work stand out more than the average blockbuster/bestseller. They also have to write about works, which means breaking down themes and metaphors, putting far more thought into a work than the average person would even think of doing. This means that obscure art film excites them far more than some generic superhero movie.

Critics are often not fans of the source material being adapted (if any), so they look upon things from a layman perspective. Some dislike the style and humor, preferring more 'sophisticated' works. Sometimes the fans are so hardcore that they'd accept anything from the source, and sometimes, it's made to be fun. In fact, many who see/buy the work may not even think the best of it either, but it's familiar enough that it manages to stand out and market itself. Sometimes it's simply become popular through being So Bad, It's Good, or by fans acknowledging the work's flaws but considering them insignificant. There’s also a Vocal Minority who will reject any review and criticism, no matter how legitimate, out of sheer stubbornness.

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Other times, critics (being human, and therefore imperfect), let their biases and misunderstandings of creator's intent cloud the final review, portraying the work as objectively low quality. Critics don't always "get" the work the same ways the audience does. There are also some critics who will reject a work simply because it’s popular or not True Art. At worst, critics will only pay attention to works that pander to their tastes.

More cynically, sometimes everyone, fans and critics alike, know the product is a stinker, but heavy prerelease hype and no small amount of Polish the Turd can put the project in the black long before word gets out. In these cases, usually, the first installment ends up like this but the second takes a dive.

When no critic in the world can affect a work's popularity, it is Critic-Proof. And even then, some might assume the critics do their jobs as a Failure Gambit.

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Compare Love It or Hate It, Critical Backlash, It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars, Critical Dissonance, and He Panned It, Now He Sucks!. Contrast with Oscar Bait, Acclaimed Flop, Confirmation Bias, Reviews Are the Gospel and Guilty Pleasure. Not to be confused with Protection from Editors.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The much-reviled Endless Eight episodes of the second season were released across four DVDs in Japan. Given that said arc consisted of the same episode eight times in a row, it's surprising that the first DVDs sold (relatively) well. Though the later ones to a lesser extent; the second and third sold only half the amount the first one did.
    • On the other hand, the North American licensors of Season 2 knew very well that they would not be Critic Proof (plenty of fans had already vowed a boycott due to the extreme unpopularity of Endless Eight), and simply released all 14 episodes in a single set.
  • SHUFFLE got panned by review sites as just another annoying harem show, and even when it was first licensed, the overwhelming opinion was that Funimation must like losing money, because nobody would buy it. The DVD sales in North America were a surprising success, to the point that Funi produced a collector's box with the final volume.
  • Pokémon: Despite not having any international theatrical releases since the Johto era, in Japan, the twelfth film, Arceus and the Jewel of Life, has become the highest-grossing anime film of 2009. People complain about the anime itself. Although it has lost some popularity, it's still extremely popular.
    • The Rotten Tomatoes critical score for Pokémon: The First Movie is a very low 17%, and states that "Audiences other than children will find very little to entertain them". However, since it came out in the franchise's peak in popularity, the film was a huge financial success. Many schools admitted that hundreds of their students called in sick on opening week to see the movie and get the limited edition Ancient Mew card, and the film is remembered somewhat fondly by the fandom.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny is very popular among the Japanese audiences and even won the Anime Grand Prix award for Most Popular Anime in 2004 and 2005. Western reviewers liked the series but not as much as its prequel. However, if you ever ask this to a Gundam fan prepare to hear how this series is one of the worst things Sunrise ever created.
  • Sword Art Online: Bloggers generally agree that it is anywhere from bad to mediocre, at best, but not a great show. It was the most popular anime of 2012. A second season premiered in summer 2014, retaining its popularity. In addition, other works from the Sword Art Online franchise began to make it overseas in that same year: a PS Vita game called Hollow Fragment got an English release around the same time, and Yen Press began to publish English translations of the light novels beginning April 2014.
  • The anime of Diabolik Lovers flopped and was trashed by both Japanese and Western viewers, yet was popular enough for Sentai Filmworks to release an English dub.
  • Eiken is widely considered one of the worst ecchi series of all time and has been bashed for its dumb plot/characters and ugly art. Both the manga and anime however allegedly sold very well, and fanart of the franchise is not uncommon.
  • The anime adaptation of Kantai Collection has been panned by fans and reviewers as mediocre, but sales figures indicate Studio Diomedea isn't going to be hurt in the slightest.
  • The anime adaptation of Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest was panned by those who hadn't already read the source material as a nonsensical, edgy mess, and by readers of the original novels as a piss-poor adaptation; it was quickly disowned by the author of the original novels who said that reading the storyboards he was sent caused him physical pain. Despite this, the anime still managed to boost the sales of the books enough that a second season was announced.

    Comic Books 
  • Brian Bendis and Mark Millar are two comic writers who've earned vocal detractors among certain fans, and yet their mainstream work for Marvel almost always sells huge amounts. Despite all the hate and controversy it garnered, Bendis' New Avengers was one of the best-selling iterations of the Avengers franchise in years. Ditto for Millar's The Ultimates, which is hated by many fans and critics but was still one of the biggest sellers Marvel put out at the time.
  • Spider-Man has been featured a lot of bad stories in recent years. The Clone Saga was universally reviled, One More Day was crucified by critics and fans alike, and Spider-Man: Chapter One is one of those stories even Marvel has insisted they never speak of again. Despite is all, Spidey still remains Marvel's mascot and biggest cash cow, something that likely won't change anytime soon.
  • Jommeke is among the best-selling Flemish comic strips of all time, but has hardly had any serious critical attention or praise, mostly because it's a pure formulaic children's comic. Author Jef Nys was interviewed just a few times throughout his career and only received exhibitions, awards and a biography in the final decade of his life.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cars 2 is Pixar's worst-reviewed animated film (currently in the below 40% range at Rotten Tomatoes), but that hasn't stopped the film from making huge bucks at the box office (though it was Pixar's lowest-grossing movie at the box office until The Good Dinosaur came along). The Cars franchise managed to make a whopping ten billion dollars in merchandise, although they're not as liked as other Pixar works. Despite Disneytoon Studios' Spin-Off Planes being derided as a Merchandise-Driven cash grab by critics and audiences alike, it made back its budget more than four times over and got a sequel.
  • Although Chicken Little is disliked by a large portion of Disney fans, with a 36% rating on RT, it managed to become a modest success at the box office. On the other hand, Chicken Little didn't become a franchise like Cars did (excluding a cameo of the title character in Kingdom Hearts II).
  • It seems like nothing can dent the fanbase of the Alpha and Omega films — critics dismissed them as mediocre, general animation fans dismissed them as mediocre, and wider audiences dismissed them as mediocre. However, the fanbase of the films is composed mostly of wolf lovers and furries. Given the undiscerning taste of both groups, it should probably come as little surprise that the series has four (Direct-to-Video) sequels.
  • Doug's 1st Movie was hated by critics for looking like a direct-to-video film, but did okay at the box office despite this.
  • Minions was considered a pretty mediocre installment of the Despicable Me franchise by critics with only a 56% rating on RT. The box office on the other hand...
  • The Emoji Movie: Hard to believe given all of the bile it received from critics and the internet (including This Very Wiki), but the film was a box office hit, making $217 million worldwide on a $50 million budget.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks movies (the latter three in particular) have received nothing but hate from most critics. That hasn't stopped either from being huge successes... at least until the last one was scheduled for the same release date as The Force Awakens.
  • The Twilight films were regularly ravaged by critics, with Roger Ebert's reaction to New Moon being a commonly cited example. The series' highest Rotten Tomatoes rating was the 49% received by Eclipse. This didn't stop the films from being unusually consistent box office hits - all four sequels grossed between $280-$300 million domestically and ranked in the top ten films of the year.
  • Many of Tyler Perry's movies, though not considered awful, are usually not liked by critics. His movies do extremely well with African Americans, though.
  • Critic James Berardinelli used the trope name regarding AVP: Alien vs. Predator, as the mere concept of two beloved cinematic monsters fighting for the first time will draw in audiences regardless of the film's quality.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: Mostly for being purposeful Ham and Cheese, with prestigious actors such as Christopher Eccleston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt realizing just how cheesy it was and deciding to eat all the scenery in sight.
  • Kevin Smith tried to invoke this with Jersey Girl by saying it "wasn't for critics". It didn't work so well. Then Penny Arcade tried to parody it by coming up with absurdist nonsense perpetrators Twisp and Catsby, and taunting all the critics who couldn't criticize them because it wasn't for them. This backfired on Penny Arcade as well when Twisp and Catsby instead became insanely popular.
  • The mostly negative critical reviews for The Hangover Part II didn't keep it from being hugely successful at the box office, largely due to goodwill from the critically-acclaimed original.
  • All of Seltzer and Friedberg's movies have had overwhelmingly negative reviews, yet they still manage to more than make back their budget (except Disaster Movie). Epic Movie and Meet the Spartans both debuted at #1 at the box office on their opening weekends and Vampires Suck at #2. All of their movies also have fairly low budgets, so really, no matter how bad their movies get, there will be enough people going to see them to make back their budgets several times over. This has eventually waned as The Starving Games didn't recoup its budget and their more recent films have had only a limited theatrical release before going to home media.
  • Moonraker is widely regarded as one of the weakest James Bond films, but it became the highest-grossing film in the franchise until GoldenEye was released.
  • Street Fighter: The Movie: The scathing reviews it got from critics didn't stop it from becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of 1994.
  • The Phantom Menace is the third-highest-grossing film in the Star Wars franchise, adjusted for inflation, despite polarized reception. The same can be said for Attack of the Clones and The Rise of Skywalker: most critics liked Clones only modestly, and Rise became the lowest rated movie in the main series on Rotten Tomatoes, but fans still turned out in droves to see them.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull grossed $101 million in its first weekend, the third-widest opener of all time, despite highly polarized reviews (Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin liked it, most other big-name critics did not).
  • God's Not Dead, a Christian propaganda film chronicling a devoutly Christian college freshman's bout with a snide atheist professor, was pummeled by many secular movie critics and even some discerning Christian movie critics. Yet it grossed more than $60 million in the U.S., which is both very rare for a propaganda film (of any kind) and actually pretty remarkable given the film's shoestring budget of two million dollars.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was panned by critics, but became incredibly successful, grossing over $870 million worldwide. On the other hand, bad word-of-mouth did cause it to suffer steep box office drop after its huge opening weekend in the United States. It opened with $166 million and ended up with a domestic gross totaling $330 million (less than twice).
    • Similarly, Suicide Squad was critically trashed but managed to churn out profits, grossing $746 million worldwide compared to a $175 million budget.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016) generally received bad reviews. One of the most positive called it "the best video game movie ever" and acknowledged that this was a backhanded compliment. Yet it made 60.5 million more than its budget of $125 million within a month, despite opening within a week of Rogue One.
  • The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. All three films were heavily panned by the critics and given very low scores on popular websites like Rotten Tomatoes. However, this hasn't stopped each film from being a huge financial success.
  • The 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival entry My Little Bossings was lambasted by critics as a cynical, in-your-face example of extreme Product Placement in a family film. Yet audiences didn't seem to care and it made ₱375.9 million (US$7.4 million) at the local box office. And it didn't deter lead actor Vic Sotto from releasing a sequel either.
  • Movie 43 is considered to be one of the worst films of 2013, if not of all time. However, it managed to make $32.4 million out of a $6 million budget. That didn't stop it from becoming Rogue Pictures' last release for a few years, though.
  • Many Horror films are this, because they have a poor reputation among critics and they tend to have meager budgets compared to other genres. Even the most critically lambasted movies that only manage to rack up gross in the lower double-digit millions can still be considered successes, because their budgets are in the range of single-digit millions.
    • The Grudge was poorly received by critics and audience alike, but made over $180 million against a $10 million budget.
    • None of the Saw films received any love from critics, many of whom regard the franchise as a mindless Torture Porn. They still made millions of dollar profits regardless.
    • The Devil Inside grossed $33 million in its opening weekend in spite of universal scorn regarding its No Ending. Yet precisely because of this, it didn't make much afterward: those weekend numbers ended up forming more than half of its domestic gross.
    • The last three entries of Paranormal Activity are universally disliked by most critics and audience, but their nature as Found Footage films ensures that No Budget always applies and profits are guaranteed (The Ghost Dimension, the one film considered a disappointment, still generated gross seven times its budget not counting marketing, which shows you how low-cost the franchise is).
    • Ouija is a formulaic horror movie and disliked by virtually everyone, but grossed over twenty times its budget.
    • Annabelle, The Nun, and The Curse of La Llorona are less-welcomed entries in The Conjuring Universe. That didn't stop them from raking up as much money as other films in the franchise that did earn praise.
  • Venom was mostly trashed by critics but earned over $800 million worldwide, making nearly twice what it needed to break even and breaking several October box office records. The film had a massive case of Critical Dissonance; its audience rating in Rotten Tomatoes is a solid 80%, with many considering that it is a fun, if not necessarily glowing, popcorn flick. The film was also supported by its overseas gross, particularly from China.
  • The remake of The Lion King was widely perceived as unnecessary and misguided even compared with Disney's other attempts, and indeed reviewers and American audiences were not positive about telling the same story again only with new graphics. Audiences in China and Europe still made it a billion dollar behemoth.
  • Batman & Robin is one of the most mocked movies ever made, even suffering from Creator Backlash, but it did gross $238.2 million.

     Food 
  • Food connoisseurs think well-done steaks are a waste of quality meat. Plenty of diners won’t eat their steaks any other way.
  • Drenching food in condiments like ketchup or soy sauce is considered extremely bad form by both chefs and food critics alike because the natural flavor of the dish will no longer be detectable. Many people simply prefer the taste of the condiments to that of the food.
  • McDonald's, which is widely viewed as the purest example of unhealthy, cheap, nutrition-devoid fast food and considered the low bar for restaurants in America. Despite the general scorn from food critics, connoisseurs, and healthy eating advocates, the chain sells millions of food and dozens of new restaurants open every month around the world.

    Literature 
  • The Left Behind series. The books are generally poorly written, and there have been many articles written that give specific examples of just how stupidly the characters act. Even from the perspective of Evangelical Protestant Christianity, the theology behind it is suspect. Yet the target audience strongly believes in the books' message and likes them anyway.
  • Dan Brown's books are lambasted for his clunky writing style and poorly researched material, yet he regularly sells millions of copies.
  • The various books in the Twilight saga:
    • Twilight might cross over into So Bad, It's Good territory; many who really do hate the writing style read it as a Guilty Pleasure, and there are all the people who plow through it just so they can bash it without being accused of complaining about books they haven't read.
    • Breaking Dawn. Despite the frequent hate you see, the earlier books got some decent reviews when they were released, it was later that the group of detractors grew as large as it did. Breaking Dawn, however, was actively disliked by many fans of the series, and still sold incredibly well.
  • A fictional version, from Ben Bova's Cyberbooks: at a meeting in a publishing house, the staff discuss the latest "Sheldon Stoker" manuscript and judge it to be complete rubbish, but a guaranteed bestseller. They recommend, "Hold our noses and buy it."
  • Bestselling author of the Mike Hammer series Mickey Spillane can't be harmed by critics. He also admits that he's Only in It for the Money:
    I have no fans. You know what I got? Customers. And customers are your friends.
    Inspiration is an empty bank account.note 
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was originally panned by critics, who found the story hard to follow and preposterous, but it was positively adored by its readers. It would eventually become one of the most influential and popular novels of all time.
  • Many critics panned Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, including Whittaker Chambers of the National Journal, who said in a review of the book that "from every page, I could hear the book screaming, 'to a gas chamber, go!'" Notwithstanding critics' dislike of the book, it still continues to sell tens of thousands of copies every year, unusual since the book was first published in 1957, and has been continuously in print ever since.
  • The Berenstain Bears has been attacked by critics left-and-right since its early days who've accused of the series of being formulaic and saccharine, but that hasn't stopped it from becoming one of the most beloved children's book series of all time. An attempt to break this status backfired spectacularly when Hanna Rosin of Slate wrote a negative article about the series following Jan Berenstain's death (even going as far as to say "good riddance"), only for readers to angrily call her out on the "too soon" status of the article and insensitive tone she took, of which she subsequently apologized for.
  • Despite being generally negatively regarded by critics, Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels had sold 125 million copies worldwide by the middle of 2015 and the first book is one of the fastest selling paperbacks in the UK ever; likewise, the first film made $571 million at the box office (against a budget of $40 million) and is the fourth-highest grossing romance film of all time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • TV Guide had a review disparaging a Goosebumps special. Kids watched it anyway.
  • The Lawrence Welk Show was attacked as early as its 1950s debut by satirists and critics who even then accused it of being sappy, old-fashioned, un-hip, or downright reactionary. Despite a predominately middle-aged and elderly audience, and despite clinging stubbornly to musical styles that were rapidly falling out-of-fashion, it ran in various incarnations from 1955 until 1982, and has been more-or-less continuously appearing on TV in reruns ever since. Over sixty years after its debut, you can still catch episodes every weekend on many PBS stations throughout the US, while most of its younger and hipper competitors have long-since left the airwaves.
  • Oz never got the kind of acclaim that other HBO shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire did. Nevertheless, it had (has) one of the staunchest fan bases and was one of the network's highest-rated shows.
  • True Blood became increasingly derided in its later seasons but that didn't seem to make a dent in the ratings.
  • Critics were largely dismissive of Stargate Atlantis, regarding it as a pale imitation of Stargate SG-1. Nevertheless, it was an excellent ratings performer for Sci-Fi Channel.
  • My Family was slaughtered by critics, and even the stars refused to film one episode because it was so bad. Yet it was one of the UK's top-rated sitcoms and aired over ten series.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager largely got mixed to negative reviews from critics decrying the series as feeling like a melodramatic after-school special. It still received the highest premiere viewership ratings ever for an ABC Family original program, getting five seasons (with 121 episodes in total) and served as a Star-Making Role for Shailene Woodley.
  • Two and a Half Men. Despite getting largely mixed reviews and critics expressing disgust at the often sexist humor and unlikable characters, it still had a following substantial enough to earn it twelve seasons (262 episodes in total).
  • Almost anything on the Belgian television network VTM could qualify. Critics despise the network due to it being the first commercial Belgian network, which allows room for more commercial fare that critics just will absolutely hate (such as Wedden, dat...?, Walters Verjaardagsshow, Rad van Fortuin, Blind Date, Bompa, Nonkel Jef etc.) with only the rare TV show on it (such as Moeder, waarom leven wij?, Ons geluk and The Raf and Ronny Show) being exempt from this fate and blame it for making society dumber due to the fact that they permanently give shows on there low ratings, but the network was so successful that Medialaan, the creator of that network, started publishing four more networks in Belgium in addition to that one.
  • Every trash television show, from The Morton Downey Jr. Show to The Jerry Springer Show has been condemned by critics as 'the absolute worst in TV entertainment', but they always had high ratings.
  • Big Brother is a reality TV series condemned by almost all TV critics worldwide in all countries, yet had some of the highest viewerships of all time.
  • My Kitchen Rules is a very huge target of mockery; almost every recap articles of the episode would contain not-so-subtle insults regarding the contestants' fake personalities and their cooking skills. Even on its own FB fan page, a lot of viewers would spew their hate for the show's exaggerated drama and the painfully obvious fake dialogue, giving the show the nickname "My Kitchen Rigged". The show itself has consistently placed as #1 in terms of viewing figures in Australia.
  • Jessie on Disney Channel. There is hardly a review published that didn't call this one of the worst TV shows out there, to the point where sites that don't even normally review TV shows (like sports news site Deadspin and humor site Cracked) would join in just to point out how awful this show was. Yet it was one of the most watched and most renewed show on Disney Channel when it ran.
  • Every Witch Way on Nickelodeon likewise got huge episode orders and enough viewership to justify a spin-off despite nearly every critic who screened it claiming it was almost literally unwatchable.
  • In spite of the criticism Dude, What Would Happen? got, it somehow lasted for 2 years. The same goes for Destroy Build Destroy, but was received a little better than the former due to it having Andrew W.K..
  • Thuis is one of the most hated sitcoms in Flanders with critics and people alike, but it keeps getting the award for "highest number of viewers" on Vlaamse Televisie Sterren.
  • In-Universe, the Show Within a Show When the Whistle Blows from Extras makes Andy Millman rich, famous, and loved by his millions of fans, but the critics absolutely loathe it, and increasingly, so does Andy, who would rather have critical acclaim than popularity with audiences.
  • Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been received very negatively by critics and IMDb users (it has a 2.8/10 on the site) alike, but according to Wikipedia, it has attracted high viewership ratings and won several audience awards, and is one of E!'s most successful shows.
  • The Price Is Right premiered in 1956 to universal critical lashing, equating it to the end of civilization as we know it. Almost 63 years hence, critics still can't touch it.
  • 13 Reasons Why received positive critical reception for its first season but seasons 2 and 3 were both eviscerated by critics. Despite Netflix not releasing viewing figures, it is clear that people are watching because 13 Reasons Why was renewed for season 4 before season 3 was even released, despite all the negative reviews.
  • Baywatch was much-hated and was once voted the worst TV show exported to Britain, but it was a huge success when it first aired and is fondly recalled even to this day.
  • The less said about the once-massive hatedom for Barney & Friends, the more you'll understand. 90% of older kids hated the hell out of it (and no doubt helped cause Barney's Great Adventure to be a Box Office Bomb) but it was quite a merchandising success.
  • Manimal is often regarded as one of the worst television shows ever made (however, there are shows that are more deserving of that title), but it still has managed to have a decently-sized cult following.
  • In spite of the Narm that Glee was known for, it was a huge success for Fox and ran for 6 seasons and 121 episodes.

    Music 
  • Liberace was undoubtedly a talented pianist, but critics despised him from bringing Classical Music to kitschy low ends. In a famous reaction to this criticism, Liberace said: "I cried all the way to the bank."
  • Rascal Flatts, at least from about 2004-2010. Ever since Dann Huff became their producer, they've been widely criticized for many reasons: Huff's bombastic production; Gary LeVox's over-the-top, whiny, nasal singing voice; and unimpressive song choices. Such derision didn't stop them from continuing to land in the Top 10, sell lots of albums, win lots of awards, and overall be the top band in country music for several years running. It would seem that the band eventually learned their lesson in 2010, when their label (Disney-owned Lyric Street) closed, and they moved over to the indie label Big Machine Records to greater critical acclaim, but generally diminishing returns on the charts as Lady Antebellum and Zac Brown Band took over as the dominant bands in the genre (before they, too, tapered off).
  • Both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were dismissed by critics in their early years, which didn't stop them from becoming very popular anyway. Nowadays the critics are usually more appreciative, however.
  • Grand Funk Railroad was largely savaged by critics and even found themselves at the butt of an urban legend, yet found significant commercial success even outside the Lowest Common Denominator. As Snopes put it:
    And Grand Funk wasn't an act of the cute, well-groomed, sugary variety (like their contemporaries the Osmonds or the Bay City Rollers, or later entries such as the Spice Girls or the Backstreet Boys) who garnered huge followings by appealing to prepubescent girls or drooling adolescent males — their records were bought by, and their concerts attended by, "real" rock fans.
  • Nickelback can be seen as the modern-day version of Grand Funk Railroad in this respect. They have been widely panned by critics, were once voted the worst band of all time, countless YouTube videos are devoted to picking apart how all their songs sound the same, and a Finnish university student even wrote a paper dedicated to figuring out why they're hated by many. It hasn't stopped the band from selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. As Chad Kroeger once noted, "Yeah, everybody hates us. We suck. Sure. But you know, somebody out there is buying our albums anyway."
  • A lot of late 1970s/early 1980s Arena Rock bands were despised by critics while still selling multi-platinum albums. None got it worse than Toto, who were accused of using their industry connections (they'd all been prolific session musicians before they formed the band) to rig the Grammy Awards in 1983.
  • In the 1980s, Stevie Nicks was commonly dismissed by 'highbrow' rock critics (Rolling Stone was particularly egregious in this regard) who fawned on her former lover and current bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, notwithstanding that his albums were only a fraction as popular as hers. Many of those same critics did a perfect about-face and hailed her as an elder stateswoman of rock and roll in the late 1990s and 2000s.
  • Music critics hated the entire Hair Metal genre during the 1980s, but that didn't stop it from becoming the biggest music genre in the world during that decade. When Grunge became popular in the early 1990s and pushed hair metal out of the spotlight, those critics breathed a sigh of relief and embraced the 'earthy, genuine, and intelligent' new rock genre. However, 80s nostalgia has helped the genre experience a resurgence in popularity with bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison having highly successful tours, with some of these bands even releasing new albums.
  • Britney Spears has one of the biggest groups of detractors in all of pop land but somehow manages to get those #1 singles and albums, sell out tours, get hired for big bucks for TV shows, and generally remain relevant and popular in the public eye.
  • At the height of its popularity, Dubstep was reviled by every music critic, lambasted as a tuneless disgrace to all music. It's still widely loved by a huge number of fans and the artists that produce and play it are still widely commercially successful.
  • Funk Carioca, a genre in Brazil that is a derivative of Miami bassnote . People mention the over-sexualization of women and the genre's association with drug dealers and other kinds of criminal elements as reasons), and as such is reviled by critics, but still very popular by the masses.
    • Brazil also has the genre known as "College Country" (sertanejo universitário), which the masses love even if it's otherwise panned for shallow themes and vapid lyrics.
  • When she first appeared, most critics said, and not without some justification, that Lady Gaga would still be a C-List Girl Singer with no record contract were it not for her outlandish behavior, and that her 'true talent' wasn't music, but rather PR management. Millions of her fans surprisingly failed to care and buy her albums in droves. Her later material even won critics over.
  • Classical music is often thought of as being above such battles, but Giacomo Puccini is an example of a composer who's effectively Critic Proof. There is a large body of informed opinion in the classical world which argues that Puccini may have had a knack for catchy tunes, but compared to his compatriot Giuseppe Verdi he had very little talent for constructing musical drama, and most of his stories, however promising, are effectively ruined by the steaming ladles of musical Narm that he poured over them. However, none of this seems to affect Puccini's box office, and he remains one of the most popular opera composers ever. As Verdi once advised opera house director Giulio Gatti-Casazza, the box office receipts are the only gauge of success: "The theater is meant to be full, not empty."
  • Billy Joel has been known to have been savaged critically, at least at the height of his success, but according to Wikipedia has sold 150 million albums worldwide as of 2013. His 1978 album 52nd Street (which bears the distinction of being the first album mass-manufactured for Compact Disc in 1982) won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, he's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and many of his hits have become standards.
  • The Kidz Bop albums definitely qualify, albeit not so much with professional critics as with more casual music fans. The main complaints are that they Bowdlerize already mediocre songs by censoring the lyrics (in some cases actually making the lyrics dirtier and even so, the lyrics are still not appropriate for kids) and have kids sing the songs, never mind that they can't even sing and might not even be going through puberty, yet these albums still sell enough to warrant 37 albums.
  • Elton John very rarely, especially at the height of his fame got the kind of critical respect he had during his singer-songwriter period for his albums (although he had released his fair share of inconsistent albums as well, even his more notable albums and songs received unfair criticism), yet he remained one of the top acts of The '70s and has been very successful at many times since his heyday. Much of the blame can be due to his very high profile all over the media, and some of it due to the fact he adopted an increasingly flamboyant image as he changed to a more glam-rock and pop-oriented sound by Honky Chateau.
  • The Eagles: One of the most popular rock bands of all time, and one of the most universally critically reviled. Allmusic is one of the few review sites that has anything good to say about them.
  • The early years of Hip-Hop were heavily criticized by so-called music experts. It was bashed in the 70s and 80s as not being real music and just a rebellious childhood fad that would soon pass, since there were other things that went with the music, like graffiti, break dancing, etc. Then during the 90s and 2000s, despite the music growing in popularity, it was considered by many critics to be dangerous to society and there were even attempts during the 90s from politicians to get the music banned from the States. Nowadays, in the 2010s, it still has a number of critics, yet Hip Hop has been ranked the most popular music genre in the world in terms of physical and downloadable sales.
  • Invoked by name by the 2004 edition of The New Rolling Stone Album Guide in its review of Ratt's Out of the Cellar.
  • "We Built This City" by Starship is often regarded as one of the worst songs ever recorded, a title that is mainly the fault of the song's infamous music video and Blender magazine's (kinda bias-fueled) "50 Worst Songs Ever" list,, yet it was a #1 hit when it was released back in 1985 and still gets airplay on many '80s radio stations, along with getting used in many films and TV shows even to this day.
  • Maroon 5 has been mostly panned by both professional and amateur reviewers after Overexposed, criticizing the band for selling out since that album and making meaningless, radio-friendly music. However, all of that hate has yet to keep them from churning out many hit singles and scoring multiple Platinum-certified records.
  • Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has been constantly mocked throughout the years, yet is still a favorite of Christmas radio stunting schedules.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield is a frequent target of mockery, but it's also one of the most popular comic strips around, appearing in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide and is still profitable through merchandising.

    Theatre 
  • The Jewish/Irish ethnic comedy play Abie's Irish Rose opened on Broadway in 1922, and quickly became a laughingstock of theatre critics. It closed five years later, having run longer than any previous Broadway show.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Eighties musicals Cats and The Phantom of the Opera were heavily criticized as empty Spectacle, but were phenomenally successful with audiences anyway.
  • Les Misérables:
    • It was panned by critics after the first performance in the 1980s. The cast expected empty seats at the next performance, yet Word Of Mouth by theatergoers who absolutely loved it ensured that now, even a quarter-century-plus later, it's a box-office hit.
    • Les Mis received negative reviews in the U.K. at the beginning but that American critics and audiences were united in application, with the musical making the cover of Newsweek and getting much press, thus making it an Inverted Trope/Played Straight depending on the location.
  • In-story example: In Dream Girl, Jim is fired by a publishing house after he turns down Always Opal (an obvious Fictional Counterpart of Forever Amber), which proceeds to sell out at bookstores everywhere. "If I had it to do over again, I'd still turn that book down," he tells his sister-in-law Georgina, who completely agrees with him on the book's trashiness: "It's nothing but a lot of dressed-up smut, atrociously written, and all in very bad taste, if you ask me."
  • The Broadway Retool of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory subverted this. Most of the reviews were bad if not scathing, and it was completely shut out of Tony nominations, but it still posted healthy grosses...for about five months. Once summer passed, ticket sales plunged and it closed the following January. Half of the problem was that it opened just one day before the Broadway stage adaptation of Don Bluth's Anastasia, another critical dud courting families and nostalgic millennials, did; the other half was that Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away were breaking out big. Combine that with Frozen being due to arrive the following spring, and the producers gave up trying to push the show in New York. Charlie did break house records for the Lunt-Fontanne during its final Christmastime run of performances, but family-friendly shows tend to do well then anyway. The West End version of Charlie, by comparison, managed to get three high-grossing Christmas seasons in before closing; even though it opened to a very mixed reception in London, it still drew audiences with its massive Spectacle — which the Broadway version notably lacked. Time will tell if the Broadway version does well on the touring circuit.
  • If the reviews for the movie adaptation are to be believed (with Janet Maselin calling the musical "a horror on the stage" and Jonathan Rosenbaum calling it "terrible" - Fridge Logic suggests that they are to talk given that they only did movie reviews and never reviewed a stage musical once), critics absolutely hated Beatlemania (a tribute musical for The Beatles), but it was successful enough to run for a total of 1,006 performances from May of 1977 to October of 1979.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • Backyard Sports. There are new editions every year and the games keep selling. IGN and G4 continue to hate the series, though (they both thought it was average at the beginning, then they considered it one of the worst game series of all time).
  • Most EA Sports franchises, though FIFA Soccer and NHL Hockey have been acclaimed in later years. Part of FIFA's success should be credited to the poor job Konami did with Pro Evolution Soccer on the last couple years.
  • Enter the Matrix sold five million copies despite being panned by critics (and many gamers, after they bought it).
  • Gamespot once gave out an annual "Worst Game Everyone Played" award until it stopped doing so after 2010. Past winners included:
  • Licensed games tend to fare this way. Superman 64, despite being widely considered one of the worst games ever made, actually sold pretty well.
  • When New Super Mario Bros. 2 came out, some critics gave it harsh reviews for being a Mission-Pack Sequel to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but it became the fourth best-selling game for the 3DS.
  • Valhalla Knights has managed to become a franchise despite scathing reviews in the North American gaming media.
  • Gaming critics hated almost everything about the Wii, which eventually sold over 100 million units worldwide (the third home console to do so).
  • The Just Dance series is the biggest Cash Cow Franchise of Ubisoft when each entry of the series is known to get average scores from critics.
  • Destiny has received very mixed reviews, its story in particular, being a So Okay, It's Average Cliché Storm. This hasn't stopped it from being amazingly successful.
  • Dynasty Warriors (and by extension, pretty much any warriors game) is hated to death by critics. While not necessarily as popular as some other examples, the series does sell well enough constantly to justify translating another game in the series.
  • Nekopara was savaged by critics for its Excuse Plot and short length, but went on to become one of the most successful doujin visual novels of all time, spawning multiple sequels, an OVA, and an anime adaptation, which also sold well despite critical thrashing.
  • The first several entries of the Neptunia franchise received terrible reviews. It went on to become its developer's flagship series, with various adaptations and multiple games per year.
  • Reviews for the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games titles were generally mixed to average, but the general public still bought them in droves anyway. Most of the derision comes not from the quality of the actual games, but rather from the fact that fans of both franchises would have preferred if the characters crossed over in Platform Games instead.
  • The Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man is pretty much the iconic example of a Porting Disaster to both fans and critics (it even provides the page image), routinely placing on 'worst game ever' lists for its primitive graphics, poor sound quality, and sprite flickering making the game almost unplayable. Despite this, its heavy advertising campaign and the mere fact that it was a Pac-Man game on the 2600 ensured it became the bestselling game on the system by a wide margin. It's often seen as a factor in the Great Videogame Crash, as such a disastrous game reaching so much of Atari's audience didn't exactly reflect well on the company.
  • The Senran Kagura franchise is constantly demonized outside of Japan for its fanservice elements, but this hasn't hurt the franchise's rising popularity in the slightest, with more games and merchandise being produced and released worldwide to this day.
  • The Sniper: Ghost Warrior series sells very well (the first two games combined sold 5.5 million by mid-2014, and the third game adding another million to the pile) despite consistently mediocre to bad critic and user reviews.

    Webcomics 
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del. Despite, or perhaps because of, the group of detractors that the webcomic and its proprietor accrued, it maintains a solid following.
  • TwoKinds has been savaged by many a Caustic Critic yet it's run strong for 12 years and the creator manages to sell physical books of the comic and even an art book for it in his store.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Despite getting a considerable amount of hate since its resurrection in 2005 for handling controversial topics in a tasteless fashion and being lower-brow than many other shows, it's still one of Fox's highest-rated shows.
  • Early reviews for The Looney Tunes Show ripped it apart, calling it an insult to the Looney Tunes franchise, but that didn't stop the show from gaining (at least at first) huge ratings and even a sizable Periphery Demographic, including classic Looney Tunes fans.
  • Johnny Test allegedly got very good ratings (probably because its low budget allowed it to make money even when the bare minimum of viewers were watching it) and ran for about six seasons, yet the cartoon community (both the critics and fans) considers it to be one of the worst (if not the worst) kids' cartoons ever made and treat the series, along with Mega Babies. In fact, it's believed behind-the-scenes issues were what finally killed it rather than the show's infamy.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man is possibly one of the most polarizing superhero cartoons ever made, and yet it still ran for four successful seasons. The toys in particular (the shilling of which was one of the most criticized aspects of the show) proved very lucrative for Hasbro and Marvel.
  • On the DC side, there's Teen Titans Go!, which zig-zags this trope a bit. The show developed a massive Periphery Hatedom from fans of the original series who feel the Denser and Wackier show is an insult to the original, with the show itself lovingly taking shots at those detractors). The zig-zagging comes from not only the series spending years as Cartoon Network's highest-rated shows but also from it being nominated for a much-coveted Emmy Award... twice, something that its 2003 predecessor never managed. The theatrical movie also received high praise from critics for its mix of lowbrow humor and clever parody.
  • The Flintstones: From its 1960 inception, critics and Golden Age Animation purists hated it because it's, well, Hanna-Barbera. And Hanna-Barbera has always had a large segment of detractors. But that didn't stop The Flintstones from enjoying a six-year primetime run, various spinoffs, and two theatrical movies, and Hanna-Barbera staying in operation for over four decades as the biggest studio in television animation.
  • The Chicago Tribune had a review bashing the Mummies Alive! compilation movie Mummies Alive! – The Legend Begins. Kids watched it anyway.

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