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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. 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...


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.


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.

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 Acclaimed Flop, Confirmation Bias, Reviews Are the Gospel and Guilty Pleasure. Not to be confused with Protection from Editors.



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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.
  • Bakugan Battle Brawlers is widely considered as one of the worst kid shows of all time and has been bashed for its flat animation, bland characters, and ugly art. Yet it has a lot of toys and was given a trading card game.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Big events and Crisis Crossovers in general. No matter how poor the reviews and fan reaction are, these tend to be the best-selling superhero comics of the entire year whenever they're released. When asked at a convention panel why Marvel Comics keeps putting out massive crossovers despite fans saying they are sick of them, a rep from the company simply shrugged and said that they will stop doing event crossovers when people stop buying them in droves.
  • 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. Maximum Carnage was pretty bad, 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 mediocre success in the box office. On the other hand, Chicken Little didn't become a franchise, unlike Cars 2 (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.

    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.
  • Wild Wild West. Not just critic-proof, but participant-proof as well. Even star Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld said they realized the movie was crap. It didn't stop it from making a ton of money. Trey Parker and Matt Stone claim that part of the reason was underaged teens who couldn't buy tickets for South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut bought tickets for WWW to get in the theaters then sat down to see their film instead.
  • 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.
  • Batman & Robin: Intensely panned by critics and fans alike, but made over $100 million at the box office. It may be a Double-Subverted example, though, as the movie is still viewed widely as an embarrassment that killed Batman movies until The Dark Knight Saga.
  • 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 too: most critics liked it only modestly, but fanboys still turned out in droves to see it.
  • 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. Released a mere few weeks later, Heaven is For Real made $91 million on a $12 million budget and was watched by legions of religious Christians, starting a trend of poorly-made Christian propaganda films that cost remarkably little but are seen by very many right-wing, religious viewers who care more about the films' values and messages than their quality.

    The same can be said for most Christian movies, such as the massive wave of wide-released religious propaganda that followed the wake of God's not Dead and Heaven Is For Real: Moms' Night Out, a critically-panned Christian rom-com; Left Behind, a critically-panned Christian apocalyptic thriller based on the book and starring Nicolas Cage; Do You Believe, a critically-panned Christian drama; War Room, a militant Christian drama and Miracles From Heaven, a somewhat better-reviewed but still poorly-received Christian domestic drama. Poorer performers, however, included The Identical, a music-based Christian drama; the infamous, Razzie-winning Saving Christmas and Woodlawn, a Christian sports film, all which failed both critically and commercially. Well-reviewed Christian films do exist, but tend to be better-made and less didactic.
  • Zig-zagged with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. They were panned by critics as being inferior superhero team-up movies when compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but became incredibly successful, helped in part by dedicated DC Comics fans. On the other hand, bad word-of-mouth caused both films to suffer steep box office drops after their huge opening weekends; while Suicide Squad mostly rebounded from these drops, Batman v Superman ultimately couldn't double its domestic opening weekend total (grossing $330 million after opening with $166 million), something that's almost unheard of for a blockbuster film.
  • 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 Rouge Pictures last release for a few years, though.
  • 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. This is because it's considered by the more-forgiving critics and most audiences as So Bad, It's Good, and most of its revenue came from the international box office (particularly China), where word-of-mouth doesn't spread as much compared to the U.S.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • TV Guide had a review disparaging a Goosebumps special. Kids watched it anyway.
  • It's always like this when it comes to many of the kid-coms produced by Disney Channel, especially since the days of Hannah Montana (and in some cases, Lizzie McGuire). Their shows are always savaged by both critics and 'traditionalist' Disney fans (in other words, fans of the live-action films made when Walt Disney himself was alive, most — if not all — of the Disney Animated Canon, classic Disney Characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and the Disney theme parks), but that won't stop the network's target audience of tweens aged 8-14 from watching them 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.
  • 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 Snark Bait magnet; 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.

  • 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 the former tapered off too).
  • 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 and were once voted the worst band of all time; there exist countless YouTube videos devoted to picking apart how all their songs sound the same. It hasn't stopped them 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. In the last few years, however, Hair Metal has experienced 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield is a frequent Snark Bait, 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.

  • 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 — and are to this day — heavily criticized as empty Spectacle, but were phenomenally successful with audiences anyway. This is parodied in the The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! pastiche "Aspects of Junita," where Junita sings her farewell:
    Did I have genius? Never.
    Did I have greatness? Never.
    But was I a commercial success?
    Yes—now and forever!
  • 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.


    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 WITH COINS! 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. It is also the series where critics use Lampshade Hanging on this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Furry Webcomics, in general, tend to be received unfavorably by outsiders and critics, but do extremely well with their intended audience.

    Western Animation 
  • Any children's show that is predominantly made to be Merchandise-Driven will be savaged by critics: Transformers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), Teddy Ruxpin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thunder Cats, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Samson, or even anime like Pokémon, Digimon... but children will watch it religiously and beg their parents to buy them every product in the franchise. (It should be noted that being Merchandise-Driven doesn't necessarily make it a low-quality work, simply that critics tend to dislike them and kids tend to love them regardless of writing quality.)
  • Family Guy: Despite getting a considerable amount of hate since its resurrection in 2005 for handling controversial topics in a Dude, Not Funny! 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 and ran for about six or seven seasons, yet it's considered by many critics and viewers to be one of the worst (if not the worst) kids' cartoons ever made. In fact, it's believed to be behind-the-scenes issues that finally killed it, not its poor reception.
  • 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.


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