Review bombing is a strange aspect of the state of cinema in the Internet age. The term refers specifically to the phenomenon of users posting negative reviews of a film in order to lower its average rating. Review bombers often haven’t seen the film that they’re negatively reviewing, or are reacting to an aspect of the film unrelated to that film’s actual content. For example, racists might review bomb The Little Mermaid live action adaptation because they don’t like that a Black actor was cast as Ariel.
There are other reasons disgruntled Internet denizens might review bomb The Little Mermaid (general hatred towards Disney’s live action movies, or if you’re a Ron DeSantis supporter, general hatred towards Disney, period). Whatever the case, IMDb is on to the shenanigans. The Internet Movie Database website posted a warning attached to The Little Mermaid review page on the U.S., Canadian, U.K., Brazilian and Mexican sites.
“Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on this title. To preserve the reliability of our rating system, an alternate weighting calculation has been applied,” the note reads. On its FAQ page, the site explains, “Although we accept and consider all votes received by users, not all votes have the same impact (or ‘weight’) on the final rating. When unusual voting activity is detected, an alternate weighting calculation may be applied in order to preserve the reliability of our system.”
How exactly IMDb is weighing these reviews, and what considerations are being taken to decide which review is weighted how, is unclear. (In fact, IMDB declines to “disclose the exact method used to generate the rating” in order to “ensure that our rating mechanism remains effective.”) The Little Mermaid (2023) currently sits at a 7/10 rating on the site.