Christian Bale has battled with the Joker, dragons, and Joseph Pulitzer (what a career), but now he’s facing his toughest opponent yet: internet trolls.
Bale and Oscar Isaac’s new historical drama The Promise — set during the final days of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the Armenian Genocide — is being swamped with one- and 10-star reviews on IMDb, with little in-between, despite only having been screened to the public three times. As of publication time, the film has 87,348 votes, including 55,234 single-star and 31,128 ten-star votes. (That’s 4.1 overall, or nearly a whole point lower than Boo! A Madea Halloween.) One of two things is happening here: Batman and Poe Dameron mixing universes is causing mass confusion, or “IMDb users are voting politically on The Promise without having seen it,” according to the Independent. Considering the Ottoman Empire murdered more than 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1922, it’s probably the latter.
Producer Mike Medavoy told Variety that “the day after we screened the movie, 70,000 people went on IMDb and said they didn’t like the movie. There’s no way that many people saw the movie after one screening. There aren’t that many seats in the theater.” A critic for the Hollywood Reporter was there, though, and he called The Promise “an earnest but much too formulaic attempt to humanize this historic atrocity.” It’s not 10-star good or 1-star bad; if anything, the film’s only crime is being pretty boring. Were it not for the big names attached, it would hardly be worth mentioning. But The Promise — which centers on a love triangle between a medical student (Bale), journalist (Isaac), and an Armenian woman (Charlotte Le Bon); it was written and directed by Hotel Rwanda‘s Terry George — already has 30,000-plus more votes than The Secret Life of Pets, the year’s sixth highest grossing movie.
(If you’re saying to yourself, “IMDb ratings don’t matter,” well, you’re right, unless you work on Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad.)
Most of the negative ratings are from outside America (there’s no U.S. release date yet) and by men between the ages of 18-44. It’s like Ghostbusters all over again, except this time, millions of childhoods were actually ruined.