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Hollywood Producer Blames Rotten Tomatoes For Convincing People Not To See His Movie (vanityfair.com) 395

An anonymous reader shares a VanityFair report: These days, it takes less than 60 seconds to know what the general consensus on a new movie is -- thanks to Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregator site that designates a number score to each film based on critical and user reviews. Although this may be convenient for moviegoers not necessarily interested in burning $15 on a critically subpar film, it is certainly not convenient for those Hollywood directors, producers, backers, and stars who toiled to make said critically subpar film. In fact, the site may be "the worst thing that we have in today's movie culture" -- at least according to Brett Ratner, the Rush Hour director/producer who recently threw the financial weight of his RatPac Entertainment behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Sure, the blockbuster made over $850 million worldwide in spite of negative reviews ... but just think of how much more it could have made had it not had a Rotten Tomatoes score of 27 percent! Last week, while speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival, Ratner said, "The worst thing that we have in today's movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. I think it's the destruction of our business."
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Hollywood Producer Blames Rotten Tomatoes For Convincing People Not To See His Movie

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  • Fixed That For You (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:02AM (#54102033)

    Hollywood Producer Blames Rotten Tomatoes For Convincing People Not To See His Shitty Movie

  • Poor business (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:02AM (#54102035)

    If your business depends on tricking people into watching crappy movies, it deserves to die.

    • Re:Poor business (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:18AM (#54102189) Homepage Journal

      One guys "crap" is another guys entertainment.

      The problem is that any given reviewer wont "mesh" with what *YOU* like. Or what *I* like. In the dark ages (before www), I used to religiously read two or three movie reviewers in my area. After 5 or 6 reviews the lights clicked. If X liked a given movie it would be likely that I WOULDN'T like it. If Y liked a movie, then it was pretty good odds that I would enjoy it. It was a bit more complicated than that but that's the gist. I learned what THEIR criteria was pretty quick.

      Occasionally, I'd see a crappy movie my "rules" would indicate I would enjoy it or vise versa but it was otherwise pretty accurate.

      Good example of an exception -- Back to the Beach (1980s reunion movie). I did *NOT* want to see that film. Some friends and I went to see the latest Bond film (can't recall what it was) but it was sold out. They decided to see this and I didn't drive. Everything told me that this movie would be crap. I'm embarrassed to say I enjoyed it. The opening on the airliner set the tone and it was just fun to watch. My "rules" told me to avoid this film like the plague.

      • Re:Poor business (Score:5, Interesting)

        by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:27AM (#54102259) Homepage

        Rober Ebert was a genius, though. He understood that pretentious movies are not the ultimate in entertainment and is sometimes cheap crap is great.

        Just look at this snip from his review of Gremlins (movie picked at random):

        "Gremlins" is a confrontation between Norman Rockwell's vision of Christmas and Hollywood's vision of the blood-sucking monkeys of voodoo island..... At the level of Pop Movie-going, it's a sophisticated, witty B movie, in which the monsters are devouring not only the defenseless town, but decades of defenseless clichés.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Ebert also said video games are not an expressive media and only idiots consume them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rgmoore ( 133276 )

          Of course this shows another important point with reviewers: it's important to read the actual review rather than just the star rating. A good reviewer will explain not just whether they like a given movie (or book, album, etc.) but also why they feel that way. Even if your tastes differ from theirs, you can often get a good idea of whether you'll like something if you can see what they like and dislike about it in detail. Sites like Rotten Tomatoes give you the advantage of aggregating multiple reviews,

      • Re:Poor business (Score:4, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:30AM (#54102287) Journal

        Back to the Beach (1980s reunion movie)

        Roger Ebert gave that movie a rave review. It was like 3.5/4 stars and he compared it to Little Shop of Horrors.

        The James Bond film at that time would have been The Living Daylights, starring Timothy Dalton. It worked out well for you. The Living Daylights isn't bad, but Back to the Beach is a cult classic.

      • by Junta ( 36770 )

        I think that's something lost when people look at 'x%' and call it a day. Media is a very subjective thing, so you have to determine that the person or population you are dealing with aligns with your own.

        With rotten tomatoes, you have a monolithic population. If a movie is well known (i.e. over-promoted), it mustn't be in any way polarizing because people will go to see it, even if they wouldn't have otherwise, and end up resenting the film as a result. If a movie is a touch more obscure, then generally

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        The problem is that any given reviewer wont "mesh" with what *YOU* like. Or what *I* like.

        That's the point of aggregation sites like RottenTomatoes. Any given particular reviewer might have tastes that differ from yours or mine, but if 999 of 1000 reviewers all say the movie stinks, then it's very likely the movie stinks. Sure, you might be the rare exception whose tastes are similar to the lone holdout, but that's not the way to bet.

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )

        One guys "crap" is another guys entertainment.

        Rotten Tomatoes produce a score that is the consensus of often hundreds of reviews. You're free to ignore the consensus, agree with it, or disagree with it. You're free to read individual reviews and likewise come to your own conclusion.

        Sensible people pay heed of reviews even if they don't agree with them. Producers like Brett Ratner, Michael Bay et al would prefer that you didn't though.

      • Staring at the score a single reviewer gives is, IMHO, stupid, but taking a look at what thousands of people think gives a much better image of what it's actually like. On Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and the likes I always look at the user-score, not the critic-score, and pretty often the user-score more-or-less matches with my opinion.

    • 100% Agree (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I saw batman v superman, and it was a huge disappointment. No bullshit and no trolling, they seriously dropped the ball. They deserved the low reviews, and the people who chose not to see it due to the low reviews probably spent their time doing something more enjoyable instead.

      Far from being the death of the industry, I think sites like Rotten Tomatoes are an excellent quality control measure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:03AM (#54102039)

    The problem isn't the review aggregators; it's the constant stream of bad movies.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      While true, there is something to be said that review sites gathering *all* opinions and presenting a single metric for all users of all preferences to see obliterates some depth. People who know will go and read more thoughtful reviews of course.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Also, please no more comic-based movies, especially not in Sci-Fi. There must be many thousands of awesome scripts and novels that could be adopted for the big screen, and all Hollywood can do is dust of the most obscure old comic books for inspiration? And why all these endless action scenes in the end? Does Hollywood really think people like them? We go to the movies despite the needless action, not because of it!

      Make an intelligent Sci-Fi movie not based on a comic, and you'll also get good reviews, and

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ChrisMaple ( 607946 )
        By your standard, The Fifth Element should never have been made.
      • While I agree that there should be more intelligent movies and in particular Sci-Fi; the problem is that a large part of the population prefers ignorance. Hence they are only serving what the market wants. Then they complain that the market doesn't want it and movie attendance is down because the ignorant poor slobs can't pay high enough prices for tickets so that movie executives can afford more blow and hookers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's especially delightful when the guy who made Batman v. Superman is complaining about rotten tomatoes doing exactly the right thing for the right reasons. I have had the displeasure of seeing this on HBO, I really think if anything Rotten Tomatoes made this appear better than it was. 27% is optimistic, I'm not sure what kind of people are in that 27%, but I don't see them as especially discerning critics. Absolutely nothing about that movie made sense, the story was incoherent, the acting was terrible, e

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:54AM (#54102465)

      The problem isn't the review aggregators; it's the constant stream of bad movies.

      Yeah translation: More people would have seen our film if they didn't know it was garbage.

  • Their curated list of critics simply don't like the same movies I do. Therefore there is little to no correlation between my enjoyment of a film and its RT freshness. It's also setting expectations. People went into BvS expecting a terrible movie. If you look for a terrible movie, you will find it.

    • No, but when I am walking by a Redbox in the grocery store and a title and "cover image" intrigue me, Rotten Tomatoes or whatever else Google brings up for a voice search on the movie title is a lot better gauge of whether or not this thing is worth $3 and 2 hours of my time. The self-promotional synopses are practically useless for judging the quality of entertainment they are describing.

    • That is possible, you might have extremely bad taste in movies. You can also use the "Audience Liked" score instead. Usually if both scores are low the movie is really really bad. Or if both a high, the movie is usually good.
    • by mellon ( 7048 )

      How was it not going to be a terrible movie? Puhleez. I didn't need a Rotten Tomato review to stay away—I stayed away because the very concept was not only offensive but also stupid. Okay, great, making some comic book movies was cool. But at this point it's just gratuitous. There's a reason why comic books work, and there's a reason why comic books as movies is wearing thin. You can't get much story into three acts.

    • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:15AM (#54102169)

      Bateman vs super man was a mediocre movie at best. The problem is these are big characters and you had no backstory for. 2 out of 3 main characters were new. If they had done a Bateman movie alone with Ben affalac (?) and had the ending, a cut scene etc tie it into Bateman vs super man it would have been a much better movie. Bonus you could also tie in sucide squad members being arrested after a confrontation with Batman.

      It took Marvel a couple of tries to realize that. Now people look for cutscenes for the next marvel movie.

      If you go back to 2007 and iron man and play the movies and tv shows in order you get a mostly consistent plot.

      Batman vs super man is taking the plot of avengers 2 with out the character building arcs to make you care.

    • by ophix ( 680455 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:22AM (#54102223) Homepage
      I went in expecting a terrible movie and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a mediocre movie. I still think it deserves the poor RT rating though
    • A glance at the RT score tells a lot more than just the ranking. Especially if you compare the critic score to the audience score and how far apart they are. But I usually pop in further to read a few critic and audience review snippets. From that I can usually tell what the movie is worth. I used to watch trailers, but they spoil too much of the movie these days (or make the movie look better than it is).

      I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everythin

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        I do the same when looking for a restaurant - find a negative review and they'll tell you everything good about the place that they don't understand.

        This. I use this same strategy when evaluating any product. Read a few good reviews, sure, but I need to read a few of the top negative reviews to figure out if the product actually has weaknesses that matter to me, or if it's just been purchased by a few users with unrealistic expectations.

        The good thing about negative reviews is they usually aren't placed there by the business or by a sock puppet/SEO, so the dishonest reviews are at least more transparent. If some jerk with a grudge posts a 1 star revi

    • Hence the users ratings. It's important to check those as much as it is the critical reviews.

    • There does need to be a modifier for action movies and probably some other genres of movies.

      I mean, "Debbie does Dallas" has far worse acting and plot than anything in superman vs batman I'm sure, but I don't hear whining about DDD. Why do people accept you watch one entirely for the "action" and shitty quality otherwise is okay but not the other?
    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

      Therefore there is little to no correlation between my enjoyment of a film and its RT freshness.

      There is a definite correlation for me, but it happens to be inverse. If something scores high on there there is a pretty good chance I'll hate it.

    • Their curated list of critics simply don't like the same movies I do. Therefore there is little to no correlation between my enjoyment of a film and its RT freshness. It's also setting expectations. People went into BvS expecting a terrible movie. If you look for a terrible movie, you will find it.

      Then don't bother with reading RT reviews. I don't use it much but generally if I do look for similar movies to se how they tend to rate them and then take their ratings with a grain of salt. Hollywood doesn't like people saying their babies are ugly and want to go back to having to only please a few and build a relationship with to get decent reviews.

  • by Kwirl ( 877607 ) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:08AM (#54102085)
    Is the operative term. If your business is crappy movies, then absolutely is rotten tomatoes ending you and rightfully so. Anyone making good movies has absolutely no problems with aggregated reviewing.
    • The movie made $850 million. The fact is that the type of people that go see superheroes movies don't care about quality. I'm not sure what they are looking for in a movie. Why do adults see these type of movies? Mystifying. Someone should explain the appeal.
      • Why do adults see these type of movies? Mystifying. Someone should explain the appeal.

        We adults were kids once, and some of us enjoyed reading comics. With a good superhero movie, we get to see some of that come to life. It can be done well, and has been; you can also get a real stinker. Like Superman vs. Batman.

        You know, just because I'm 60 doesn't mean I'm dead. Yet.

        Also, comics are an art form. Like most art, it doesn't speak to everyone. That's okay. Like most art, it can be done well, or poorly. Also o

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:11AM (#54102125) Homepage

    ...of your abusive business model, where you make shit films, charge too much for them, trick people into going with clever advertising, and then get laws passed that criminalize format-shifting because you're so afraid that a tiny bit of revenue will slip through your greedy fingers. Even Hollywood accounting can't win in a free market. Man, that really sucks. Your life is so hard.

    • Dammit, where are my mod points when I need them?! +1

    • ...of your abusive business model, where you make shit films, charge too much for them, trick people into going with clever advertising, and then get laws passed that criminalize format-shifting because you're so afraid that a tiny bit of revenue will slip through your greedy fingers. Even Hollywood accounting can't win in a free market. Man, that really sucks. Your life is so hard.

      While I agree with you overall, I disagree with you assessment of Hollywood accounting, it always wins. A film's purpose is not to make a net profit, it's to take the angel's money and make a profit for everyone except those investors. Hollywood accounting is a brilliant scheme to do just that.I mean, where else can you spend 60$Million, make 580$Million, and still be in the red so you don't have to payoff the people who gave you the money in the first place?

  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:12AM (#54102137) Homepage Journal

    I watched the movie in question online a few weeks ago, I got bored and skipped an hour in the middle, and honestly don't think I missed anything important. I can't possibly imagine having to wait though the ever so slow plot line in a movie theater with no other distractions available.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:34AM (#54102309) Journal

      Did not watch myself. No need the concept is stupid on its face. Either super wild liberties would have to be taken with cannon, at which point its not the same story any more an using the existing character names and treating their elements as a grab bag is just lazy writing or Batman was going to have to use some device based on Kryptonite to be competitive with the S. Super boring and super predictable just like all DC's shitty Justice League stuff.

      It all gets a pass because Batman comics were inventive and cool, Superman comics told a story the public needed to hear at a certain time and will always be loved.

      Puting the two together though is just silly. Superman is for all intents and purposes a god. While not wholly omnipotent, he is so far above man that he can freely toss our greatest war machines around like children's toys and even slow the spin of earth altering time. Batman simply isn't in his league. Additionally Superman's original character was almost Christ like in his unfailing sense of justice and strength of character regarding doing the right thing. The Superman of the early comics would never have agreed to even associate with the Bat, so okay we have some conflict but we know who should prevail; Batman is going to have to come around to the S in terms of how they resolve any external conflict.

      There just isn't any story there. The only reason those comics get read and the only reason that movie got watched all is the audience is hopelessly uncritical. They love the characters so much they will watch or read anything with them no matter how strained the story surrounding them is. Personally I love both Batman and Superman to much to allow these dumb mashups to ruin them both for me.

      • Puting the two together though is just silly. ... The Superman of the early comics would never have agreed to even associate with the Bat, so okay we have some conflict but we know who should prevail; Batman is going to have to come around to the S in terms of how they resolve any external conflict.

        If you haven't, please borrow a friend's copies of the DC animated universe, starting with the Superman episode "World's Finest" if you don't want to watch everything. Batman and Superman have a rocky start, and even through Justice League, Batman's tactics rub Superman the wrong way. DC's animation folks consistently have good plots, story arcs, and character development. Their live-action movies and television series are rife with writers and producers wanting to make their own mark with the stories thu

    • You missed all the critical developments. Like how Lex Luther knew how to do a whole lot of things that would cause a completely unpredictable yet predetermined outcome to further the plot in ways that didn't make sense culminating in a fight scene that was unwatchable.

  • .... but I was one of the people who actually liked the movie.

    Was it the best thing I've ever seen? No... but I certainly didn't regret spending my money on it either. It was some 2 and a half hours or so of escapism, and I enjoyed it on that level.

    • by orlanz ( 882574 )

      Same here. I quite enjoyed the movie. It did a better job showing a calculating dark batman and a morally struggling superman of the old days (like WWII) than any movie in the past 2 decades. Not an amazing movie with WW, Lois, and Luther being flat plug in characters; but good enough overall.

      Having said that, the director needs to grow up. If RT is having that much of an impact on Hollywood, then that points to more about how little faith people have of professional movie critics. These days, I think

  • they should sue the movie theaters for having high pop and popcorn prices / not being byob as that makes people less likely to go to them.

    • For the first week or so the theatre only gets about 10% of the ticket sales. They need the high prices on the popcorn and drinks in order to pay for everything. When movies stay in the theatre longer then the percentage going to the studios drops as the weeks go by and the theatres can start to make money. The cheaters want successful movies with long runs because short run films don't make much for them.

  • If Hollywood was creating a stream of innovative, original movies that might only appeal to a percentage of the viewing audience, his argument might have some merit. But when the Hollywood model is sequel after sequel with the odd reboot thrown in so we can make more sequels, I want to know if a movie is crap.

    I can remember CHiPs when it first screened on TV. Couldn't tell you any storylines, but I'm pretty certain it was nothing like the drek I'm seeing advertised now. I don't need to see a Rotten Tomat

  • by WCMI92 ( 592436 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:24AM (#54102241) Homepage

    It's very simple. Stop remaking the same movies over and over. Come up with something NEW for once.

  • by whoozwah ( 4223029 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:24AM (#54102243)
    If anything is contributing to the destruction of the movie business its the people involved in making the shitty movies not the people who smartly avoid them or assist others in doing so.
  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:24AM (#54102245) Homepage
    I don't watch very many movies anymore, too many of them are just remakes of older movies or are just not interesting subject wise. Why do producers think that everyone will want to watch their particular piece of drivel?
  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:28AM (#54102265)
    The plan to be successful with a crappy movie. Trick people into going to see it. The people who really want to see it will go anyway. You need to trick people with flashy previews and actor interviews to get the rest of the people to go and be disappointed with the experience. Then you need to complain about them not liking it, to trick more people into watching.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:28AM (#54102269)
    Stop making shit films and make good ones instead. Critics won't call you out for making shit films. Cinema goers will pay lots of money to see good films.

    Or continue to make shit films and then whine that people have the means to discover if a film is shit before wasting their money and time watching it.

  • and other people can find out before giving you money, somehow that's wrong?

    Yeah you and every scammer who releases shitty products and wants to make a ton of money anyway.

    Maybe stop making tons of cheap shitty CG for everything and just hope to cash in.

  • Most businesses spend tons and tons of money to understand their customers and try to figure out what they want. They do market research, focus group studies, test marketing, etc etc. I get constant feedback about our products related to my area of responsibility. This feedback is expensive to collect.

    Hollywood is getting free feedback. Rotten tomatoes and such sites are casual comments. Netflix and Amazon prime streaming statistics are people paying money and actually watching stuff. Instead of using the feedback to improve the product, these guys are bellyaching about it.

    It shows how much of their product is real and how much of it is smoke-and-mirrors. If your product is steak you can realistically gather and meet user expectations. So you would love feedback. If your product is sizzle, you would hate people who mess up the expectations.

  • Review sites may well destroy the tired old formulas, but this need not destroy the business. At worst it injects some risk back into the business again, as studios are forced to find new formulas to replace those now being rejected by moviegoers as played out, but is that such a bad thing? The last period of experimentation produced the original blockbusters that spawned these remakes and sequels, after all, and it was considered a golden age.

  • Blame the others (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damaki ( 997243 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:47AM (#54102413)
    All recent DC Comics universe movies are know to have had an awfully hectic production process. The producers, and generally the Fox production teams have turned the movies into horrible mess.
    By the way, Batman VS Superman is surely not the worst of all. Sure it is bad, but not so bad. This movie is just an average failure.
    Man of Steel was a total trainwreck. The worst is that it looks awful. Visually, Man of Steel is the worst high budget movie I have seen for years. It looks like utter crap. It feels like the director had no steering power over his own film to make it consistent. I had not seen so many lens flares in a video since I watched Babylon V. The colors are mostly awful, and for whatever reason, the time in the movie is almost always late afternoon, whether the scene is in the US or in the foreign country. As a photographer I know that the golden hours sure look good, but it should be used sparingly.
    How can such high budget movies can be shot so badly?
    • As a photographer I know that the golden hours sure look good, but it should be used sparingly.

      As a photographer you should know that that videos are nothing like photography:
      a) Colours are not defined by golden hours but by post processing. (Hint: Most night shots you see are shot at day)
      b) Colours are chosen to identify the mood of the scene in question. Most big Hollywood movies that result in action and tension between characters will for that reason have a yellow / blue palate depending on who the scene is about and what is going on. The colours in this movie are more reflective of the crap plot

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @09:50AM (#54102441)

    Think of how much more Batman vs Superman could have made if it wasn't a disorganised clusterfuck complete with characters doing things that made no sense, a plot that simply made no sense, and fight scenes which seemed to go out of their way to ensure that to the viewers they made no sense.

    It made $850million based on the name, and the expectations of the rabid fanbase, and I'm sad to count myself as part of it. It was garbage. Probably the first superhero film I won't be getting on Bluray.

  • Garbage in, garbage out..

    Anything more that needs to be said?

  • .... thinks it is a great movie. Why is this a surprise? Why is the producer surprised that he, himself, thinks he produced a great movie. On the other hand, it may well be a great movie. But that does not mean it has to be a popular movie, or that people will want to spend money to see it.
  • Here's an idea, you director and producer nitwits: PRODUCE BETTER MOVIES. Look at Logan, Deadpool, the Marvel films in general, classic good scifi like Aliens, Sunshine, the original ghost in the shell. While people might, on paper, appear to want dumbed down plotlines, that just doesn't pan out in the long run, as evidenced by review aggregation after the fact.
  • Ratner's Resume (Score:5, Informative)

    by Volfied ( 307532 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @10:47AM (#54102895)

    Brett Ratner is one of the biggest problems in Hollywood, not Rotten Tomatoes. Here's his directorial resume (I count one decent movie):

      2014/I Hercules
      2011 Tower Heist
      2007 Rush Hour 3
      2006 X-Men: The Last Stand
      2004 After the Sunset
      2002 Red Dragon
      2001 Rush Hour 2
      2000 The Family Man
      1998 Rush Hour
      1997 Money Talks

  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @11:14AM (#54103129)

    As someone who is aware of super hero comics and once faithfully followed one of them and watched the cartoons, the whole idea of Batman vs. Superman was just ludicrous from the title alone.

    Batman is basically a rich guy with fancy gadgets on his toolbelt. He's not a LOT different from anybody. He just has better gadgets.

    Superman is a God, effectively.

    This fight is over before it even starts so why the hell would I want to pay to see it? Well, I wouldn't and didn't and never needed to read the reviews. These characters used to be allies as well so the idea of having them fight each other sounds like something a four-year-old kid would come up with, bashing action figures in a sandbox. Whatever, man. Not gonna see this movie. Honey Boo Boo, which I have also never seen, sounds more interesting.

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