RT Flashback: The First Ten Movies Ever Reviewed

The critical and box office legacies of RT's first Tomatometers.

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As the story goes, Rotten Tomatoes founder Senh Duong launched the site in August of 1998 to coincide with the release of Rush Hour, the true Hollywood debut of his idol, Jackie Chan. Duong had, after all, conceived the idea of collecting film reviews in one easy-to-find destination after struggling to find the latest notices of Jackie Chan imports like First Strike, Rumble in the Bronx, and Supercop.

But soon after pegging RT's launch date for August 18, 1998 -- the week of Rush Hour's slated release -- the film got rescheduled to September. (And a smart move on New Line's part it was; Blade opened at number one on August 21, while the calendar move allowed Rush Hour to win its stellar opening weekend opposite the Renee Zellweger-Meryl Streep drama One True Thing.) The site launched as planned anyway; Your Friends & Neighbors became the first movie to appear on Rotten Tomatoes.

In honor of RT's Tenth Anniversary, we took a trip in the way back machine to revisit the first 10 films ever reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes. Come on all you film review nuts; it's time to party like it's 1998!




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Blade
Tomatometer: 55%
Opening Weekend: $17 million

The comic book movie explosion of the past decade can be attributed in no small part to Stephen Norrington's Blade, which took a lesser-known Marvel comics character -- the titular half vampire, half human "daywalker" who hunts killer bloodsuckers (Wesley Snipes) -- and turned it into one of the first wildly successful superhero trilogies in recent years. Opening at number one, Blade proved that dark, ultra-violent comic book stories could make great dark, ultra-violent comic book movies, and two sequels followed. Screenwriter David S. Goyer, who penned all three films and a short-lived spin-off television show, would go on to write Batman Begins and Jumper; he's also signed on for scripting and directing duties, respectively, for forthcoming film adaptations of The Flash and Marvel's X-Men Origins: Magneto.







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Dance With Me
Tomatometer: 46%
Opening Weekend: $4.5 million


What do you get when you combine a chart-topping former Miss America with Puerto Rico's biggest pop star in a romantic dramedy about ballroom dancing helmed by the director of Children of a Lesser God? A modest gamble that doesn't really pay off, as Columbia execs soon found when Dance With Me opened in 8th place behind hot tickets like Saving Private Ryan and There's Something About Mary. The Vanessa Williams vehicle barely made its budget back; its male lead, Chayanne, would never make another English-language feature; and Hollywood would subsequently never really get the competitive ballroom dancing genre right.



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