How We Create the Metascore Magic

A peek behind the curtain

Creating our proprietary Metascores is a complicated process. We carefully curate a large group of the world’s most respected critics, assign scores to their reviews, and apply a weighted average to summarize the range of their opinions. The result is a single number that captures the essence of critical opinion in one Metascore. Each movie, game, television show and album featured on Metacritic gets a Metascore when we've collected at least four critics' reviews.

Why the term “weighted average” matters

Metascore is a weighted average in that we assign more importance, or weight, to some critics and publications than others, based on their quality and overall stature. In addition, for music and movies, we also normalize the resulting scores (akin to "grading on a curve" in college), which prevents scores from clumping together.

How to interpret a Metascore

Metascores range from 0-100, with higher scores indicating better overall reviews. We highlight Metascores in three colors so that you can instantly compare: green scores for favorable reviews, yellow scores for mixed reviews, and red scores for unfavorable reviews.

How a movie receives the Metacritic Must-See award

Metacritic designates a movie as "Must-See" when it achieves a Metascore of 81 or higher and has been reviewed by a minimum of 15 publications. "Must-See" movies are highly acclaimed and have been reviewed by a broad cross-section of the best critics. In total, approximately 5% of movies in Metacritic's database achieve this elite status.

How a game receives the Metacritic Must-Play award

Metacritic designates a game as "Must-Play" when it achieves a Metascore of 90 or higher and has been reviewed by a minimum of 15 publications. Like "Must-See" movies, "Must-Play" games are highly acclaimed and have been reviewed by a broad cross-section of the best critics.

How We Calculate Our Scores: The Long FAQ

Score calculation questions

Q: Are user votes included in the METASCORE calculations?

A: No. While we solicit votes from our site visitors on movies, games, and music, and television shows we do not include those votes in the METASCORE. The METASCORE is a weighted average of the published critic reviews contained in the chart on that page, and thus does not include any votes or comments from our users. However, you may, of course, see the average user vote by glancing at the USER SCORE to the right of the METASCORE on every summary page.

Q: What's with these green, yellow, and red colors?

A: Assuming you are looking at our website and not at your Christmas tree, it's fairly simple: "good" METASCORES are coded in green; "average" METASCORES are yellow, and "bad" METASCORES are red. (This same color coding is also used for the individual critic and user grades.) If the numbers are too complicated to read, you can simply look at the pretty colors to tell what the reviews said.

Here's how the scores break down:

General Meaning of Score Movies, TV & Music Games
Universal Acclaim 81 - 100 90 - 100
Generally Favorable Reviews 61 - 80 75 - 89
Mixed or Average Reviews 40 - 60 50 - 74
Generally Unfavorable Reviews 20 - 39 20 - 49
Overwhelming Dislike 0 - 19 0 - 19

Q: Well then, can I see all of your grade conversion scales?

A: Absolutely! Some of the conversions are obvious (for example, if a critic uses a 0-10 scale, his/her grade is simply multiplied by ten). Some of the less obvious conversions are displayed below:

4-Star Scale
Their Grade Converts to
4
100
3.5
88
3
75
2.5
63
2
50
1.5
38
1
25
0.5
12
0
0
Letter Grades
Their Grade Converts to
A or A+
100
A-
91
B+
83
B
75
B-
67
C+
58
C
50
C-
42
D+
33
D
25
D-
16
F+
8
F or F-
0

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