Scathing reviews for the new comic book anti-hero movie Suicide Squad are driving angry fans to target reviewers online.
Warner Bros film Suicide Squad, out in theaters on Friday, follows a rogue group of DC Comics' anti-heroes - Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Boomerang, Killer Croc and El Diablo - who are captured and held hostage by Gotham's government to use as weapons to protect the city.
Many critics have panned the film, with Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair calling it "too shoddy and forgettable to even register as revolting".
Robbie Collin of London newspaper The Daily Telegraph wrote: "The film makes you cringe so hard your teeth come loose."
The reviews have led to a poor rating of 34 percent on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
An online petition has been calling for Rotten Tomatoes, itself owned by Warner Bros until its sale to Fandango in February, to be shut down in protest at the film's harsh reception. The petition is just 450 people shy of its 15,000 signature goal.
Abdullah Saleh, a 22 year-old university student in Alexandria, Egypt, launched the petition on change.org on Tuesday saying he felt "there is some kind of pattern for movie critics to give DC Extended Universe movies bad reviews".
He acknowledged his efforts would not shut down Rotten Tomatoes, but said he wanted to show movie critics "that there are a lot of people who disagree with their reviews."
"I created the petition just to gather DC Fans and express their anger just for fun. I didn't mean it to be taken that serious. I just want it to be a symbolic petition," Saleh said.
"I didn't imagine it will go that far," Saleh said of the response from fans.
Suicide Squad writer and director David Ayer also defended the movie.
"I love the movie and believe in it," Ayer wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "Made it for the fans. Best experience of my life."
Despite the reviews, the film was expected to gross $125 million in North America alone when it opens this weekend, according to box office analysts.
If the petition reached its goal, it would be delivered to Rotten Tomatoes. A clarification posted on the petition noted that it did not expect it would actually shut the site down, but rather wanted to deliver a message to the critics.