Christian Bale's new movie, "The Promise," has received tens of thousands of one-star ratings on IMDB, and a group of Turkish trolls are reportedly behind the ploy to make its ratings go down.
The movie opened at U.S. theaters just today, yet a couple of days before its release date, it already received more than 60,000 one-star ratings.
Even more surprising was the fact that when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September last year, there were already "4,000 negative fraudulent ratings" before the audience of the first screening exited the theater, an IMDB trivia regarding the movie said.
Movie producer Eric Esrailian said tracking where the negative ratings came from showed that those who swarmed the site were not present at the movie premiere in Toronto.
"One thing that they can track is where the votes come from," he said, according to Hollywood Reporter. "The vast majority of people voting were not from Canada. So I know they weren't in Toronto."
Add to this the fact that there were only 900 seats at the movie premiere, and it becomes obvious that the ratings given were not really about the quality of the movie.
The story of "The Promise" revolves around a love triangle between three characters: an American reporter portrayed by Christian Bale; a medical student portrayed by Oscar Isaac; and a beautiful woman named Ana, portrayed by Charlotte Le Bon.
The movie was set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, during which the government conducted a systematic extermination of about 1.5 million Armenians, which became known as the Armenian Genocide or the Armenian Holocaust. It is believed to have begun in April 24, 1915.
An article for The New York Times said there were 2,133,190 Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1914, while only 387,800 remained by 1922. The atrocities committed included mass executions and death marches toward the Syrian desert.
The Armenian Genocide also involves the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities under the Ottoman Empire's government, which is led by the caliph or the head of the Islamic community.
Polish lawyer Ralph Lemkin was the first to coin the term "genocide" when he studied how the Ottoman government took deliberate steps to kill Armenians.
However, despite more than 26 countries officially recognizing the atrocities of that period as genocide, the issue remains controversial among Turks, many of whom believe that the events of that period merely signaled the end of the empire.
The Turks refuse to acknowledge that genocide was committed despite what historians have said. Until today, discussing the Armenian genocide can be a serious offense to the people of Turkey, according to The New York Times.
"The Promise" was directed by Terry George, who also directed the award-winning film "Hotel Rwanda."
Christian filmmaker Ralph Winter, who is behind movies like "X-Men," "Planet of the Apes" and "Fantastic Four," was also one of the producers of "The Promise."
Winter recommends that Christians watch the controversial movie, which he believes will help stories of persecution "resonate deeper" among believers. He said the movie would be "impactful for Christians to watch."
"I hope they retell the story and about this genocide, that it's something we need to pay attention to, or it's simply going to repeat itself again and again," Winter said in an exclusive interview with The Gospel Herald.
"Isn't that part of our job as Christians - to fight for justice and mercy? It fits into that framework, but throughout the film, the Christians in the movie are praying for mercy and justice, and reaching out and crying out to God," he added.