Are End-Credit Scenes Bad for Cinema?
Modern post-credit scenes are becoming more and more common after a film concludes its story, appearing during or after the rolling credits. End-credit scenes are typically associated with Marvel, whose movies have popularized the trend, and it's a safe bet that there will be a scene waiting for you after the credits roll.
However, this trend didn't begin with Marvel. Instead, it dates back to 1966 with The Silencers, a raunchy film about "Girls, Gags and Gadgets" being the very first to include a scene after the credits. Enjoyable end-credit scenes were sprinkled here and there with films such as: Ferris Bueller's Day Off adding a fun little farewell to the audience, as well as Jackass including bloopers and extras to accompany the credits. These work because it's a small treat for the audience who remains in the theater, but doesn't contain any vital information from the already concluded film. That important point has been lost on many movies today. By leaving the theater upon the film's conclusion, you now risk missing a scene which contains vital information. We see this often with Marvel movies, whose post-credits scenes may foreshadow future events or even reveal iconic villains of the MCU, such as Thanos. That's quite an important scene to miss.
What we have now is a mixed bag of films also following this trend. As it becomes more and more common, it's impossible to know which films will have post-credit scenes. This creates a dilemma for the audience. Upon the film ending, you now have three options:
1. Wait until the credits conclude and possibly have your time wasted if there is no scene.
2. Leave before the credits conclude, potentially missing an important scene which should have been included in the film.
3. When the film ends, open your phone and search the internet to hopefully find out if there is a scene waiting for you at the end of the credits.
Many of us have learned the hard way upon realizing we've missed an important post-credit scene.
Nowadays, Marvel has taken advantage of this dilemma they've manufactured. They understand the grip they have on their audience and the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) they have created within their viewers. What resulted recently was the incredibly insulting end-credit scene following Spider-Man No Way Home: an advertisement. Not a special scene, nor a reveal of the iconic hero "Shitto", only a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, one which was already available on Youtube. More and more, these credit scenes serve as a billboard, utilized by production companies, advertising to an audience who now feels obligated to remain in the theater.
Last summer, while discussing plot interpretations with a friend about a recent medieval "art-house" (used liberally) film The Green Knight, my colleague posed a question which left me stunned. He asked "How did you feel about the end credit scene? It really changed how I viewed the themes of the film." My mind melted. I was shocked to learn the film had a post-credit scene at all, let alone one capable of altering how someone perceived the film. We both completed our viewership of this film, yet we've both received separate experiences. I'd have never known I had missed an important piece of a film I thought I'd completed. The gripe here is not with mid-credit scenes and the fun "bloopers" Toy Story plays while they roll, it is with the state of confusion and lack of surety one now feels when a film concludes, leaving you with the question "Do we leave? Can we?"
Criticisms of this trend aside, it's admittedly important to note the positive effect end-credit scenes provide to cinema and more importantly, those who create it. By causing the audience to remain and see the credits they may have otherwise skipped, the cast and crew are assuredly getting more recognition as the musical tone of the credits allows the film to sink in. How do you feel about post-credit scenes? Let us know!
Filming at the Mouth is a Miami based film production company and publication focused on foreign and independent media.
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