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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Do you sit through the credits at the multiplex?

Today’s question was prompted by a post at the Portland Mercury’s Blogtown entitled “Thoughts from a Local Movie Theater Clerk: A Public Service Announcement” in which a movie theater clerk “just wanted to let the public know what the staff of your local theater are really thinking about you.” Apparently, one of her peeves includes:

People who stay for the entire credits: Unless you just witnessed a documentary on the Holocaust or Darfur, there is no need to “take it all in.”

Her attitude really has me steamed. I don’t always sit through all the credits, but the idea that the movie theater employees are mad if I do is outrageous. The credits are part of the movie, and it’s ridiculous to expect audiences to leave before the movie is over, even if some members of the audience choose to. I actually complained to a theater manager once that they had turned on the lights just as the credits began to roll for a film, which meant that anyone who wanted to stay for the credits couldn’t read them. He responded that this was a safety issue that IMAX dictated — this was an IMAX film — so that people could leave safely. If that’s true, it’s even more outrageous.

Do you sit through the credits at the multiplex? Never? Sometimes, like if you know or suspect there might be an easter-egg scene after? Do you ever get the evil eye from multiplex employees for doing so?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Brian

    Complete poppycock, especially when the trend in the last decade has been to eschew opening credits and include stylishly animated credits at the back end of the film – not to mention the fact that many composers use the credits as a showcase for their music, since overtures are long gone. If some pimply teenager has to wait an extra few minutes to sweep up the popcorn debris, then let him wait.

  • marshall

    I’d like to sit through the creds more than I do – atleast I used to but the wife usually doesn’t want to do that. Still, it depends on the movie. If I’m out with my friends we do usually sit through them – not only do you get to see all the people who worked on the film, but it’s also a great time to start talking about the movie.

  • I always make it a point to stay for the end credits. I paid for the whole movie!

  • Christine

    I stay if there is any possibility of easter eggs at the end of the credits. And I only see movies in the theatre that would probably have easter eggs at the end of the credits.

    The after-credits shot is common enough that theatre staff shouldn’t get pesky about some of the audience sticking around.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I so rarely go to the theater any more it’s not a question of sitting through or not. Having said that, I will if I want to see who played what or What That Song Was or who did the music, wevs. Point being, I’ll sit and watch as long as I damn well want to.

  • I would be surprised if all theater employees really cared all that much that they get to stand around and relax waiting for the theater to clear out. That’s gotta be one of those times when you can be doing absolutely nothing and still be doing your job exactly right. What kind of douche gets upset at that?

    But even if they do get upset, who gives a shit? Everybody hates everybody who makes them work, that’s just sort of life. Your waitress hates you, too. And that guy who always smiles and says good morning, your doorman? Yeah, he wishes you’d just leave and quit making him work. Listen, mister theater-sweeper man: you go to hell, buddy! I’m the guy who always picks up all his trash before leaving, which seems like it should outweigh a couple extra minutes of boredom.

    In short: Fuck ’em!

  • Craig

    I used to work at a cinema, and unless there was a scene at the end of the movie, it was pretty annoying when people would sit in the cinema. There is often a very small turnaround between films, and as I was a projectionist at a small, two theatre cinema, I sometimes had roughly 15 minutes to clean an entire cinema, let the next patrons in, lace up the next film and start it off, before taking a film down to the other cinema to start the process off again. That 15 minutes usually included the credit times.

    It’s insanely difficult to clean a row of seats with customers sitting in them.

    That’s just an insiders opinion on this.

  • Althea

    All points made above, agreed. I too often like to stay for the music credits, which are always very late in the sequence (which does annoy me) and are sometimes really long just in themselves.

    Further, you may be looking for some specific credit like a friend’s name, or a location.

    What I see in Dallas usually is that the ushers dive in picking stuff up as soon as there’s less than a dozen left, but they don’t turn the lights on. I don’t mind the scurrying much. And if you pass one of them they almost always smile, and maybe say something polite.

  • chiclit

    I often stay for credits, there are usually some gems of interesting info buried in the music credits, and its always neat to see where stuff is filmed or if my favorite actor had their own assistant or hairdresser.

    But there are many reasons to linger in the theatre after a movie-besides A/C

    Sometimes with a drama, you do need a moment to reenter the world, swipe at your teary eyes or just brush the popcorn off your shirt before you go into the lobby. I also need to gather my sweater and turn on my work and personal phones, find my keys, gather trash etc

    Health issues can play a part in a slow exit, many movie theaters have stairs, ramps-I have a bad knee, and part of the reason I stand for extra time during the credits, is to stretch and straighten my knee out before tackling uneven surfaces in semi darkness. I know people who suffer from vertigo and rise from seats and movie experiences carefully-need to get eyes adjusted – you can slowly rise and stand and stop occaisonally during the credits with a little dignity intact.

  • amanohyo

    Like, Craig, I used to be the projectionist/popcorn sales associate/janitor/box office attendant at a small theater, so if I feel the need to wait and watch (usually out of a show of respect for a good movie, to watch cleverly done credits, or to find out the name/artist for a song) I move to the back corner out of the way of the cleaning crew and other exiting patrons.

    I also worked at an extremely large theater in high school, and the evening rushes can be pretty hectic when you’re short staffed and several movies end at almost the same time and there are lines of people waiting for sold out shows. I’ve never been horribly angry at people for staying (unless it’s to talk on a cell) though, because it’s their right to watch the entire movie as paying customers.

  • JoshDM

    The only reason I stay for the credits is in case there is a stinger; extra clips or some other crap that plays after the credits that may or may not add additional context to the film. For example, the post-credits bonuses to Iron Man and Iron Man II.

    Either someone here or another site informed me about Movie Stingers, and you can go to this site which will tell you increasing levels of spoiler from (1) whether there is a stinger, (2) what type of stinger {outtakes, bloopers, extra scene, alternate ending, etc.} (3) and a description of the stinger.

  • markyd

    My wife is a jump and go kind of person, so, no, I rarely, if ever, get to stay for the credits. I actually prefer to. Especially if I just saw a great movie. Plus, like the person above me said, sometimes you need a moment to re-acclimate yourself into the real world.
    I don’t buy what Craig is saying. Maybe that’s how it is at a tiny 2 screen theater, but the ones I go to seem to leave a bit more room between screenings. I normally show up 30 minutes early(like a proper movie goer should)and I don’t see any scrambling going on. Plus there’s the 15-20 minutes of garbage ads/promos before the previews even start playing.

  • NorthernStar

    I regularly stay for the credits. Sad as it may sound, I like reading them – the minor players in the cast, who had an assistant and who didn’t, the songs used, who fiananced the film, etc.

  • Depends on what I’ve seen in the film. If it was a good film and relatively enjoyable, I’ll probably skip the credits because it was nothing really to write home about. But if it was a great film, or if a particular element really impressed me, I’ll stay for the credits to see who was responsible for it and look them up later for other work they’ve done. (Obviously, that’s for department heads. I’m not going to watch a film and afterwards say, “what’s the Best Boy’s name? He was brilliant!”) I won’t stay for just music, though, since those credits are all the way at the end; I’ll probably look those up online afterwards.

    I wouldn’t stay for “easter-egg” scenes. I don’t really care for them. Outtakes are a bit unprofessional to put in a feature film; leave them for the DVD. And extra scenes, for example, the pay-off or continuation of a set-up or joke – meh. If someone tells me that there’s an extra scene – and I’m with that person in the cinema – I’ll probably stay for their sake. But if I’m my own, I don’t think I’d care enough….unless the film was excellent, and the extra scene raises more questions or hints at more for the future. Some film did that recently, but I can’t think of its name. Sometime in the last 6 years, probably sci-fi or something actiony?

  • nyjm

    I started staying around for the credits after living in France. There, it’s much more common for most of the audience to stay until the very end of the very last reel, whether out of respect or curiosity. And the people who duck out early are often given the evil eye unless they can do so discretely.

    So, these days I usually stay for the credits. As people above have noted, more and more often, movies reward the audience for sticking about; but that’s not really why I do it.

  • Sonja

    I used to work at a theatre too and sometimes it was…problematic…if people stayed for the credits, especially if it was an opening weekend. Where I was employed, the time we had to be there didn’t coincide with the end of the credits, but when the credits began to roll, so we only had about 10 minutes to clean the entire theatre including credit time. If the theatre was packed or if there was a particularly messy crowd, we would sometimes run out of time or be forced to try to clean while people were still sitting in order to make it in time for the next scheduled cleaning. I don’t know if it’s like that everywhere, but where I worked it was.

    It didn’t annoy me when I was working there — after all, listening to a stunning score is part of the movie experience, but, as I said before, in certain circumstances it could be problematic.

    When I go to the theatres now, I usually skip the credits, just in case they have a similar schedule where their time to clean and the time it takes to roll the credits coincide.

  • Drave

    I usually stay for the credits. The more I like a movie, the more likely I am to stay all the way, because I want to pay my respects to all the under-appreciated people who worked hard to make the movie happen. Sure, I may not retain any of their names, but at least every lighting assistant’s distant cousin twice removed, not to mention every hairdresser and caterer, will get their name subliminally absorbed by at least one person. Also, I really like interesting names, and movie credits are a goldmine for this, especially movies that were shot or edited or special effected internationally. There are only three reasons I won’t stay for credits. a) I didn’t like the movie. b) I am seeing four or five movies in a row, and the schedule is too tight. c) I am seeing the movie with somebody else, and they want to leave. Mostly, I see movies alone, and I always sit in the back row to minimize annoyance to the theater staff.

  • Jim P

    We sometimes sit through the credits if we suspect there might be an easter egg in there.

    To all the theater staff who complain that credit-sitters take up your valuable time… suck it up. You took up OUR valuable time showing 20 minutes of trailers and commercials before the main feature!

  • JSW

    This is yet another reason why I never go to the cinema unless it’s either a social occasion or I absolutely can’t wait until the movie comes out on DVD. The actual viewing experience is superior at home in pretty much every way.

  • Drave

    Really, the problem here is that theaters are scheduling movies too close together. If they even added an extra five minutes between showings, that would completely solve this problem, and it would not impact the number of showings per screen per day, except for really short movies.

  • Closing credits usually aren’t all that interesting. Pixar’s are usually pretty good – Up’s credits were great, and I always love the list of “Pixar babies.” Return of the King had lovely closing credits.

    Oddly, as horrible as the rest of the movie was, Inspector Gadget had outstanding credits.

    While I appreciate all the craftspeople who bring a movie to life, I’m more likely to look at IMDB to see what else people have done.

  • History of Bubbles

    I ALWAYS stay for the credits. It’s fun seeing all the different kinds of factors and jobs that went into creating the movie, and I feel they’re due my respects for entertaining me for the past two hours. Leaving without watching them would be like leaving a play without applauding the actors (even though they can’t see me. . . . It’s some kind of karmic thing, I guess.). I’m also a lover of film score music, so I absolutely have to listen to the music. It feels like the recapitulation of all the music themes is PART of the conclusion of the movie. And I just feel unresolved if I don’t get to hear that final coda—especially if the credits contain an original section written just for the credit sequence or a “main theme” or something that you don’t hear elsewhere in the movie. Like, would you consider “Star Wars” over until you hear that final fanfare? I don’t think so!

    Also yeah, as others have mentioned, if it was a really intense or involving movie, sometimes you need that extra time in the darkness to decompress a bit before walking into the bright lights of the lobby. (I would be quite a fright if my friends had to see me in the light right after Toy Story 3!)

    What really bugs ME are friends who are absolutely ALLERGIC to watching the end credits, as if it would kill them. They’ve been sitting next to me happily for two full hours, but 180 more seconds would be murder. They know I’m going to stay and watch the credits, so they’re still going to be waiting for me right outside. So we’re not getting to the cafe or whatnot any sooner, but they still have to leave the theater immediately and then spend three minutes standing around the entrance, because those same three minutes cannot, just CANNOT be spent in the presence of rolling credits. It’s like the credits are made of poison or something.

    And now it sucks that I’m inconveniencing the theater staff, but that’s really the theater’s fault for not scheduling them enough time to clean.

  • History of Bubbles

    Okay, that was an embarrassing amount of words about watching the credits at movie theaters. :p

  • Drave

    HoB: That was just the right amount of words about watching the credits at movie theaters.

    I’m now starting the Back Row Movie Credit Watchers’ Guild. Who’s with me?

  • Rose

    I stay for the credits, it’s part of the experience and I like listening to music and such. (Indeed, the Lemomy Snicket film had credits much better than the rest of the film).

    But, to all the disgruntled cinema workers, I don’t throw popcorn around like a swine either.

  • I bet movie theater workers wish that films still showed all the credits at the beginning, and just “The End” at the end. Everyone would be prompt in leaving then. :-)

    (Except: What did people use to do to decompress after seeing a great classic-era movie with no credits at the end? Sit for a while and stare at the blank screen? Hide in the bathrooms? Stand silently lost in thought on the street corner outside?)

    Me, I like sitting through credits (if my bladder can hold out) for many of the reasons above: to pay respect to the people who made the film, to see interesting trivia (I also love Pixar’s “production babies”), and to catch any stingers.

    P.S. One comedy I saw years ago–I forget which–had a long end-credit sequence, and somewhere in the middle was a line saying: “If you left the theater when these credits started, you’d be home by now.”

  • Parrish

    Hey, movie clerk! You’re getting minimum wage to clean up other people’s trash. The only reason you took this gig was because you thought it would be cool to watch movies for free, but even that small joy has been sucked out of you by your buddies who expect you to hook them up with free crap on demand.

    Your job sucks. If I stand up now, rather than two minutes from now, your job will still suck. It’s menial, boring, and pays nothing. You have no job skills and no life experience. In a few years, when you have a real job, you’ll look back fondly on what a shit gig you had when you were a wee lad. That is the only reward you will ever get from this job (unless you manage to get a blowjob from the kinda cute girl who works the ticket booth).

  • gensing

    I’m a great fan of watching the credits – it’s part of the movie, isn’t it? At least the film’s creators feel it’s important enough to take care in selecting what music to play, etc.

    However, I do remember when I lived in Britain back in the early 1970s being surprised the first time I went to an evening show at the cinema and everyone dashed out as quickly as they could when the film ended… what I learned was that when the credits end everyone left in the theatre has to stand at attention while ‘God Save The Queen’ was played.

    Do they still do that? (Funny to think that one could smoke in the balcony then, as well!)

  • Nate

    Generally I like to stay for the credits unless I’m the only person left in the theater; in which case I sort of feel obligated to leave because I don’t like being known as “that guy”

  • Lenina Crowne

    Parrish: Gee, what lovely sentiment. Is this your attitude towards everyone who works a low-paying job?

    I hate staying through the credits, but when I go to the movies with my friends or mother, they always have to stay for some asinine reason and I never want to be the first person to leave. We stayed for Despicable Me, which we saw in Lackluster 2D (TM), to see if there were those little easter eggs at the end. Which there were, and for the longest time we were completely baffled because they only make sense in Scrotumtightening 3D (TM). They still refused to leave. I found it infuriating, but I’m the sort of person who finds restaurants intolerable because of how trapped I feel.

    I did like the MST3K-style credits in the Simpsons Movie, though. And the credits to the remake of Around the World in 80 Days were the only part of the movie I enjoyed.

  • Jurgan

    I pretty much always watch the credits, unless I’m with people who really want to get out of there. Usually, though, they’ll run to the bathroom while I’m waiting. I like listening to the music and reflecting on the movie. However, I don’t often “sit through” them. More likely I’ll want to get up and stretch by walking around the theater, and since most people are leaving, there’s no worry about blocking people. So I’m not really in the way of the cleaning crew. And there’s always the possibility of a stinger- I always say you’re not sure it’s over until you see the blue “rating” screen pop up.

    I had the same problem with IMAX, by the way. Not only did the lights come on as soon as the credits started rolling, but a recorded voice came over the speakers saying “please exit the theater,” so I couldn’t even listen. I can understand the safety issue, though- it’s a lot of climbing to get out.

  • Parrish

    Lenina: Growing up, I worked in an ice cream shop, a pizza place, a coffee shop, bookstore, record store, and movie theater. I (and many of my friends) had the same attitude as the clerk in the article. I look on the young clerks I see working today with a curious mix of empathy and arrogance, in the certain knowledge that they look back at me with only arrogance.

    That’s not my attitude toward everybody in a low-paying job. I have genuine sympathy for the lifers who are going nowhere; whether due to a lack of skills, education, ambition, or opportunity. It’s a tough life, so much so that they don’t complain about petty crap like patrons watching movie credits.

    So yeah. There’s that.

  • Keith

    I only stay to the end of the credits if it feels like there might be some kind of easter egg afterwards. If it feels like the movie has fully ended before the credits, then I’ll leave (also depends on how badly I need to hit the restroom). All the critical info in the credits can usually be found on-line these days.

    I do agree though, the credits are part of the movie and the theater should treat it as such. The IMAX thing is just another example of how profit has become more important than production.

  • Nancy

    I alomst always stay for the credits for all of the reasons everyone has already stated–music identification, locations, special effects credits, to identify an actor in a small role.

  • Knightgee

    I only stay for the credits when I know there’s an extra scene after they finish, or some other easter egg. I sympathize with the employee who is annoyed, as I imagine having to clean an entire theater isn’t an easy task, especially in cases where the next showing is within the next few minutes. Patrons waiting around to watch the credits make that even more difficult, and I’ve seen many patrons get *really* rude when employees would try to clean while the credits are playing.

    Also, sidenote: can people start taking their trash out with them? I hate walking over your half-eaten nachos and I can only imagine what it would be like having to clean it all up because someone couldn’t walk five feet to the trash can on the way out of the theater.

  • Rachel Hartman

    I can usually live without sitting through all the end credits, unless I’ve heard there’s a stinger, but my husband’s a devout credit-reader. He wants to know if he was right in guessing the shooting locations. He pays attention to who does the technical stuff, especially sound (he’s a big audio geek as well as a former DJ).

  • Lisa

    I stayed for the extra Inception one but usually no (I used to work in a cinema)

  • iakobos

    Hell yes I sit through the credits, and the theater employees can kiss my ass if they don’t like it. I paid my $10 bucks and I’ll sit there till the last line scrolls off the screen. Like I give a damn what they think! Never mind the fact that a lot of movies nowadays have easter eggs at the end.

  • Boingo

    Once, I was into an animation program in a one man
    capacity. I had just seen a state-of-the-art
    animated feature and was crushed by it’s excellence
    (made my stuff feel crude in comparison). I had to
    wait till the credits rolled to count over 2 dozen
    names involved in the animation, thus making me feel
    a bit better (whew).

  • Nate

    I sympathize with the employee who is annoyed, as I imagine having to clean an entire theater isn’t an easy task, especially in cases where the next showing is within the next few minutes. Patrons waiting around to watch the credits make that even more difficult, and I’ve seen many patrons get *really* rude when employees would try to clean while the credits are playing.

    Here’s an idea: Why don’t theaters schedule the next showing later so that the employees won’t be in a rush?

    I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for staying through the credits. They’re part of the movie, and every single one of those lines of text on the screen put their heart and soul into making it. IMDB, extensive as it is, doesn’t show everything (like Pixar’s production babies, for example).

  • Knightgee

    Why don’t theaters schedule the next showing later so that the employees won’t be in a rush?

    Because the theater is interested in maximizing profits, which means as many showings of the hot new movie in a day as possible.

  • Nate

    Because the theater is interested in maximizing profits, which means as many showings of the hot new movie in a day as possible.

    I’m just providing a possible solution to a problem that doesn’t involve infringing on my right to get what I paid for.

  • Boingo

    Sometimes, if a movie is good enough to grasp you
    by the the lump in your throat, it’s cool to let the credits roll and to take in fantastic remnants
    of a soundtrack (milking it for all it’s worth).
    Something like the Austin Powers credits, it would be
    dumb not to enjoy the last funnybone tickler outtakes.
    As for theater employees, it differs from management
    to management. Some are ticket inspecting Nazi’s,
    and some laugh when I enter the door,point to huge
    bulges in my pockets and state with facetious straight face:”There is no outside popcorn in this pocket(which there is).”

  • Always, unless I really didn’t like the film. It’s a show of respect to read the names of the people who worked on it, and I sometimes know someone in the art department, which is fun too.

    I haul my own trash out with me–the people who clean can wait a few minutes.

  • Heather

    Not as long as I’ve been going! They must have stopped that end of the 70s/v. early 80s, as my first cinema going experience was She-Ra, when I was about 5. I’d have remembered the anthem. Also back then, I seem to remember if you came in late, you could stay and watch the beginning again, without being booted out (or maybe that was just our cinema).

  • Jesse Skeen

    Then it’s good that you no longer work at a cinema.

  • Jesse Skeen

    Exactly- they could just clean during THAT instead. I’m not staying for the next show, so what do I care about the people waiting to get in- especially if they’re going to end up leaving early too?

  • Andrew Jackson

    I also work at a movie theater as a projectionist, so we definitely have something in common. However, our theater has 16 houses all run off of a digital system, and I honestly don’t mind customers waiting in the credits. Most times they don’t, but when they do I don’t fault them. I myself like to listen to the music and talk with friends as we gather our things while the credits play. And people in the theater see employees come in and will even have conversations with us. So I see no problem with it. Just another insider’s opinion.

  • Alan Smithee

    It annoys me when people talk during the end credits, mainly when I want to hear the music. I don’t know if that annoys me more than their leaving and blocking the screen and proclaiming their ignorance and all that.

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