OPINION: Spoilers don’t determine viewer experience

By Juan Calvillo

People are far too concerned with protecting themselves from spoilers when they should be more focused on experiencing their choices in entertainment. Some individuals go to extreme lengths to not have their favorite shows or movies spoiled by an errant picture or social media posting. 

Even large studios have gotten into the business of protecting their audiences from spoilers.

As “Avengers: Endgame” released, the directors of the movie made a plea they had previously made with “Avengers: Infinity War.” Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of the enormous superhero hits, started an internet hashtag coming up to the release of “Infinity War,” #ThanosDemandsYourSilence. 

The Russo brothers decided to continue the trend with “Endgame” by asking audiences #DontSpoilTheEndgame. 

The premise of their plea was to ask audiences not to talk about the movie openly until most people had the chance to actually watch the big budget movies. In and of itself the plea was for the good of all audiences that would watch the highly anticipated movies.

The problem with asking people not to spoil huge flicks like these is that it’s not simply the director asking, it’s a large studio telling audiences not to talk openly about the film. This is as about as extreme as it gets. A multibillion dollar company telling audiences not to spoil their film, effectively silencing their freedom of speech. Now their statements are in no way an attack on freedom of speech. 

But what it does show is how easily the masses, nurtured on superhero movies, will give up the right to talk about a film they may have watched and loved simply when asked.

I have a brother who is an extremely devoted Marvel movie fan. When the final film in the opus that Marvel Studios has created was set to release, he said that if anyone were to spoil the film for him he would leave the room and cease speaking to the transgressor. He was so determined not be spoiled that he ended up watching the movie during his work week. Almost immediately after the movie opened.

This is an extreme reaction to not wanting to be spoiled on a movie. And unfortunately he seemed happy to watch the film, but his excitement was tempered by the fact that he had to watch the movie as soon as he could to avoid spoilers. 

When it comes to entertainment, individuals should have fun and be happy with what they chose to watch or participate in. The simple fact that far too many people won’t speak or limit their friends, families, or even strangers choice to freely talk about an entertainment experience is ridiculous.

An experiment done by Jonathan D. Leavitt and Nicholas Christenfeld, part of the Department of Psychology at the University of San Diego in 2011, showed that a higher percentage of people enjoyed taking in entertainment despite being spoiled before hand. 

Their article on the Association for Psychological Science proved that this should come to no surprise. 

There are multiple people who read story synopses at the end of books or on the back of blu rays to see whether or not the story seems interesting. 

These people watch or read entertainment and lose themselves in the story. Truly accepting that it is the story that is important. The old adage says, “It’s the journey, not the destination.”

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