The film industry is always adapting and changing. It goes through phases and trends just like anything else. For instance, credits used to be at the beginning of a film. They would only show the main actors and main people behind the film. Now credits are at the end of the film and can be very lengthy. It seems like people don’t really care who is to thank for being a grip or an extra. This could be why everything is at the end in small print and scrolls by quickly. Over the years, some films have gotten creative and put animations or bloopers with the credits. When I was very young, I got to see The Matrix Reloaded. This was significant because it was the first time I saw a film do something different with the credits. There was an after-credit scene that added to the story.
The Matrix is not the first film to add an after-credit scene, it was just the first one I saw. There have been after-credit sequences since the 70s, like in The Muppet Movie. However, there has been a sudden increase in after-credit sequences. The 2000s marked this sudden increase. That’s when today’s current pop culture began, especially with superhero films.
The same year The Matrix Reloaded came out, the film X-2 came out. Since then, superhero films have become notorious for having after-credit scenes. Marvel, Fox, and Warner Bros. have become really successful due to superhero films. They have all also utilized after-credit sequences. Fans have come to expect the surprise that comes after the movie. For the longest time, the extra scene used to provide a clue as to what might come in the future. They would get the hype rolling for the next film in the series. This has become so popular that a few films added an after-credit sequence as well as a mid-credit sequence. Is it getting out of hand?
After-credits are in their prime right now. While it may be more of a tradition in Marvel films, it has spread to almost every genre of film. If you look at a list of every film to have after-credits, the list gets exponentially larger the closer you get to the current year. Last year, the list included Dumb and Dumber, 22 Jump Street, Planes, and A Million Ways to Die in the West. All of these films would normally not be expected to have any “easter eggs.”
Another surprise is how this trend is being revised. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had after-credit sounds that gave a clue as to what happened at the end of the story. The leader in after-credits, Marvel, has even begun to seemingly make fun of its fans in these small scenes. At the end of The Avengers, they showed the characters eating at a restaurant. It was a comedic moment, but it didn’t add anything to the story. More recently, Marvel has announced beforehand that there will not be any after-credit sequences in certain films. This has greatly disappointed fans because it has become a tradition.
If you’ve been going to the theater all your life, you should have noticed a change there too. No one ever used to stay for the credits. No one cares to see them. If you go to see a film now, look back when the credits begin. You will see a full room of people waiting for those after-credits sequences.
Marvel’s Age of Ultron film is right around the corner. There has been a lot of talk, hype, and controversy over Marvel’s recent Spider-man deal. People are expecting a clue in Ultron as to what lies ahead for Spider-man. The only problem is that Marvel already announced that there will be nothing after the credits in this latest film. But do we believe them? After all, J.J. Abrams had his whole crew lie about Benedict Cumberbatch’s character identity in Star Trek.
Whether or not a film has after-credits, this trend has helped the superhero film genre gain success. It is the first genre to attempt a cinematic universe. It has lead people to stay from beginning to black screen at every film. No matter its intentions, the trend is encouraging credits to be read and films to become very popular.
As the after-credits scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off said, “You’re still here? It’s over, go home”.
–Miguel Gonzalez, Film Blogger