Yes. Yes, they are. That’s the shortened, Twitter edition of my rant.
This weekend geared up to be one of the most dramatic in the entertainment industry for many a decade. Considering that from a cinematic point of view, comic book fans and the likes would have pre-booked their tickets for the screening of Avengers: Endgame, probably a few weeks ahead of time, and then the most dramatic of episodes was set to hit the small screen on Sunday evening (US Time) for the third episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, which has grown into the largest and most popular series in television history. For anyone who attended an early screening of Avengers and watched the Game of Thrones episode as it released on HBO in the U.S., things would have gone to plan. Then there are the remaining fans who didn’t have that luxury.
Even if you had every intention to, it’s not physically possible for everyone to have seen Avengers: Endgame on the day of release. The film broke a few Box Office records when it came to ticket sales and prebookings, which sheds light on the eagerness of fans to watch the film as soon as humanly possible. But, again, I state, it isn’t always possible for everyone to watch the film, even across the entire first weekend of its release.
The same can be said for Game of Thrones, although not for the same reasons. With an airing time of 3AM in our timezone (GMT+2), which includes most of Africa and Europe, or 2AM for the UK and the likes, it’s not practically possible for most fans outside of the U.S. to enjoy the show when it first airs. Many fans schedule their time to watch the show at various points throughout the week once it becomes available in their respective countries. You can see where I’m going with this.
There is a huge onus on all involved to abide by a certain set of unspoken rules when it comes to such hugely popular entertainment genres. The likes of entertainment websites and their journalists, as well as to everyone on social media, also have to follow the same set of principles. And this is where the major gripe lies for me and quite a few others around the world. In terms of social media, the term “troll” and “trolling” comes to mind when an individual takes it upon themselves to drop spoilers on their social media posts or updates, evoking the wrath of many. Sometimes they don’t even have to take to social media to ruin the experience for other fans.
NEW: Man beaten outside of theater for revealing end of "Avengers" moviehttps://t.co/HnbykdfpUS
— LIVE Breaking News (@NewsBreaking) April 27, 2019
Case in point, an incident that occurred over the weekend, whereby someone who had recently watched Avengers: Endgame proceeded to scream out spoilers (the surprises and twists from the film) to a crowd who had started to queue, eagerly awaiting their turn to see the film. Things took a sharp turn for the worse for the “troll” when the crowd turned on him, brutally attacking him as a result of his actions. While I don’t condone such violence, I understand the frustration of those patrons having paid their ticket fees and waiting in line to enjoy the end to the Marvel saga spanning more than a decade.
It’s not just these individuals, however, who are trolling. There are many websites and publications that somehow don’t seem to understand the concept of using a great title for their posts without including any spoilers in it, in the process ruining some key moments of a film or episode.
Having made the last-minute decision on Sunday evening to wake ahead of the 3AM screening of Game of Thrones in South Africa, I went to bed again comfortable in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to brave the entire workday avoiding social media and the likes wishing that I wouldn’t stumble on any posts that would ruin the experience. Upon waking and proceeding with my usual process of reading a few news and entertainment articles, I was shocked at how many sites had published reviews and stories about the latest episode of Game of Thrones mere minutes after it had aired. Knowing in the back of my mind that more than half of the show’s fanbase would not have seen aired live, I was left with quite a few questions as to why they would do this so bluntly. In recent weeks, I’ve also been following a few stories whereby fans of such shows and films started unfollowing major publications due to their continued spoilers in their titles and/or social media updates. I feel their pain and anger, too.
There has always been an unspoken agreement between fans and the entertainment industry that they wouldn’t publish any information that would ultimately ruin the experience of another fan. In fact, Marvel and Disney have gone to great lengths in protecting the outcomes of their films and imploring fans to respect this too. For anyone, then, to choose to ignore this and go ahead with ruining big-budget films and series simply for a few extra clicks to their site or simply for trolling is both baffling and infuriating. To restate my answer as to whether publications and social media are ruining our entertainment, the answer is undoubtedly, yes. One can only hope that distributors and the likes would start taking action against these people, especially websites and publications, as it is, in fact, deteriorating their products before many viewers can see it.
What are your thoughts? Are large publications and social media ruining our entertainment with spoilers?