As production continues on The Dark Knight Rises, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this could end up being one of the most scrutinized movie shoots ever. The hype of trying to follow up a critical and commercial hit like The Dark Knight, combined with the public nature of many of the locations in Pittsburgh are leading to 24/7 surveillance from fans, paparazzi and bloggers alike. It is becoming impossible to escape the set photos and other bits of information leaking out online, and for people who are overly cautious about spoilers, it’s turning into a nightmare. But allow me to ask a radical question here: what if, for some reason, Christopher Nolan were to lay out his entire plan for the movie and give us daily updates on every single thing being shot? Would The Dark Knight Rises be any less successful? Would viewers enjoy it any less?
A recent psychological study on spoilers at UC San Diego came to a strange and unexpected conclusion: people actually enjoy stories more when they already know what’s going to happen. It seems hard to believe, but their explanation is that plots are mostly irrelevant and “just excuses for great writing.” Granted, the study focused only on literature as opposed to film, but one would expect the outcome to be the same regardless. In a way, it kind of makes sense because any movie that relies solely on plot twists will ultimately be empty and unfulfilling anyway. This goes contrary to an article that Chuck Klosterman wrote on Grantland back in May, where he suggests that Hollywood screenwriters are avoiding writing movies with twist endings because they can so easily be ruined nowadays. What do you think? Do spoilers ruin movies or can they add to the enjoyment? Are we getting too sensitive about spoilers nowadays? Do the best movies all succeed regardless of how much you know ahead of time? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.