Opening scenes and audiences – what do they like?

For this task, I was told to research which films people think have good openings, and what attracts people to films. Here is what I discovered;

 

One of the first films to come up when I was doing this research was ‘Frank’, and I can understand why. The opening would show short, funny clips from the movie, establishing the background of the film, and then it would switch to, for example, text saying “this year” surrounded by pool balls, which would then be hit by another ball athis yearnd scattered (erasing
the words), with a new camera shot showing the group of characters standing around a pool table, taking shots. I found it clever, as they would be introducing the movie, whilst simultaneously giving an interesting context to the characters. The viewers, based on seeing just this opening, were calling it things like “absurd”, and “inspired”, which evidently would draw in their interest to watch the whole movie. Bearing this in mind, I would like my opening scene to have small interesting points like the one in Frank, but would be concerned about making it look more like a trailer than an actual opening sequence.

 

Another crowd pleaser, was ‘Good Burger’, as the opening credits held a lot of comedic value. To begin with, it shows an employee of Good Burger waking up and looking baffled to find that his alarm clock has woken him up, immediately letting the viewers know, five seconds into the film, that the main character is highly unintelligent. This is followed up by the character doing his morning routine – that is, showering with his uniform on, accidentally pulling a girl down the road with a skipping rope, and replacing a baby with a basketball. It gives a small insight into the background, whilst the credits of the main influences pop up on the screen every couple of seconds, meaning that the audience isn’t distracted by the credits and the producegood brugerrs can get in this essential without distracting from the storyline. Audiences tended to like it due to the build up of a comedic storyline, although there were no added animations to the credits, which is what I liked with ‘Frank’. People were attracted to this film due to the genre not being readily available at the time, and the film being considered a “cheap laugh”, something silly that families could take their kids to see.

 

Another movie opening that I really liked was for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, because, again, I liked the animations surrounding the credits, and evidently the audience did too – especially as it wasn’t something found to be very prominent back in 1966. It showed lots of animated blood, images of the characters, historical images from when it was set, and had a very memorable soundtrack. One of the first things that the credits show off is the fact that the film has Clint Eastwood as one of the main characters, which would pique interest immediately. An example of the animations would be, at the very beginning of the opening, a silhouetted horse and rider are galloping across the screen, until a bang emits from the music and the animation dissolves into credits, which I have added as a slideshow here:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The results of my research seems to be that audiences believe that openings with interesting animated credits surrounded a small illustrated backstory work best, as they intrigue and capture the interest of the viewers, making something that could essentially be dull into something completely unique and absorbing. It also seems that the main features attracting audiences to films are – the actors involved, the genre, the basic story behind the film, and who is directing. Of course, I heavily doubt that someone will go to the cinema to watch a movie just for the opening credits, but I’m sure that once intrigued by them, the audience will stay a while to see what else the movie has to offer.

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