Why Don’t Theatre-Goers Clap At the End of Movies?

James Walpole/ December 30, 2019

Say what you will about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – it’s still a Star Wars movie, and the last of a saga. So how is it that the audience at my showing just got up *immediately* and walked away when the credits started rolling?

First of all, it’s a shame that they missed the wonderful end credits music to the last Star Wars film John Williams will ever score.

But more striking is the fact that there was no pause for reflection, celebration, or even jeering. There was no apparent reaction. They finished watching, got up, and left (this is the case with less stirring movies as well.)

There’s something wrong with how most people react to cinema. It’s like they don’t know how to show emotion.

I’ve been to a handful where the audience claps as the credits roll. Sure – it’s weird. None of the makers are there to receive the applause (a carryover habit from live theatre). But at least there’s an attempt at a shared response to artistic achievement.

Maybe we should sit through the credits longer (attention is a sign of respect). Maybe we should clap. Maybe we should talk with our neighbors. Whatever we do, we need to find some way to feel comfortable with emotional responses to cinema.

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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