Let’s be honest: Sitting through movie credits is boring. A bunch of names the viewer probably won’t recognize scroll from bottom to top until it fades to black or opens to a special scene.
But sitting through the credits is rewarding. It’s not about trying to recognize the names of the crew like you would the cast. It’s about acknowledging the crew’s contribution to the movie. After all, their fingerprints are all over it. Watching their names scroll by is an act of witness, not one of recognition. With the advent of CGI, movie viewers know that those creatures or robots on-screen were made by dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Being the second unit assistant best boy grip is a thankless job, and the only place crew members like that are honored is in the credits.
But when all that white text looks the same then it’s a perfect time to reflect on the movie. Leaving the theater just as the lights turn on is fine, but unless the movie was truly something special the viewer may forget just what they saw.
The credits can turn watching into seeing. It’s easy to watch a movie, but reading it is different. The credits are the calm after the storm. Unless there’s an after-credits scene. Before, these scenes were rare, but now they’re expected.
Viewers can do themselves a favor by sitting through the credits even without the promise of an extra scene. Seeing the sheer number of names passing by is enough to appreciate just what it takes to make a movie. Appreciating the movie itself means the viewer should reflect on it, and the credits are a perfect time for that.