Wow. A $214 million opening weekend, even though European sales were a disappointment? I'd write something more about "The Hunger Games" this week, except I can't think of anything that hasn't already been said.
So let's move on to the promised topic of movie credits. I asked readers last week whether they stayed to watch the credits at the end of a movie, and why. Several of you had your reasons for sticking around to watch that seemingly endless list of names roll by.
Kevin Penrod said he often stays to learn where the movie was filmed. At the end of Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" in 1987, Penrod was curious what British locales Kubrick had used to re-create Hue City in Vietnam and the Parris Island, S.C., Marine boot camp. An abandoned gasworks stood in for bombed-out Hue, while army camps in England passed as part of South Carolina. Kubrick was a bit of a recluse at that point and filmed entirely in England.
When Penrod is watching an older DVD, he likes to scan for the names of future stars who were unknowns when the movie he's watching was made. He cites as an example Oscar winner Nicolas Cage, who still went by his real name of Nicolas Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola's nephew) when "Valley Girl" came out in 1982.
Pam Cope said she loves to use the credit roll to just "sit there and let the film sink in. Plus, I know it may seem weird, but I kinda think I owe it to the people who made the film to sit through the credits."
Nope, not weird in my book. Cope said she recently watched the hundreds of names floating by after watching "John Carter," amazed by the sheer number of people it took to make that movie.
Sometimes she even looks up weird job titles like "gaffer" and "best boy" to find out what they do. The gaffer is the head electrician, though the term sometimes is used to refer to other department heads. Best boy is the electrician's second in command, usually stuck with equipment and paperwork.
"Recently during the credits I learned an actor had a hairstylist even though his character was bald in the film!" Cope said. Well, someone's got to shave and powder that bald spot, Pam.
Jeanne Harrington always stays for the closing credits, hoping to satisfy her curiosity about who sang a certain song or who did the film's voiceover narration, for example. ("Michael Keaton in 'Inventing the Abbotts' is one that drove me crazy," she remembers).
"I also think of the hundreds of people listed for doing every job imaginable — and how each must have a group of relatives watching intently for just a quick glimpse of their name. I guess I just hate to let those closing credits go to waste."
Rick Fulton says his wife and kids know they're going to be staying to the end of the credits, for the song list.
"Also because there's usually a good song playing over the credits, and how often do you get to hear a good song over a great sound system like they have in movie theaters?" he asked.
Fulton said he also likes the occasional surprise at the end of the credits, "a clip thrown in to be funny."
Penrod, however, can't stand sitting through "stupid out-takes of actors flubbing their lines and laughing at themselves." He cites the "insipid" Smokey and the Bandit films specifically.
A genuine story continuation during the credits, however, gets his blessing, though he says the punchline at the end may or may not be worth the wait.
For Robert Calderon, the credits are all about the music. At the end of "Jack Goes Boating," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Calderon scribbled down unfamiliar songs and artists so he could find them on the Internet and download. Similarly, "Un ProphŤte" used a version of "Mack the Knife" by Jimmie Dale Gilmore that he'd never heard before. He listens to it often now. He wishes he could find "The Ohio Waltz" as played by the White Rose Orchestra during "The Year of Living Dangerously" but has never found it.
Angie Wells recalls two movies that had a scene after the credits: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Airplane!" When she took her boys to movies, they'd take off and wait in the lobby while Mom enjoyed those credits to the end.
"I pay plenty to se a movie in a theater, and I want to see all there is to see!" she said.
The credits reward Mary Larkin of Kimball, Neb., with pearls of information. For example, she learned Lewis Colick wrote script adaptations for "Charlie St. Cloud" and "October Sky," two of her favorite movies. And Kenny Ortega was choreographer for the great footwork in both "Dirty Dancing" and "High School Musical."
Cope said she knows it drives the young theater workers crazy to have to wait to sweep up popcorn until she's done watching those credits. "But I always have stayed for credits, and I always will. I always throw away my popcorn bag and water bottle, too, but that's another story ..."
Hear World-Herald reviewer Bob Fischbach's summary of what's opening each week at the movies Friday mornings on KQKQ-FM, 98.5, at 8:50 a.m.; and The Big O, 101.9, at 8:35 a.m.