In the age of mass media, and the internet, people have developed the “scoop” mentality. Everyone wants to be the first. Media outfits will pay good money to get the scoop on an event and internet publishers sometimes try to out-scoop media.
The more serious movie goer and book reader do it to their peers too. You can see it from the way people queue up on the box office on opening day. You can see it from the long lines in bookstores when a much-awaited book comes out. Even the bored housewife and her labandera gloat when they are the first to hear the latest gossip or scandal about their favorite celebrities. No one wants to be the last.
With media, it’s about the money. The outfit that publishes the news ahead of its competitors will generate more sales. With internet publishers, it’s about the traffic which translates to popularity or advertising revenue, or both.
But with movie goers and book readers, what’s the big deal about being the first to see a new movie or read a new book? Unless you are also in the business of publishing reviews which, in a way, makes the I-have-to-be-first game understandable, a movie or a book will stay the same even if seen or read ten years after its first release.
Of course, much of if has to do with hype and trending. Advertising and marketing build up the hype about a product, whether it be a film or a book, to boost initial sales which will then set a trend as the bandwagon mentality takes over. Bandwagon? When a movie opens and we see advertisements that include video footage of “ambush” interviews of moviegoers against a backdrop of huge crowds in front of a movie house, the message is that people are coming in droves because the movie is good and so everyone else should see it.
Even a love affair, real or contrived, between a leading man and a leading lady is exploited to generate sales for a film or a television show. The more complicated, the better. Hence, it isn’t unusual to find the involvement of a third party — a love triangle, after all, titillates the imagination of the public even more. In short, many publicized celebrity love affairs are, purely and simply, marketing gimmicks meant to sell the actors’ latest movie or television show.
The curious thing is that I don’t know of any movie buff or serious reader who has dissected his reasons for wanting to be the first to see a movie or read a book. But I know many movie buffs who make it a point to go and see a movie on opening day. And I know a lot of book lovers who pre-order a book so that they can get their copies even before the book hits the bookstores.