RANT: The Cloverfield Monster is NOT A Spoiler

Spoiler

Yesterday, we posted the first photos of the Cloverfield Monster Toy, which is being produced by Hasbro. We received a few angry comments, yelling at us for “Spoiling” Cloverfield for them.

The whole concept of Spoilers has been something that has been on my mind for a few months now. Originally a Spoiler meant something from a film that gave away a twist or turning point in the story. Basically, anything that would ruin your experience watching the story on the big screen. I don’t know exactly when, but sometime in the last year the tide began to change online, and studio released production photos began to be considered “spoilers” even when they didn’t reveal something major about the story. A reader once complained to me that posting a photo of Indiana Jones standing in front of a jungle background was a spoiler which should be kept after the jump. I try not to “Spoil” stuff, but it has gotten ridiculous.

The Cloverfield Monster is NOT a Spoiler!

It’s a real testament to the marketing department at Paramount, that they somehow tricked the world into believing that the Cloverfield Monster is somehow a spoiler. It all started when director Matt Reeves threw in the now infamous last minute line “I saw it! It’s Alive! It’s Huge” while he was directing the film’s teaser trailer (the trailer was filmed before the movie). And sometime after the trailer hit attached to Transformers, the studio and Bad Robot decided to focus the marketing around the mystery and the fan’s craving to know – “What is it?”

But truth is – The Cloverfield Monster is not a spoiler. Seeing the monster does not ruin the movie for you. It doesn’t ruin the story what-so-ever. In fact, the marketing campaigns for most monster movies heavily involve the appearance of the monster(s). The only way the Cloverfield Monster would/could be a spoiler is if it was the result of a plot twist. Say for example, Rob’s father ate some brownies with some nuclear gamma acid and turned into the monster. So by seeing the creature, you would be able to see that the monster use to be Rob’s father. That would be a spoiler. Seeing Godzilla before a Godzilla movie is not a spoiler.

Besides, Paramount gave Hasbro the go-ahead to release the photos of the toy version of the monster. The photos were released on the official website, in plain view, without a spoiler warning. The film hit theaters almost a whole month ago. Paramount even began running television advertisements featuring a very good look at the Cloverfield Monster, just days after the film’s opening weekend. But then again, some people would claim that trailers and television spots are also “spoilers”.

I believe the studios are to blame for this recent change in reader reaction. Hollywood is so scared that spoilers will ruin their big Summer tentpole film, that they hide those productions in secrecy. But in result, they create this culture of fear among film fanatics. All of a sudden, a set photo of Zachary Quinto in costume as Spock somehow becomes a major spoiler. Even though all the marketing leading up to the film’s release will likely show Quinto in character. The audience somehow assigns these crazy associations to the word Spoiler, even though it is usually never the case.

I think we all need to calm down. A spoiler is me telling you what happens in the last ten minutes of a movie. A spoiler is not the picture of a toy version of the Cloverfield monster, released a month after the film’s release.

My position on this has remained the same throughout the years: A spoiler is something that will spoil your enjoyment of the story to a major degree (a plot twist, a character turn…etc). Anything officially released by the studio (production photos, a trailer, tv spots) is all fair game. We will continue hide spoilers after the jump, so that readers won’t accidentally run into them while scrolling through the page.

What do you guys think?

What constitutes a spoiler?

How long after the release of a movie does a spoiler become fair game as the topic of mainstream conversation? (ie How long after The Sixth Sense should you wait before publicly discussing the twist ending? Movies ad television shows spoof the ending all the time).

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