What’s the expiry date on a spoiler?


Spoilers are the bane of any busy fan’s life. If a new movie or TV episode had been released and you haven’t been able to see it on opening night, then you’re at risk of seeing spoilers. Some people don’t believe there should be what is now called ‘spoiler culture,’ which essentially means keeping the events of this movie or episode a secret for a reasonable amount of time. This also means refraining from putting it on the internet and social media. Others, of whom there are probably more, believe that things should be kept on the down low for a little while, but not forever. So, how long do we have before it’s socially acceptable to post a spoiler?

Movies vs. TV episodes

It’s not reasonable to suggest the same kind of spoiler ban for both movies and TV shows. After all, for a major feature-length film, it’s likely going to take people longer to see it. It takes more time and requires people to pay for entry, putting more obstacles in the way than your run-of-the-mill TV show. Also, since the general episode turnaround for a TV show is weekly, it makes sense that there’s less time in between the spoiler ban.

The two-week rule

Like many things that are developing, it’s becoming clearer what’s socially acceptable and what’s not, although sadly, not everyone cares. An example of this is the spoiler ban is when the Russo brothers, who are the Marvel representatives for Avengers: Endgame, posted online a letter asking internet users not to ‘spoil the endgame’ and even included its own hashtag. They gave two weeks, which offers moviegoers two weekends and many weekdays to head over to their local cinema and take in the latest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many have generally accepted this rule; however, since it’s only a relatively unspoken rule, some people still posted spoilers online in an attempt to rebel against this request.

The three-day rule

For TV shows it’s a little tougher since they’re so quick to turn around. For most TV shows, people might say 3-5 days would be an appropriate time to wait before posting spoilers or information about the episode. However, this is less common for people to abide by, and a great example of this is with the recent Game of Thrones season. Many people posted videos of some of the most prominent scenes only hours after it’s been released. However, most people tend to only post thoughts and feelings as opposed to outright spoiling it, which is considered far more appropriate after mere hours of release.

The level of spoiler

Some people have a different viewpoint on what a spoiler really is, as some people don’t want to hear even someone’s opinion on the episode as they fear it would warp their opinion upon first viewing. Of course, this is a little harsh, and it’s fair to say that, if that’s the case, it’s best to keep away from social media until they have watched the show. However, a more general view of spoilers is that essential and prominent plot points aren’t revealed, which seems more reasonable and is generally accepted. There’s now something called ‘spoilers without context’ which takes something completely random, but it relates directly to the movie or show in a humorous way, these ‘spoilers’ are practically impossible to work out without seeing the content.

The basic rule of thumb is to try and be mindful of fellow fans and keep in mind some people may not be able to avoid social media, as it might be part of their work for example. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help make the internet a safer place for movie and TV fans.