Give the Audience What They Want

“Godzilla vs. King Kong” isn’t a great movie, but it does give audiences exactly what they want. Few people interested in drama will expect “Godzilla vs. King Kong” to satisfy them. Instead, the audience for this movie are people who want to see monsters smashing things and beating each other up. In that regard, “Godzilla vs. King Kong” delivers exactly what it promises.

Every story promises something and that promise must be delivered at least four times:

  • In the beginning (Act I)
  • Early in the story (Act IIa)
  • Later in the story (Act IIb)
  • In the end (Act III)

People want to see monsters fighting in “Godzilla vs. King Kong” so that’s exactly what the movie delivers:

  • In the beginning (Act I) — King Kong throws a tree into his containment dome, threatening to escape
  • Early in the story (Act IIa) — Godzilla fights King Kong
  • Later in the story (Act IIb) — King Kong fights various flying monsters
  • In the end (Act III) — Godzilla fights King Kong and the two of them fight Mecha-Godzilla

In “Jurassic Park,” people want to see dinosaurs so that’s exactly what the movie delivers:

  • In the beginning (Act I) — A dinosaur attacks a zookeeper
  • Early in the story (Act IIa) — The hero arrives at the park and gets a glimpse of multiple dinosaurs roaming around
  • Later in the story (Act IIb) — The dinosaurs escape
  • In the end (Act III) — The dinosaurs hunt down the humans

What happens when you promise but underdeliver? The same thing when a merchant promises a great product but delivers garbage. You feel cheated and unhappy. The 2015 remake of “The Fantastic Four” promised superheroes fighting but this is what the movie delivered:

  • In the beginning (Act I) — No fighting
  • Early in the story (Act IIa) — No fighting
  • Later in the story (Act IIb) — No fighting
  • In the end (Act III) — The last ten minutes they’re finally fighting a super villain

Any wonder why “The Fantastic Four” remake bombed so badly? It promised a superhero movie and failed to deliver what people want to see in a superhero movie, which is superheroes fighting super villains. Act I always delivers a hint of what’s to come while Act III is the grand finale.

Make a promise and deliver on that promise and you’ll at least keep your core audience happy. Watch bad movies and watch how often they violate this simple principle. Then watch good movies and notice how often they deliver their promises in each Act.

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