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ROTTEN EGGS

The growing drumbeat of “Avengers: Infinity War” spoilers, in daily headlines

By Adam Epstein

This is a story about Avengers: Infinity War spoilers. It therefore contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.

It has become increasingly clear that unless you see a blockbuster movie during its opening weekend—or avoid the internet entirely—you’re going to get your moviegoing experience spoiled.

Film spoilers (pivotal plot points revealed) tend to emerge onto the internet in waves, starting as obscure references in news headlines before they grow more and more specific, until browsing headlines can literally tell you what happens in the film. Avengers: Infinity War provides a stark visualization of this creep of spoilers.

Quartz analyzed hundreds of Google News and Facebook headlines over the past 10 days since the US release of Infinity War, the biggest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. The weekend of Infinity War‘s release, many headlines alluded to a “shocking ending” that included multiple deaths of beloved characters. Days later, the headlines just went ahead and disclosed (or strongly implied) the exact characters that perished.

By the second week, headlines were openly discussing not only how certain characters die but what those deaths and their aftermaths mean for future installments of the superhero franchise.

This all occurred in the span of 10 days, before roughly half of the film’s global audience will see it.

Not everyone minds spoilers, but some are fanatical about avoiding them. And while most headlines do a good job of avoiding revealing plot points (or at least warning readers about spoilers), some are annoyingly lazy—or downright negligent.

Days 1-3 (opening weekend): Cheeky hints at a tragic ending

As the film was released, headlines were generally pretty vague. Still, they revealed that several important characters die, including some members of the Avengers:

Day 4 (Monday): Thinkpieces unleashed

The spoilers seemed to calm down a bit the Monday after the debut weekend as writers delved into some of the film’s issues. But it wouldn’t last long:

Days 5-7 (the week after release): The spoilers grow bolder

The following week was inundated with spoilery headlines, many of which were oddly specific about character deaths, and other things certain characters did in the film:

Days 8-10 (second weekend in theaters): Digging into the details

The second weekend, the huge, overarching spoilers (like character deaths) appeared to wane as writers—perhaps responding to google search queries—began picking apart the minutiae of Infinity War, like Thor’s new weapon and the meaning of the post-credits scene:

Day 11 (today): If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go f#$% yourself

By this point, it’s apparently assumed that everyone who will see the film has seen the film (not true, as mentioned above). Film blogs and entertainment websites are showing little restraint about divulging major plot points in their headlines, without the courtesy of spoiler warnings or redactions: