Why are “based on a true story” tags placed at the beginning of movies instead of at the end?

As the first piece of information given to the audience, why is the sentiment deemed important enough to be the frame through which we receive the whole story? By definition, it immediately establishes our relationship to what we’re about to see.

Is that what it’s about? Clarity? But why upfront? Positioning it at the end would lay it just as bare, with the added bonus of potentially inspiring the audience to reckon with how this revelation alters their (hopefully) ever-evolving conception of what they’ve just seen.

Or might it be too late to help the movie by then? Are audiences proner (not a word; should be; deal with it) to invest in something they know ACTUALLY happened, whereas if a “made-up” story (which is obviously rooted in *some* real-world inspiration) displeases, they check out from what they could view as being nothing from nothing.

Does the “true” label add inherent believability, instead of fiction’s added obligation to convince us of its legitimacy? If the artistry fails to persuade, we forgive the artifice in the name of education? Which also might explain the commercial appeal of documentaries (and why trailers include “based on a true story”).

But like, isn’t the implication here that Hollywood’s relaying of history inherently boasts more “truth” than fiction?


Or is the calculus: presentations can lie, but at least there’s a kernel of historical realness somewhere inside?

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