I notice that some movies are so densely packed with nuanced layers that you have to watch them a few times before you really start to see everything. Some people watch some movies 10+ times.

But other movies get everything across in a single viewing so that it is boring to watch them more than once or twice.

I imagine that much of the difference is by design. What specific methods or tricks are used by movie makers to get the same viewers to keep watching the same movie over and over? Can you give examples of techniques and of movies that employ those techniques?

  • @close-voters: movies.stackexchange.com/q/24956/49.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 17, 2015 at 7:31
  • By using several techniques you can read about at tvtropes.org
    – Smithers
    Jul 5, 2015 at 4:07
  • I'd argue this is simply too broad/opinion based. What compels a person to watch a movie many times is often subjective and goes well beyond the 'density' of the plot.
    – DA.
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:34
  • However, if you reword the question to ask about movies that purposefully use density as one of the elements, that might be OK (though that falls into the 'list making' category)
    – DA.
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:34

3 Answers 3


This is not an exhaustive list but it is a start. First off, remember that studios don't necessarily care if you watch their film again but they definitely want you to buy their film again... I'm looking at you, copy of Shindler's List just sitting on the shelf after 15 years, still in the original plastic.

OMG Special Features!!!@!

One of the most obvious ways of getting people to re-watch a film is to re-release it, usually with more "special features".

Is your film having a 10th... or 15th, or 25th... (you get my point) anniversary soon?

Put out a new copy of it with commentaries, behind the scenes footage, stills, deleted scenes, etc. You will get fans to buy the special version just for these updated, previously unreleased special stuff.

Release Different Versions:

And, along this vein... let's just release a new version of the film while we're at it... 3 hours of Lord of the Rings not enough for you? How about 3.5 hours??? Extended cuts are popular with fans and studios because the fans get more film and the studio gets a lot more money.

Or, how about implying that the director hated what the editors did to his film, so we need the director to release a special "Director's Cut" of the film.

Or, if you're George Lucas... you just release new versions every time you think that technology and plot have changed enough that you need to release a new version. Poor Star Wars. Shall we ever see you in your original glory again?

Show it in Theaters Again:

Are you having a sequel coming out soon?... perhaps after 20 years? How about getting theaters to screen double features so that people can remember what they forgot 20 years ago right before seeing the new one.

"Vault" Your Films:

This one is really just Disney Animation but they seem to think it works. Disney has been creating artificial scarcity of their films by limiting their DVD/BluRay releases and "vaulting" titles for periods of several years. When the film "comes out of the vault", have a big release event and everyone will buy the copies.

  • Thank you and +1 for an answer that provides insights that I was not expecting. I posted to get answers like yours that I did not expect. But I think Mnemeth is also onto something with his emotional observation. I recently watched Fast & Furious 7 at least 6 or 8 times in the theater and then watched all the earlier movies in the series. I watched it so many times because it was so densely packed that you couldn't really get it until the 3rd or 4th viewing. Age of Ultron was similarly densely packed. I watched Ultron 8 times. I wonder why some movies hypnotize like that while others do not.
    – user22090
    Jun 16, 2015 at 23:23

Well, the most simplest is the core of all entertainment. Entertainment is about evoking emotions in the consumer. It can be pride for solving a puzzle or something else, but usually the emotional situation is simply presented and you watch (or read in books) about it.

So if you watch 'Hotaru no haka' (Grave of the fireflies) you probably will feel always sadness. So you probably will come back to watch it again, if you want to explore your emotions.

If the movie sets on surprises, this can work very well for the first viewing, but will not have the effect later on. And movies that simply fail, will probably not viewed again.

  • You could say that multiple back stories for various characters obscure what is really going on. Also obscuring layers of details in the action scenes. A very provocative premise. An unexpected ending whose seeds are sewn in earlier scenes. Lots of other methods. Emotions might be a common thread but to reduce it to the word emotion fails to elucidate the diversity of methods. +1 for getting it started. I am looking forward to other people's answers.
    – user22090
    Jun 14, 2015 at 15:22

I think a good example is where there is an unexpected twist (or twists) at the end, particularly if they depended on several elements earlier in the movie which were in plain sight so to speak but not obvious in terms of story development.

For example, who could watch The Sixth Sense without going back and watching it again just to see how you could have missed all the clues?

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