Many movies have hidden meaning and a lot of easter eggs in them. Why are they put in the movie?

  • 17
    for because of fun
    – sanpaco
    Apr 5 '16 at 4:44
  • 2
    Is this a real question? Apr 6 '16 at 0:05
  • A good question :-)
    – ABcDexter
    Apr 7 '16 at 6:31

Most of what I can find about why Easter eggs exist are related to easter eggs in computer software, but they apply equally well to movies:

To be entertaining to find

By and large they're pretty small, but that doesn't really matter, because they serve a very important purpose: first, they're entertaining to find (I love it when I stumble across them in other programs, and judging by the amount of mail I get about these things, so do a lot of other people.)

—Jamie Zawinski, Mozilla developer (Source)

The fact that they are good for Movies Stack Exchange reputation should make it clear that moviegoers see it as just as much fun as software users.*

To keep creators happy

But by far their most important reason for existing is that they are fun to write. Hackers get a kick out of puzzles, and you know what? If dropping in an easter egg allows a hacker to blow off some steam and consequently stick around the office for a few hours longer, and put in a 20 hour day instead of merely a 16 hour day, then those are resources well spent. [...] The program ships faster, and is a better program because the people who wrote it cared about it. Everybody wins.

—Jamie Zawinski, Mozilla developer (Source)

Filmmaking can be a very tedious task, especially if you are needing to spend hours upon hours on end with something like set design or animation. If your staff stays happy throughout all that and does better quality work in exchange for slipping in an easter egg, I doubt that few would care.

To show behind the scenes information that those dedicated enough to find would be interested in

Most Easter eggs [in DVD menus] are inconsequential — gag reels, bloopers, and short interviews being popular.

Reel Views 2: The Ultimate Guide to the Best 1,000 Modern Movies by James Berardinelli and Roger Ebert (Source)

It takes only a short time to edit together a gag reel or an interview. If it's of something niche that isn't worth putting in the menu in general, then hiding it as an Easter egg makes sense. Alternatively, creators may decide to hide things like gag reels as an Easter egg because it encourages viewers to spend more time in DVD menus, perhaps watching other things.

To provide evidence for illegal copying

GCC [General Computer Corp] left two Easter eggs in the ROM: the company's acronym as a logo, and the phrase "HELLO NAKAMURA" tucked into the source code—both of which were eventually used by GCC staffers to prove in court that its code had been lifted for the game's 20th anniversary arcade edition.

Post-mortem: Ms. Pac-Man, Diablo dissected by their original devs (Source)

While not as reliable of a method, the presence of Easter eggs in DVD menus can distinguish a legitimate copy compared to a bootleg copy. If two DVDs appear to be identical, but one contains an easter egg confirmed by the studio and the other does not, the one that does not is the bootleg.

Note that this method only really works for detecting pre-release bootlegs or DVDs created to look like official DVDs (which was more common in the early days of DVD). This method won't work if a DVD is ripped and then re-burned because the copy will have all the Easter eggs of the original.

To hide something that thematically is a secret

Memento is a film shown out of chronological order, and a large part of the movie is the protagonist, and the viewer trying to piece together the proper order of events. The Limited Edition version includes an Easter egg that shows the entire movie in chronological order, which solves the mystery.

* I hope that someday there will be someone who works on a movie that slips in an Easter egg for the direct purpose of helping someone gain reputation on this site. If anybody reads this and decides to do it, I'll happily give a bounty for your troubles!

  • 2
    The bootleg argument is lacking. A dvdrip will copy over the menu files completely, easter egg and all.
    – cde
    Apr 5 '16 at 6:10
  • 3
    @cde, I'd assume he refers to pre-release bootlegs, which naturally cannot contain stuff added for official publication.
    – Ghanima
    Apr 5 '16 at 10:44
  • 7
    Good answer, but one small addition (sorry if it's there and I didn't spot it): Easter eggs are often missed in theaters and are designed for media with a 'pause' feature. So it's another way to get us to purchase and\or rewatch the film at home.
    – Walt
    Apr 5 '16 at 11:05
  • @Walt exactly... it all boils down to helping to sell more copies. Apr 5 '16 at 13:37
  • 1
    "20 hour days instead of 16"... Man, those hackers really work their asses of. More probably, they sleep at work.
    – Ludwik
    Apr 5 '16 at 17:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .