There seems to be a lack of opening credits in modern movies these days. I can't remember the last new movie I saw that actually had a main title theme and credits. Now, given that you can count the number of new movies I've seen in the theater on one hand, I'm probably making too broad of a generalization, but there's been a noticeable trend over the last few years, even to me, for filmmakers to dive right into their movie, BAM!, without ever giving any credits beyond the title.
I hate that.
Oh sure, I understand all too well about needing to grab people's attention right away, etc., but you know, nobody's going to walk out of a movie four minutes into it because they had to sit through opening credits.
When I go to the movies, even when I pop a DVD in the machine at home, I'm coming from real life. From the stress of work, or dealing with the stupid drivers on the road, or the monotony of household chores, or an argument with friends, or a gigglefest with friends... it doesn't matter whether it's stress or cheer, I've got real life on the brain. I go to/put on a movie to get away from them. And you know? Opening credits are the transition point. The theater darkens, the music starts, the credits roll. The flavor of the music sets the tone, tells me what I'm in for. I loosen my grip on the outside world, let the score and the credits relax me... so that when the movie starts, I'm there. Ready to go. Movies that tend to jump right in? I'm doing that transition during the movie's opening. I have to discard my distractions as the movie starts. Oh sure, I get there, but I miss opening credits.
When I think of modern (but, er... not so new) films that did it right, I think of films like The Untouchables (1987). Perfect opening credits. Stylish and atmospheric letters and shadows, with Morricone's dark but catchy title theme putting me into the right frame of mind... by the time the first scene starts, I am so there, body and soul, ready to go. Real life is forgotten, and I'm eager to see what's coming. Or Dead Again (1991). Or James Bond films, that give you a teaser, but also a nice set of opening credits.
That's what I miss in movies that choose to toss you off a cliff instead of letting you enjoy the view a moment, before giving you that hard shove.
I always stay through the end credits of every film for the similar reasons. Well, for three reasons really. 1) before songs became so prevalent, end credits were a great place to listen to the composer's music again without dialog and sound effects overrunning it, 2) to give acknowledgement and salute to the makers of the film, and 3) to ease back out of fiction into real life.