Why Are Movies Getting So Long These Days?

Do you get a shiver when you learn that Robert Pattinson’s blockbuster movie “The Batman” was kind of over 3 hours lengthy?

Like other comic book fans, perhaps you believe that there is no such thing as too much Bruce Wayne. Is it really three hours? How about five hours? It should be injected straight into your eyes.

Perhaps you’ve become used to stopping the TV every 30 seconds to check your phone, get a snack, visit the lavatory, or doom-scroll on Twitter after two years of pandemic isolation. The prospect of spending 180 minutes looking at a silver screen is so terrifying that you’ve pondered missing “The Batman.”

When filmmakers submit their final edits, they consider all of these responses. Of course, A-list actors in prominent roles, a well-known director, and a compelling proposal are all important in selling a picture. The run length of a film, on the other hand, is made up of less showy but well-thought-out pieces. Movies, unlike network television programs, may be scheduled at any time. However, there are valid reasons why studios and filmmakers seek to minimize bloat – even if it is necessary for some instances.

The budget, profitability, and word of mouth of a film may be affected by its duration. Those valuable minutes are never taken at random with millions of dollars on the line. Producers, filmmakers, and managers don’t need anybody to leave a movie thinking, “It was excellent, but it was far too long.” In an era when there’s no lack of entertainment alternatives, they don’t need someone to leave a movie thinking, “It must have been wonderful, but it was much too lengthy.”

It may not have been experimentally confirmed, but it seems that films are becoming longer. “No Time to Die” (2 hours, 43 minutes), “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2 hours, 28 minutes), “Dune” (2 hours, 35 minutes), “Eternals” (2 hours, 37 minutes), and “The Last Duel” (2 hours, 32 minutes) are among the year’s most popular films.

Nonetheless, it’s hardly a brand-new trend. Several previous successful films, like 1939’s “Gone With the Wind” (3 hours, 58 minutes), 1962’s “Lawrence of Arabia” (3 hours, 47 minutes), and 1959’s “Ben-Hur” (3 hours, 32 minutes), managed to become commercial hits despite their mind-numbing lengths. “Spider-Man” and “No Time to Die,” for example, are recent successes. These instances show that there isn’t necessarily a link between the duration of a film and its popularity. The majority of the top-grossing films of all time are between two and three hours long. Only one Oscar winner for best picture, “Annie Hall,” clocks in at about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Because streaming services are not subject to the same financial constraints as conventional studios, they do not need strict standards. It’s difficult for the old guard to place stringent constraints on directors now that Netflix enables Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” to be three and a half hours, Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” to be two hours and 28 minutes, and Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” to be two hours and 34 minutes.