The Rise of Longer Movies in the Film Industry: A Shift in Audience Preferences and Filmmaking Trends

News - 24 October 2023

In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend in the film industry towards longer running times for popular movies. It is not uncommon for films to exceed the two-hour mark, with some stretching to three hours or more. Despite the length, these films continue to attract large audiences to theaters around the world.

Some of the most successful films of the past year have had exceptionally long running times. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 clocked in at 150 minutes, John Wick: Chapter 3 at 169 minutes, Oppenheimer at three hours, and Avatar: The Way of Water at a staggering 192 minutes.

Despite their lengthy duration, these films have not deterred fans from flocking to cinemas to experience the cinematic magic.In the past, most movies fell within the 90 to 120-minute range. Anything shorter was considered not worth the price of a movie ticket, while anything longer risked losing the audience's attention.

However, in recent years, there has been a shift towards longer average runtimes for films. The latest example of this trend is Martin Scorsese's upcoming film, Killers of the Flower Moon, which boasts a massive 206-minute runtime.A recent poll conducted by The Journal sought to gauge film fans' preferences when it comes to the ideal running time for a movie.

Of the 8,000 respondents, 34.3% indicated that two hours was the optimal length for a film, while 27.9% preferred movies that are two and a half hours long.

Surprisingly, 24.8% of respondents indicated a preference for films that run three hours or longer, leaving only 13% in favor of movies that are 90 minutes or less.Martin Scorsese, a celebrated filmmaker known for his epic works, has been a vocal advocate for longer films.

When questioned about the length of his latest project, Scorsese defended the runtime, stating, "They can sit for 5 hours watching TV. A lot of people can sit in a theater for 3 1/2 hours. Respect the cinema.

" This sentiment reflects his belief that audiences are capable of engaging with longer-form storytelling, whether it be on the small screen or the silver screen.In an era where binge-watching series on streaming platforms has become a common pastime, the idea of viewing a film that exceeds the traditional two-hour limit may not seem as daunting to audiences as it once did. As technology continues to evolve and shape our viewing habits, filmmakers like Scorsese are able to experiment with longer runtimes, trusting that viewers will invest their time and attention in these cinematic experiences.

The debate over the ideal length of a film is ongoing, with some arguing that shorter runtimes are more conducive to capturing and maintaining audience interest. On the other hand, proponents of longer films argue that extended runtimes allow for richer storytelling, character development, and thematic exploration that may not be possible within the constraints of a shorter film.Ultimately, the question of the ideal film length may come down to personal preference and the type of viewing experience that individuals seek.

Whether audiences gravitate towards shorter, more concise films or longer, more immersive epics, one thing is certain: the landscape of cinema is evolving, and filmmakers are pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling norms to create captivating and memorable cinematic experiences.