Sarah Atkinson, professor of screen media, on whether the trend for big, epic films is leading to big, epic runtimes
Zack Snyder’s Justice League: 4hrs 2mins. The Irishman: 3hrs 29mins. The latest James Bond, the longest ever: 2hrs 43mins. Some of the most hyped films of the past few years have been as known for their length as their plot. So is this the new normal – are films getting longer? I asked Sarah Atkinson, professor of screen media at King’s College London.
I loved Tenet, but I remember craving an interval and an ice-cream. Am I the only one feeling films are longer?
Cinema is a bit of a machine, and is surrounded by marketing, so what we hear is often what we remember. These days, there’s a lot of talk about long running times. It’s all part of incentivising people to go out and pay for a ticket, which they won’t do unless it’s for something special – a big, epic film. Just look at the Marvel franchise: almost every one is well over two hours.