Are films really getting longer? We ask the expert

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.

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