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For Theatrical Films, How Long is Too Long?

If you’re watching a movie in the comfort of your own home, you may care how long it is, but if you can stop and use the bathroom, go get a snack or even finish it up the next night, it’s probably not that big deal. But when it comes to the movie theater experience, things are slightly different according to this article:

In a poll of 2,055 moviegoers in the U.S., a plurality of respondents (36%) said they often sought out a film’s runtime before deciding to see it, while 16% said they always did, according to the polling. Comparatively, 32% indicated they rarely sought out runtimes. Sixteen percent said they never did.

And this was most common with younger audiences, meaning this may be less of a passing trend and more like how it will be from now on.

But with so many blockbusters getting closer to the three-hour mark, how do studios decide what is going to maintain the vision of the film but still get people to pay all that money to see it? AI may hold the key.

If a studio is operating under the assumption that the viewing habits of the world haven’t completely changed thanks to the pandemic, then they would be able to look at the performance metrics of the films they have released.

Then, using something like Content Intelligence, the studios would be able to see the elements of the films and make determinations about what resonated with the audience and what didn’t. Then, by comparing those elements to an unreleased film, there could be a perspective on whether it has enough content elements to sustain viewers or whether it should be trimmed down.

As the article also states that plenty of people are willing to sit through a good film, even if it’s longer, a film can be tested for those elements that will make it a worthy epic.

And if not, there is always the option of a Director’s Cut for streaming.

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