Are movies longer than they used to be? The data: Nope


Uh… It kind of looks like they are. Clearly not in any direct linear way but the over all trend line is definitely up, don’t you think? Sure they have been sort of flat for the last ten or so years, but you can take a window like that and show any trend you like over the data given. Also if I look at the trend from my youth around the 80’s they have clearly gotten longer, which, perhaps, is why people think they have gotten longer. There are not so many people comparing movies from the 60 to now as there are from the 80s.


I don’t think that the MOVIES are significantly longer, but they do seem to allot more time between the advertised start time and and the start of the movie for ads and previews and whatnot.


I was going to say the same thing. The longest movies from the 80’s are the average movie length now. The average movies from the 80’s are the minimum now.


Perhaps Maggie would be willing to post a graph of the size of the average bladder since the 1930’s.


Yea, a peak in the 60’s, and we are now back up to those levels.

And, yea, they feel a bit longer because there are more ads before the movie than there were in the 80’s. Though going further back that might reverse again as they used to show newsreels, mini documentaries, shorts, etc more often.

Also I have the impression that intermissions were more common in the 60’s than today, which makes a long movie less painful.

Lawrence of Arabia: 216 Minutes
Gone with the Wind 238 minutes.
The Longest Day 178 Minutes
A Bridge too far 175 minutes
Sparticus 197 minutes.

It looks to me like good movies are getting shorter. Or maybe there just aren’t any good movies any more.

Considering that I didn’t really start watching movies until the1980’s, movies are in fact getting longer (for me).

Well, they are just looking at the most popular films. So the biggest, dumbest action set pieces that make up the more popular movies have gotten longer since the '80s (and the introduction of various forms of home video). Given the competition from big-screen TVs and increasing ticket costs, the current blockbuster production attitude is probably “go big (in every way) or go home (video).” So it’s similar to the film industry’s response to the popularization of television.

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They’re simply using the wrong unit of measure. Measured in attention spans, the trend is shocking - the current crop average over 10 A.S.

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Err… the pull-quote used here is terrible. It’s referring to his third graph of all movies, not the graph shown here in the article, which is for top movies. Looking and this graph and that pull-quote makes no sense at all.

The first graph (the one shown here) is the better one anyway – we’re talking about the movies everyone watches. If you widen the dataset to include all sorts of crap in IMDB that is barely even for distribution, of course you’re going to get a flat line.

So that quote shouldn’t really be quoted.

He mentions in passing the reason movies seem to be getting longer: They did get longer from the early 80s, through the 90s, til now. That’s a 20-year trend of movies getting longer – that’s a very fair sample to be talking about if you’ve been watching movies for the past 30 years.

TL:DR: Movies certainly have been getting longer for the past 30 years.


if movies seem longer now, it is because of they keep adding more and more production logos at the beginning of the movie. it is absurd to have to sit through several minutes of logos before the movie begins.

Here’s a question:

How has CG affected the runtime of movies? Credits (both opening and closing) are included in a movie’s runtime. CG may dramatically increase the length of the closing credits because of the large number of people required to complete the effects. Has anyone bothered to find out about how much “extra runtime” is actually devoted to CG credits?

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I doubt (hope) that credits are not included in these runtime figures. Theater managers need to know the full end-to-end length, but viewers are concerned with the movie itself. And remember that it wasn’t until… the 60s maybe? that there even was such a thing as closing credits listing every single crew member, much less the “babies born during production” that Pixar includes now.

Watch an old movie and notice that the opening credits list only about two dozen department heads, while the closing credits are only one or two cards for the dramatis personae with speaking roles. (I think the reason those were at the end was so as not to give away the fact that there would be a Wicked Witch or Undercover Nazi Spy or what have you before the movie even started.)

There aren’t any good movies any more.

And the ones out there, they’re so bad they just feel much, much longer.

They definitely include credits - even though people don’t always stay to see who made the film, that information is there for a reason. Also, sometimes end scenes and imagery are included in the credits. Theatres include that time as part of your show. One way TV speeds up the runtime of a movie is by rapidly speeding through the crawl.

Man, I HATE that. Squeeze the credits down to 1/8th the screen height and speed them up 20x, so the channel can show commercials for itself. Sometimes they do it while scenes or outtakes are still going on, so you get to see Distorted Jackie Chan hurt himself in super fast motion while some idiot on voiceover brays about some stupid show that’s not even coming up next.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie on broadcast TV.

Yeah, I know - but that’s why they do it. It’s a cheapie way for them to squeeze out a little more time for commercials without editing the movie itself.

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