A survey reveals what the ideal length of a film is

A survey reveals what the ideal length of a film is

What do A Bout de souffle, The Lion King, Gravity, and Les Bronzés sont du Ski have in common? Their “perfect” length, exactly 92 minutes.

Since the golden age of Hollywood cinema, certain films have exceeded three hours on screen. For example, Cleopatra released in 1963 reached 4h11Once upon a time in America by Sergio Leone is around 3h49 and Dancing with the wolves by Kevin Costner has 3h56 of show. Recently, spectators continue to feel that new releases at the cinema drag on forever – in the same way asOppenheimer which is close to 180 minutes.

A study was therefore commissioned in April to TalkerResearch about this question. Questioning 2,000 Americans about their tastes in cinema, she demonstrated that the ideal length of a film would be 92 minutes – or 1 hour 32 minutes. Monster Co., Beetlejuice and Toy Story 2 have, according to these results, the duration “perfect”.

Of those surveyed, only 15% said a two-hour movie was okay. Only 2% say they are happy when a film lasts more than 2h30.

So are the movies really “too much” long? The last Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon lasts 3 hours 26 minutes, and some viewers have complained. The distinguished director defended himself without delay:

“People complain that they last three hours, but anyway: you can all sit in front of the TV to watch a series for five hours (…) Respect the cinema.”

Scorsese doesn't want to hear complaints about Killers of the Flower Moon's length

For Alexander Payne, director of Winter Break – which lasts 2h14, which is still far too long for the group of 2000 respondents – “There are too many films that are way too long these days.” According to him, feature films should be as short as possible. If the film is three hours long, there should be a shorter version.

Although this is only a small sample compared to all spectators on American soil or around the world, it nevertheless raises a recent debate on the ideal length of a film. How to explain such a result? The influence of streaming which has changed our cinema consumption? Social networks which, according to certain studies, have an impact on our attention span? If concrete explanations are lacking, the result of the survey opposes the current trend.

At the box office, the biggest recent successes have been fairly long films. In second place on the podium we find Avengers: Endgame with three hours of screen time, followed by Avatar 2: The Way of Water which lasts 3h12 in total. Long films are a guarantee of great spectacle. Denis Villeneuve, the director of the latest Dune, thus considers that young people appreciate longer works at the cinema more, because they have the impression of getting value for their money. An argument that can be defended?

But then is it really the duration that poses a problem? After the release of the study, on social networks, Internet users are more nuanced. Variables come into play, notably the genre of the film: a comedy should not exceed 92 minutes for them, while a biopic can afford to last 2h30. The duration depends on the story to be told, a historical fresco being logically more extensive than a program intended for children.

For a journalist from the opinion section of the British media The Guardianthe duration does not change anything in a film because some long stories can seem short, and vice versa: “I sat and watched long films that seemed short, and short films that seemed endless.”

Also, Kevin Costner and his upcoming three-hour film, Horizon: An American Saga, presented at the Cannes Film Festival, has no need to worry about the reception of spectators. Because as Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz said: “There are no short or long films, there is only cinema.”

Similar Posts