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If you feel like the time you spend sitting in movie theaters has been getting longer, you're not imagining it — y ou are.
This past holiday, if you went to theaters to see "Les Misérables," "Django Unchained," and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" you spent 492 minutes (537 if you account for an added 45 minutes of trailers and previews). That's nearly nine hours!
We've compared the length of the highest-grossing films and big theatrical releases of the past few years. The findings show we're more inclined to sit in theaters longer today to see the most-anticipated films of the year. And, the trend shows no sign of stopping.
Looking at the average movie length of the ten highest-grossing movies of each year for the past decade, Hollywood blockbuster's have gone from just under two hours to more than 130 minutes in length.
Going back another decade, movies today are 1.2 times longer than they were in 1992. Here are the running times for the five highest-grossing films of '92:
|"Home Alone 2"||120 minutes|
|"Batman Returns"||126 minutes|
|"Lethal Weapon 3"||118 minutes|
|"A Few Good Men"||138 minutes|
And, here are those from 2012:
|"The Dark Knight Rises"||165 minutes|
|"The Hunger Games"||142 minutes|
|" The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2"||115 minutes|
The average of the highest-grossing films from 20 years ago is 118.4 minutes compared to this year's 141.6 minutes. So, why are so many movies today longer? Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers tells The Daily Beast he blames the Oscar season.
“Hollywood studios believe movies are weighed by the pound when it comes to Academy thinking," says Travers. "If it ain’t long, it ain’t winning. Stupid, I know, since The Artist and The King’s Speech weren’t long. But ever since 'Gone With the Wind' and 'Ben-Hur' and 'Lawrence of Arabia,' continuing through 'Titanic,' 'Braveheart,' 'Gladiator,' and 'Lord of the Rings ,' they think Oscar will not take any epic seriously if it’s under two hours.” This year, two of the year's highest-grossing movies are nominated for Oscars ("Skyfall" and "The Hobbit") while three of the longest-running films of the year are nominated for Best Picture ("Django Unchained," "Les Misérables," and "Zero Dark Thirty"). All of this year's Oscar nominees, save one ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), clock in at more than two hours.
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