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Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by terry78, Feb 5, 2013.
I think it is a matter of people feeling they are getting more of their money's worth with how high ticket prices are now. If somebody is paying $15 a ticket, they want more than 90 minutes of entertainment out of it. They want something where they can put in the whole afternoon or evening.
Shorter movies are still being made. People just aren't going to them as much.
We're also getting a whole lot of adaptations, not that there haven't always been adaptations, but modern audiences often demand more fidelity to the source material. This eats up a lot of screen time. Hell, now we get films of fractions of books.
I had this thought watching The Hobbit. It would have made just as much money if it had been a two-hour movie instead of a three-hour one, in fact more if it had cost less therefore, but for some reason the expectation is that it be three hours long because the LOTR movies were, despite the fact that Jackson had to invent an extra hours worth of stuff to happen.
If the reason is the Oscars, they're a bit woefully misguided if that is why they are making genre films 2 and a half hours long--those movies aren't going to win an Oscar because, well, they're genre films.
Yeah, that is partly our doing with the adaptations. Any comic book movies have to, by law be at least 2 and a half hours long or we boycott.
Geez, for years I've joked that the longer the film the more Oscar worthy it is. Guess there was some truth in that observation.
Unfortunately length has no effect on quality. A movie can be incredibly long or short, it doesn't matter as long as it's good. Beasts of the Southern Wild was excellent, but much shorter than many of the other films this year. One of my favorite films in recent memory was The Ides of March, which clocked in at barely 100 minutes including credits. And then one of my favorite films ever is the directors cut of Kingdom of Heaven.. which. Is long.
This one gets it.
Unless you're doing something like Ben Hur, over three hours does get a little indulgent unless you're doing a straight adaptation like Snyder did with Watchmen. I got why it needed to be that long.
1 page = 1 minute
I have no idea what's causing it. I think it's just something in the air. My latest script that's been catching on is 120 pages. I thought it would be shorter, but in fact it might turn out longer minute wise and pages could still be added. This thing can't be cut down that's how tight it is. It wasn't thinking longer equals quality or Oscar noms, just complexity explored. If it could be shorter, it would be shorter.
I'd also say the same goes for many of these movies. In fact some of them I'd say could be longer. TDKR comes to mind here. So I think part of the reason is, whatever's in the invisible creative web that's always flowing around - complexity is in the air.
Also doing a take on a kid's cartoon adaptation and that's coming out to be 120+ in the end EASILY. And the thing is, similarly this thing is freaking TIGHT! It just has a complex 'Star Wars' level of mythology that I think the film should remain true to.
Interestingly I also recently doctored a shelved script that's ten years old for a company and it's the shortest script I've ever written at 97 pages. It could be longer minute-wise, but pages are basically set. It's just as tight and entertaining. It's just simpler in a sense. Perhaps that could be because of a time when films were shorter that if this thing went too long it'd lose its appeal.
Basically, I just think its the times and whatever is flowing around. Scripts are just as tight as they were in the past. Just something in the air is causing writers to want to explore more complexities which is extending the run times. I forgot what Stephen King called this invisible energy in 'Christine' but that seems to be the case here.
Films are the same. Just writers are exploring more complexities and grander stories because of what we are able to do and achieve now on a "new" scale. And because people have come to expect more complexities as well. These films were a couple in the past, but recently a lot of films can reach that level thus changing scope.
But the thing is a simpler story is just as good as a complex story. One can be better than the other. It all still comes down to the writing.
Although long, and sort of rambling, it might provide some insight into how other writers are thinking and why these projects are becoming longer. Largely, I think it's just unconscious along with that invisible web of interlocking thoughts whatever causes that.
I'm all for a film being long if the director can keep me engaged. Heat is my favorite film of all time, which clocks in at almost three hours, yet Michael Mann kept my hooked and invested that whole time.
A good example of a film that suffered for its running time would be Prince of the City. A very good film, but Sidney Lumet drags the third act out much longer then it needed to be, and by the time the three hours was up I had been ready for it to end a half hour ago.
Damn!! That's one good thing about not living in a big city...
I'd say a PERFECT example of a movie that goes on far too long is 'GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO' - the main story wrapped up and yet it continued and continued for about fifteen to twenty minutes after the story was complete just to remain true to the source material it seems. It was definitvely indulgent. Kind of something I learned from as a writer to never make a move like that.
Actually, fans of the book would've been upset if the "second ending" wasn't included because it was a big part of the book. That whole plot was explored much more in the book. I actually think they should have cut the 5 minute S&M credit sequence and used that time to keep up the story of the second ending, keep it on the audiences radar.
As for the subject of the thread, I really think it's the directors having too much power. Look at a lot of those movies, they're sequels or from directors that are proven money makers, so the studio doesn't put demands on them. The Dark Knight Rises, 5 Year Engagement and The Hobbit are three movies that could have easily cut 15-20 minutes of fat, but they were done by people that the studio will not rein in anymore since they're so successful.
Well, while it might have been for "the fans of the book" - it didn't do anything for the general public and made the film drag on. It should have been something saved for an extended cut or something along those lines. When it comes to pacing you should always keep the general audience in mind first rather than just fans of the book.
Perhaps it was just the way the script was written and the foreign language version did it in a much better way - I'm unsure - but in the remake it just made it drag on unnecessarily long.
I liked Fincher choice...so it did make something to the general public . To me. I cant speak about anyone else. I'm not a big fan of the movie , but i certainly don't think it dragged on.
As for movies getting longer , funny considering my favorites ones this year are all short of 2 hours. But reading the article i think the question iswhy successful movies are getting longer. I have no idea.
The quote from Travers is off because it is only focused on Oscar winners which, as he says, have always favored longer "epics." Blockbusters started getting long because of LOTR and, to a lesser extent, Harry Potter. Those films showed audiences would eat up 3-hour epics. And if you know your built-in audience is ravenous enough for the material, why not make it long? Instead of losing screenings per day, theaters will react by demand and put it on as many screens as possible...thereby driving out the competition.
Of course while I think such bloated length was necessary for LOTR, when it happens to fluff like Transformers or Pirates or, yes, The Hobbit, it has become very detrimental to popcorn films. Just my thought.
TDKR really needed an extra 15-20 minutes to properly tell its story. That's one of the few long movies I've ever seen that honestly felt too short.
I havent read the books, but I enjoyed the second ending. I liked it much better than the way the swedish film ended.
The only film that ive watched lately that I feel is entirely too long is The Hobbit. Could have lost 20-30 minutes.
It really needed to be longer.
And guess GWTDT is up in the air then or mixed. Everyone I've talked to, even with someone who's read and liked the book, said that it went on too long. While others here seem to didn't think so.
This. Also, what are you writing? I know the feeling as well, I'm writing a series of Batman scripts that I planned as a trilogy but I split the last into two scripts because just the first half is 187 pages.