New study finds 92 minutes is the ideal movie runtime

A new study points to the majority of movie fans pinning the ideal runtime at just over 90 minutes, a far cry from most box office champs.

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

movie runtimes

Picture your Saturday night: popcorn is popped, drink is poured, blanket is warm, and you’re just about to put on a movie you’ve been wanting to see for months…and it’s two and a half hours long. Is the night ruined? For some of us, that length – despite a secured growth over the years – is just too long. So, what is the ideal runtime for a movie? According to one study, it’s a brisk 92 minutes.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by Talker Research, 92 minutes was deemed the ideal length for a movie’s runtime. Now, think about it: when is the last time you saw a movie that hit that mark? They’re there, of course, but they are increasingly rare. If we look at the top five higest-grossing movies of last year, The Super Mario Bros. Movie actually hits the mark precisely, while only Barbie was under two hours. Now check out the top 10 highest-grossing movies ever: not a single one sits below the two hour mark, something only 15% of those polled would even want to sit through in the first place.

Regarding these excessive movie runtimes– some of which have been at the center of debate over intermissions – only two percent of people think that movies should be longer than two and a half hours. Adding to this, nearly a quarter of those polled say they have reluctantly sat through at least three movies within the past two months that they felt were too long.

Now, “too long” is entirely subjective and could be for a number of reasons: there’s a sluggish pace, there are too many characters, etc. But runtimes for movies have gotten longer. Yes, Hollywood has always had a love for the grand epics, but anymore, it does seem like movies are long just for the sake of it. Of course, every point has its counterpoint, with Dune director Denis Villeneueve calling for more three-plus-hour-long pictures, saying, “There is a trend. The youth love to watch long movies because if they pay, they want to see something substantial. They are craving meaningful content.” (Notably, Villeneuve’s past three movies have all been over two and a half hours long…)

92 minutes is something of a treat nowadays and is increasingly rare to find at the box office. Taking a look at the rest of the month, most of the biggest releases are nowhere near that mark unless they’re in the horror genre: The Fall Guy (126 mins.), Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (145 mins.), Furiosa (148 mins.)…There’s certainly nothing wrong with a movie runtime of 92 minutes, but don’t expect to be seeing this become a trend ever again.

What is the ideal movie length for you? What do you think the poll revealed? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Talker News

About the Author

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.