Dune director Denis Villeneuve calls for more 3-hour movies; not interested in dialogue

Dune: Part Two director Denis Villeneuve is championing 3-hour movies, saying younger audiences love them.

Denis Villeneuve

Ah, yes, the age-old question: Are movies too long? Actually, it’s a far more modern concept to ponder. Sure, epic films have been a staple of Hollywood since the silent days, but it does feel like movies have in fact gotten longer (and most studies support this). But from the perspective of Dune director Denis Villeneuve, audiences crave longer films, so why not make more?

Speaking with The Times, Villeneuve – whose Dune: Part Two clocks in at just under two hours and 50 minutes, while the 2021 “original” was 155 minutes – cited Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which, at 180 minutes, is well on its way to being one of the longest Best Picture winners ever. Putting it into perspective and analyzing modern crowds, he said, “It is a three-hour, rated-R movie about nuclear physics that is mostly talking. But the public was young — that was the movie of the year by far for my kids. 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.”

Last year, we asked our readers what they thought about modern movie lengths, with many of you encouraging longer movies provided the story justifies it. That’s part of what Villeneueve is saying here; and while “meaningful content” is subjective, there are billions of dollars worth of numbers to back it up. Take a look at the top 10 all-time highest-grossing movies worldwide and what do you notice? Sure, there are a lot of franchise movies, but something else in common is their length, with the vast majority around two and a half to three+ hours. And no, they didn’t need intermissions

But Villeneuve doesn’t exactly want to be inspired by Oppenheimer, at least when it comes to dialogue, suggesting it can spoil a movie. “I don’t remember movies because of a good line, I remember movies because of a strong image. I’m not interested in dialogue at all. Pure image and sound, that is the power of cinema, but it is something not obvious when you watch movies today. Movies have been corrupted by television.” So, yes, he would make a completely silent Dune Messiah…But would you see it?

Do you agree with Denis Villeneuve that audiences “love” long movies? Does a film’s length play a factor in whether you see it in theaters or not? Share your thoughts below.

Source: The Times

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with JoBlo.com 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.