Why Are Movies Getting So Long?

Why Are Movies Getting So Long?

Our attention spans may be getting shorter, but that hasn't stopped our movies from getting longer
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As anyone who’s ever tried to introduce someone to a classic movie can attest, a large portion of today’s moviegoers think old movies are too slow to be interesting. Yet if modern audiences want a story to get to the point faster, we’ve grown oddly patient with increasingly long movies.

Take the most recent "Transformers," which somehow boasts a run time of two hours and 45 minutes, despite the fact that it’s based on a toy line and primarily exists to sell cars and energy drinks. Of the superhero movies that have dominated the box office for the past several years, most of them clock in at around 2.5 hours, which seems to have become Hollywood’s target run time for blockbusters. That’s not even counting the extended editions many of these movies receive, like the recently released 3-hour cut of "Batman v Superman."

Looking over the successful films of the past, an approximate run time of two hours is typical. Through the 1950s and ‘60s, however, epics became a Hollywood staple, often featuring run times of three to four hours. As epics faded from popularity, the standard two hours became prominent again. Comparing the 10 highest grossing films of each decade, the 1960s has an average run time of two hours and 48 minutes, while the average of the ‘70s and ‘80s is around two hours.

Since the turn of the century, however, longer films have been making a comeback. The ten highest grossing movies of the 2000s have an average run time of around 2.5 hours, a trend that has continued through the present decade so far.

One possible explanation for the growing run times of today’s blockbusters ties into another recent trend: adaptations. It’s no secret that the majority of recent blockbusters have been adapted from existing source material. Although they’ve grown even more common in recent years, high-profile adaptations have always been reliable money-makers for Hollywood.

Among the top-grossing films of past decades, many of the longest films are adaptations, typically of stage productions (like "The Sound of Music," which is about three hours long) and novels (such as ‘Ben-Hur,’ which is over 3.5 hours long). Other media, like literature and stage plays, often feature narratives much longer than those in the typical two-hour movie, and therefore adaptations may require longer run times to tell the story. While audiences had apparently preferred 2-hour run times for decades, the success of lengthy, high-profile adaptations in the early 2000s like the "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" franchises may have proved that droves of moviegoers would happily to sit through longer films

The increase in longer, more expensive films also has a great deal to do with Hollywood’s fear of competition. As television made entertainment readily available to home viewers in the 1950s, producers in Hollywood realized that the movie-going experience had to offer something television couldn’t compete with. Major releases of the era became increasingly focused on special effects and gimmicks, and elaborate multi-hour epics dominated the box office.

The situation Hollywood is faced with today is surprisingly comparable to the dilemma it once dealt with in the 1950s. Not only have video games taken off as one of the main forms of entertainment, television is a bigger threat than ever, now boasting the A-list talent and high production values Hollywood had once monopolized. If that wasn’t enough, online streaming offers even more convenience and variety for viewers. Longer films with bigger budgets are a sign of Hollywood’s desperation to maintain its place in the entertainment world.

It seems strange that run times are growing longer in a time where we’re constantly being told that our attention spans are growing shorter. One study from last year reportedly found that human attention spans are now shorter than those of goldfish, the culprit determined to be our increased use of technology. However, short attention spans don’t necessarily mean we’ve lost patience for long movies, but rather for slow movies.

We can remain immersed in a film’s story just as long as the audiences of the 1950s (we don’t even need an intermission, either), but only if the events unfold at a breakneck pace. So while modern blockbusters are becoming more like the epics of Old Hollywood, they’ve also become a different product entirely.

None of this is to say that longer movies are necessarily bad, especially now that movie theaters have leather recliners and we can check our phones every five minutes.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
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We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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12 Classics That All College Students Should Read

Reading is important — yet many people forget about books.

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These are the classics that I think all college students should read.

1. "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

This classic by J.D. Salinger is a staple for many high school kids. Yet, I believe college students should revisit this novel, as it's a great portrayal of adolescence.

2. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Love him or hate him, Jay Gatsby is one of literature's most recognizable characters. "The Great Gatsby" is a tragic story of a man stuck in the past, and a grim warning of the empty happiness money buys.

3. "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells was far beyond his time. His novel, "The Time Machine," explores what would happen if time-travelling could happen. It's both an evocative and frightening tale, full of important philosophical questions.

4. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde 

This novel is about the degradation of Dorian Gray, and his descent into depravity. It showcases one of the greatest character declines in literature. By the end, Dorian Gray finds his life to be empty, his hedonistic lifestyle pointless.

5. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami 

Haruki Murakami is famous for his surreal novels. "Norwegian Wood" follows a college student in Japan, as he navigates life after a tragedy. It's both beautiful yet melancholy. If nothing else, it'll get you listening to the Beatles' Norwegian Wood.

6. "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte 

I consider "Jane Eyre" to be one of the first feminist novels. It's a fantastic Gothic novel about an independent and strong woman — Jane Eyre — who meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester. It's more than a romance — it's a commentary on Victorian societal expectations of women, with Jane representing objection to it.

7. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This novel is a beautiful story about a girl in Nazi Germany. Liesel Meminger knows the importance of books, and uses her knowledge and kindness to save a Jewish refugee. It's a poignant novel that expresses the importance of literature and books.

8. Any Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

If you've watched the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch, then you should definitely give the novels a go. The mysteries are exciting and intriguing, despite their old age.

9. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

This is one of my absolute favorites novels. It follows a young boy named Pip, who befriends a beggar, meets the depraved Miss Havisham, and falls in love with unattainable Estella. This novel is at once a bildungsroman and a tragedy.

10.  "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov 

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nobokov follows the perspective of Humbert Humbert, a depraved man who falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita. Nobokov showcases his mastery of the English language, while writing a depraved and tragic story following two terrible people.

11.  "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

Perhaps one of the most famous novels of all time, "Pride and Prejudice" stands the test of time by showing how two outwardly opposite and contrary people can come together and form an amazing love. It's about accepting one's flaws and getting to know people beyond surface level.

12.  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque

This is a fantastic novel that depicts the absolute horrors of war, particularly World War I. If this doesn't enlighten you about the realities and horrors of war, then no book will.

Reading is important as it broadens one's horizon. Literature is one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

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