The biggest blockbusters of this summer are big in all ways – with running times of three hours and upwards for some of the most anticipated movies of the year.
The epic Killers of the Flower Moon teams three legends – Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert de Niro and Martin Scorsese. It is so long that the party after its premiere in Cannes last Saturday was actually held on Sunday because it was simply too late to mingle after the screening. The film weighs in at three hours and 26 minutes.
Meanwhile both Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 1 and Oppenheimer – both hotly anticipated – hover around the three hour mark. As does Joaquin Phoenix’s arty epic Beau is Afraid.
Even popcorn crowd pleasers are getting in on the act.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny runs for two hours and 33 minutes, and the forthcoming superhero film The Flash is two hours and 26 minutes long, too – although apparently it is still being tweaked so that could change.
Producers say that the rise of streaming, which has become dominant during the pandemic, means that audiences are likely to be happier to sit through more of a movie.
Indiana Jones producer Kathleen Kennedy said: ‘I will say that the early movies were shorter. They were under two hours and 15 minutes. And we talked about that quite a bit… But as you know, with runtime, it’s all about how you feel, right? So, if you’re sitting in a movie, and it feels long…
‘The reason this is interesting is because long-form storytelling is something that we like in the streaming space. So, I think it might be that it’s some kind of carry over from that. But God knows, this year there were so many three hour-plus movies that I felt I wasn’t getting any work done, trying to see them!’
A case in point is British director Steve McQueen’s docu-film Occupied City which actually runs for four hours and 26 minutes.So which movies have a lot on the clock – and are they worth it?
KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON – 3 hours 26 minutes
Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Killers of the Flower Moon, a movie directed by Martin Scorsese. It will come out in 20 October 2023
Probably the most anticipated film of the Cannes Film Festival, Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of an uncle and nephew – played by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio – plotting to get their hands on the oil wealth which belongs to the Osage people.
Apple TV+ will be streaming the film after a cinema release and put up most of the money. There is talk that it will get them into contention for a Best Picture Oscar – as CODA did in 2022.
The film spent years in development with Scorsese going back to the drawing board after star DiCaprio said that he didn’t want to take on the role of the lawman who solved the murders – but preferred the role of the bad husband instead.
UK RELEASE DATE: 20th October
OPPENHEIMER – 3 hours
The movie follows the story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb
Epic, ambitious telling of the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist and father of the atomic bomb. Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy is Oppenheimer, with Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon also in the cast.
Matt Damon said: ‘It’s three hours. It’s fantastic. Cillian is phenomenal. He’s everything you would want him to be. It goes so fast, it’s great.’ The film is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, behind Tenet, xx and Batman xx.
Talk is that this will be Nolan’s magnum opus. He reputedly asked for – and got – a $100 million production budget, and an equal marketing budget, a cinema run of at least 100 days, 20 percent of the film’s gross, and a three-week period before and after the film’s release in which Universal could not release another new film.
Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt took pay cuts to work on the film, earning $4 million rather than the $10 million plus which they could usually command.
UK RELEASE: JULY 21st
BEAU IS AFRAID – 2 hours 59 minutes
From Ari Aster, the director of Hereditary and Midsommar, this film follows an anxiety-ridden man confronting his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey
This surrealist comedy horror film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, has divided critics – although some believe that his neurotic odyssey will win Phoenix a second Oscar.
The final surreal phase of the film involves animation.
UK RELEASE: MAY 19th
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: DEAD RECKONING PART 1 – 2 hours 45 mins
Part one is scheduled to be released in July. It will see Ethan Hunt and his IMF team track down a dangerous weapon, before it falls into the wrong hands
The first cut for this film, which features blockbusting action sequences to thrill the heart of Tom Cruise’s fans across the globe, came in at 3 hours and 5 minutes.
Bob Bakish, the president of Paramount, said: ‘It’s still too long, they’ve got to cut it. But the movie is insane. It’s like a complete thrill ride. And Tom, he’s very good.’
Cruise reprises his role as Ethan Hunt. The film also has returning cast and characters in Ving Rhames as Luther Stickell, Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, and Rebecca Ferguson as Ila Faust
UK RELEASE: 14th July
INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY – 2 hours 33 minutes
Daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history
Harrison Ford’s very last outing as Indy, and this time he plays a version of the hero who is curmudgeonly and retiring, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge bringing some zing as his sidekick.
Not everyone is convinced that her Fleabag schtick quite belongs in the Jones universe and some critics miss director Steven Spielberg, saying that the movie is ‘sprawling’ and ‘uneven.’
However Ford’s charisma, and the fun of the franchise, will keep fans happy.
UK RELEASE: 28th JUNE
FAST X – 2 hours 21 minutes
Fast X is a sequel to F9, which was released in 2021, and is the tenth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise. The concluding chapter is said to be split into two films
If Indiana divided the critics then Fast X has united them – but not in a good way. One remarked that the film ‘feels like a head injury’.
However this latest instalment in the Fast and Furious Franchise, starring Jason Momoa, a villain dressed ‘like a cross between Prince and the Tiger King’, makes up in length for what it lacks in coherent story.
UK RELEASE: 19th MAY
The EQUALIZER 3 – 2 hours 8 minutes
Since giving up his life as a government assassin Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington, has decided to live in Southern Italy. But he soon discovers his new friends are under the control of local crime bosses
Denzel Washington returns as vigilante Robert McCall, a former US Marine in this final part of The Equalizer franchise – itself a reinvention of the classic 1980s TV series.
It has taken five years for Washington to find the space in his schedule, but parts 1 and 2 were big box office hits.
UK RELEASE: 1st SEPT
TRANSFORMERS RISE OF THE BEASTS – 2 hours seven minutes
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ’90s. It is the planned seventh film in the live-action film series
The seventh Transformers film, this is a prequel to Bumblebee and involves a massive war between the Maximals, the Predacons and the Terrorcons.
It’s directed again by Michael Bay and voices are provided by Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage and Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh.
UK RELEASE: 7th JUNE
MAESTRO – 2 hours 5 minutes.
Bradley Cooper is unrecognizable as composer Leonard Bernstein in Maestro. The drama film directed has been by Bradley Cooper and produced by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Todd Phillips
Bradley Cooper plays the conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein and Carey Mulligan his wife Felicia. Netflix are reportedly seeking to cut it, a little, and there has been controversy over Cooper’s prosthetic nose, with some accusations of ‘Jew-face.’
However reports from early screenings suggest that it’s a tour de force from Cooper and he might get an Oscar nod as a result.
RELEASE DATE UNCONFIRMED