SCREEN-L Archives

February 2002, Week 2


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Thu, 7 Feb 2002 16:59:00 -0600
TEXT/PLAIN (42 lines)
Moana Thompson comments:

> I can't be completely scientific in terms of a statistical inquiry as to
> percentages of length increases, but there certainly has been a trend in
> terms of 3 hour lengths for blockbusters in the last few years, and even in
> 3 recent films I saw--Black Hawk Down, In the Bedroom and Gosford Park, all
> of which I believe were 2 hours 20 minutes (and which varied according to
> genre, budget and "prestige  value").  In terms of what accounts for
> it--since at least the seventies, and accelerating in the eighties and
> nineties, the big-budget, high production value blockbuster (often a special
> effects-laden, science fiction film) has driven the marketing  and economic
> strategies of Hollywood.  Gladiator was a new innovation, in terms of a
> reprise of the old blockbuster genre of the fifties--the Roman epic.  Long
> films offer spectacle, and epic scale  (think back to the Godfather cycle)
> and are marketed as 'special-event pictures' thus justifying their often
> unwieldy narrative scale.  The nuances of  very recent contemporary
> increases are yet unclear, and remain to be researched, but compared to the
> Classical Hollywood period (1929-1960) there is a definite change from the
> previously standard 90 minute feature American film.

I don't have specific citations, but there have been articles over the
last couple of decades about the trend in the 1980s-1990s(?) toward
films that could conveniently fit into 2-hour blocks, both to maximize
multiplex scheduling (and concession sales) and to fit 2-hour blocks
for network broadcast with commercial breaks.  I'd suspect that
VARIETY and other trade publications, as well as some journalistic
sources, might comment on the counter-trend (which, if it is not an
abberation, I'd suspect of being fueled by the new prominence of cable
and satellite, as well as of DVDs).

Don Larsson

Donald F. Larsson, English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

To sign off Screen-L, e-mail [log in to unmask] and put SIGNOFF Screen-L
in the message.  Problems?  Contact [log in to unmask]