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Curse of the film bloat: Cinema owners in revolt against Hollywood as three-hour movies such as The Hobbit hit profits
Cinemas can experience losses when screening longer film four times a dayThey could otherwise be showing a normal 90-minute film on six occasionsNational Association of Theatre Owners commissions report into problemMeanwhile C4 is blasted for advert over Lord of the Rings ending last night
16:42 GMT, 30 December 2012
While those watching The Hobbit might have felt they got their money’s worth when it came down to the film’s three-hour length, cinemas showing the blockbuster were left feeling a little hard done by.
Now U.S. cinema owners have commissioned a report into losses suffered when screening a longer film four times a day rather than on six occasions, which is standard for a normal 90-minute film.
The National Association of Theatre Owners is concerned that audiences are growing tired of the ‘film bloat’ of Hollywood directors, who could comfortable reduce the length of their longest films.
Long haul: Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is 174 minutes
Alfred Hitchcock – director of Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window, who died in 1980 – famously once said: ‘The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.’
But his comments came in the 1950s, when films averaged 114 minutes – in contrast to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which is 174 minutes, reported the Sunday Times.
Cloud Atlas – a new drama based on a novel by David Mitchell starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, is just three minutes shorter than that, and many other Oscar contenders are more than 150 minutes.
Long epic: Cloud Atlas – a new drama based on a novel by David Mitchell starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry – runs for 171 minutes, and many other Oscar contenders are more than 150 minutes
One executive at the AMC (American Multi-Cinema) chain told the Sunday Times that he blamed Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron for ‘creating long “event” movies you had to see’.
length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the
Alfred Hitchcock, late director
Some of the longest films in decades gone by on the big screen would come with an interval – and cinemas would often take that as a chance to sell food and drink to viewers, experts said.
Famous long films from the past include 1963 classic Cleopatra, which ran for 242 minutes, the 229-minute Once Upon a Time in America from 1984 and 1962's 222-minute Lawrence of Arabia.
Also among the longest films are Dr. Zhivago from 1965, which ran for 203 minutes, 1974's The Godfather Part II, which lasted 200 minutes, and the 195-minute Schindler's List from 1993.
CHANNEL 4 BLASTED FOR ADVERT DURING LORD OF THE RINGS ENDING
Channel 4 apologised today after coming under fire from Lord of the Rings fans for interrupting an emotional final scene from the last film in the trilogy with an advert for an upcoming programme.
There was fury last night when a half-screen advert with a voiceover came on as Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) walked with Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) at the end of the 2003 film Return of the King.
The advert was for 2010 film Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe, being shown on New Year's Day, and there was also a short trailer for 2011 film Wuthering Heights, which followed the programme.
Tony McMahon said on Twitter: 'A new low in intrusive continuity announcing – Channel 4 makes an announcement during the closing scene of Lord of the Rings.'
And David Smith wrote: 'Well done, Channel 4. Well done. You just half-screened and talked over the last few seconds of nine hours of Lord of the Rings. Cretins.'
A Channel 4 spokesman told MailOnline tonight: 'We take great care to ensure that continuity announcements are scheduled appropriately.
'But on this occasion a technical problem meant the announcement was broadcast earlier than planned. We’re sorry if it affected viewers’ enjoyment of the film.'
Upset caused: There was fury on Twitter when a half-screen advert with a voiceover came on as Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) walked with Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) at the end of the 2003 film Return of the King