how long does it last?
That’s the question about James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the sci-fi epic that opens Dec. 18 that has been hotly debated for months, with speculation running rampant that it would last more than three hours.
In fact, it will be well below that, at least in part to meet the limits imposed by imax technology.
Actual running time will be 150 minutes, which is two and a half hours, according to Bruce Snyder, president of national distribution for 20th Century Fox, which is handling the film’s release. he said it can go up to 156 minutes when all the credits are added, but that would be the maximum running time.
That will allow for two showings each night in theaters, most likely at 7 p.m. m. and 10 p.m. m. that would also mean about three daytime performances, starting at 10am. m., for a total of five performances per day in each auditorium. Typically, a theater operator needs a half hour between shows with the lights on to get people out and clean the auditorium, and then another 20 minutes with the lights off for trailers, theater publicity, and other promotions and announcements.
“Avatar” will start with midnight screenings and play 24 hours at first, but that is expected to be the case for the first few days only, after which it will play a normal pattern of runs.
It’s unclear exactly how many theaters “Avatar” will open in, but Snyder estimates it will play in 3D at about 2,500 locations on about 3,500 screens. It will also be available in 1,500 other locations in 2D, where it could be played on multiple screens in each theater complex. That would indicate an opening at a minimum of 5,500 screens and possibly much more, and that’s just in the US. uu. It will also be released in theaters in countries around the world.
Stories have been circulating that “Avatar” would be over three hours long, which is understandable since Cameron’s movies have been long in the past. his last narrative feature film was “titanic” in 1997, which lasted 194 minutes, or three hours and 14 minutes.
cameron has said that one of the limitations in his decision on the runtime was the imax runs. “Avatar” will be released day and night in 3D in some 180 national imax theaters (which are included in the 2,500 locations) and several dozen more internationally. In those theaters that are not yet converted to digital projection, they are limited to two of the giant plates that hold the film, limiting the length of a film using the system to 170 minutes, which thus became the maximum length that Cameron was willing to let “avatar” run. in fact, it fell far short of that with its final edition.
imax hasn’t scheduled another movie on its circuit until the first week of March, in anticipation of a historically long run for “avatar.” most movies play about three weeks in imax. if it is as successful as anticipated, “avatar” is expected to run for about ten weeks. That would break the record for an IMAX run set last year by the “Dark Knight,” which lasted 10 weeks.
National movie theaters are expected to commit to an initial eight-week showing for “avatar,” but ultimately that will depend on its performance. if it’s disappointing, that could be shortened, and if it becomes as popular as “titanic” once was, it could play even longer. Snyder declined to comment on the terms being solicited, but it is understood that Fox is seeking “premium” terms from exhibitors for what is one of the most anticipated films in years.
fox has confirmed that the film cost at least 230 million dollars, but there have been reports that it is much more than that. Fox is also expected to spend up to $100 million to advertise, market and promote “Avatar” worldwide, and through partnerships with Panasonic (which is using it to launch its new line of 3D TVs) and licensees such as Mattell ( toys) and ubisoft’s video games, which will generate millions more in ancillary marketing.