I was watching some trifling nonsense with a buddy of mine last week that put us on a conversation that I just can't shake. At movie's end, the credits begin to roll and we reflected on the 100 minutes we just spent watching this flick. Then, my buddy poses the question, "What if movies were closer to 45-60 minutes apiece?" It really got me thinking about the viability of such a concept.
The running time for feature-length movies really varies greatly based on a number of circumstances - smaller, low budget horrors can run less than 90 minutes at times, typical comedies hover around 90-95 minutes, action movies tend to get closer to 100-110 minutes or so, and big budget blockbusters can be as long as 150 minutes (longer even sometimes). No matter what the genre or circumstances, though, finding a movie in theaters, Redbox, Netflix, etc. that is 60 minutes or less in running time is nearly impossible (save documentaries).
With the rise in high-quality series-style entertainment via traditional cable and the new-fangled streaming service providers, a case can certainly be made for the 45-minute movie. Series episodes are capable of telling a story in 40-60 minutes of screen time, so the case for movies being twice that length loses the argument of "it takes X minutes to tell a proper story."
I know, anything under an hour technically constitutes a "short film," but you never see them in theaters. Why? Because ticket prices can't justify a mere 45 minutes of entertainment? Why not do double-features then for the price of a ticket? Or do half-price tickets for the 45-minute films and chance taking less revenue in a theater that could just as easily be running the latest Hollywood nonsense?
There is a lot to consider on this subject financially. Would producers be more willing to back short films if they knew that these shorts would be viable for theatrical release? How would films like this impact the industry?