Movies: Running Time

This article in Variety talks about how a longer-than-average running time for a movie can sometimes work against it when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing (and yes, word of mouth is a kind of marketing, the best kind because it doesn't have to be paid for by the studios, and also the worst kind because the studios cannot ensure it will go in their favor).

I think the key point in the article is that movies whose reviews are already middling to bad tend to punch up the whole "and it's also too long!" argument. However, a really good movie can be long (the article mentions The Dark Knight Rises, which I haven't seen yet, but I know it was pretty well received) with very little grumbling about the running time. There's no great amount of logic required to figure this one out. After all, you may want more of a good thing, but no one asks for more of something they're not enjoying.

Some of my e-books are really e-stories, and even though the estimated page count is available right there on the download page, I still get people who review the books and say they're too short. I suppose I should be flattered they want more and grateful they aren't saying my 30- and 60-page publishings are too long. And since they continue to sell well, I'll labor under the assumption word of mouth is working for me.

I don't suppose there are very many films that get called "too short" though. If it's really good and people want more, they don't immediately wish for more of that particular movie so much as for a sequel—basically, no one says, "It should have been four hours long!" They instead say, "Let's have another two-hour installment!" Because let's be honest, after one of those huge sodas in the cinema? No one wants to (few are even able to) sit for that long.

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