One hour is 60 minutes. Two hours is 120 minutes. Three hours is too many minutes, for a movie, in one sitting. An item from @MCU_Tweets, a granular source of Marvel Cinematic Universe news via the infotainment superhighway, informed us today that Avengers Endgame, the next installment in the Marvel Comic-Book Movie Universe, may feature a total cessation of activity in the middle of the film. An intermission!
This is a welcome development/de-evolution in moviegoing to a see a movie in a movie theater. We recall attending a 70-mm restoration/revival screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, which clocked in at over three hours, and seeing through the scrim the phrase ENTRE’ACT on the screen as the soundtrack played during Intermission. Classy! Also, many middle-aged and or tiny bladders would add, which way is the restroom?
Avengers: Infinity War (2018), precedes Avengers: Endgame and was an infinite-seeming two hours, 40 minutes, so that is how we’re going to define long in terms of recent long-ass movies: Nymphomaniac (both of ’em), The Hobbit (all three of ’em), The Wolf of Wall Street, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Boyhood, Interstellar, Transformers: Age of Extinction (we didn’t say good, we said long), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hateful Eight, and the endurance test of Blade Runner 2049.
Back in 2007 we saw Grindhouse (3 h 11 min), and got excited about the Intermission until we realized it contained CONTENT, dammit, we were trapped! We went to full-length Lawrence of Arabia (3h 36 min) at the Brattle Theater in Boston a million lifetimes ago and used the intermission to go to Store 24 and buy COLD LEMONADE. How great is Intermission?
Which brings us to a connected annoyance! We go to a lot of movies and pretty much always get a popcorn and a drink, sometimes a Coke, and then we sit in the theater and watch commercials, trailers for coming attractions, and an admonishment to stop using our phone. Invariably within all that preliminary information is a spot promoting patronage of the snack bar for candy, popcorn, and an icy cold Coke. Why are you showing that to us now? We already bought our snacks! This type of ad is a remnant of ye olde days when there was an intermission between features, and the idea was to compel you to go on out to the lobby and purchase something.
If certain overly-long movies have intermission then this will all make sense, and maybe theaters can sell less-than-bucket-sized refreshments if you know you get a second round, as opposed to selling giant-sized buckets with the poorly-engineered incentive of interrupting your movie viewing to go and get a free refill.
INTERMISSION is a way for Movies to distinguish themselves from the blur of undifferentiated premium and semipremium streaming content, much in the way the theaters themselves have taken to constant comfort enhancements such as larger reclining seats, reserved seating, and even at certain theaters, food and drink brought directly to your seat, which can be revolting, people eating full dinners. The one thing the theater cannot do is provide the attendees with a way to empty their bladders in the middle of a 3-plus hours filmed entertainment without leaving their seats. Yes, we saw Idiocracy, and nobody wants that going on next to them, especially during a flick like A Quiet Place.