What's the minimum running time for a feature-length film? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old February 4th, 2007, 10:52 AM   #16
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84 minutes
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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #17
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Oh yeah? Well, I'm sticking with 65m.
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Old February 5th, 2007, 10:56 AM   #18
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87 minutes, 12 seconds and four frames...

I think this thread has pretty much illustrated that there's no FIXED answer. It depends on who's asking.
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Old February 7th, 2007, 01:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
87 minutes, 12 seconds and four frames...

Now that's funny!

I'm convinced - it's 87 minutes, 12 seconds and 4 frames.

Period. Forever. Sticky this.

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Old February 7th, 2007, 04:49 PM   #20
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Once I'm done trimming and adding F/X to my film, I hope the official running time is around 85-87 minutes! I'm still convinced the official running time is around 72 minutes or so.

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Old February 20th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #21
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70 minutes

That is the official requirement for a feature length film at Sundance and quite a number of other festivals. I've heard 70 mins a number of times in the past also. I'm thinking the logic being: it is over a hour, yet short enough that it would cost less money to get it done. Perfect for indie movies.

Personaly, I would rather watch a dynamite 70 min feature to an okay 80 or 90 min feature.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines Feature length as anything over 40 minutes.

Actually, just check this out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_film
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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #22
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Like I said, depends on who you're asking and what their particular needs are. SAG says 80 minutes. That's what they will base their pay and compensation rate on. WGA says a feature script is80 -120 pages, at a page a minute

Different film festival will have different definitions for 'feature'.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #23
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Speaking of page-per-minute, despite knowing my film is all dialogue, I thought the 105 page script would've been at least 95 minutes. I was stunned when it came in, with most of the titles intact and about 3-4 minutes still to cut out (LOOOONG scene), at 83 minutes!

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Old February 20th, 2007, 04:38 PM   #24
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Yeah, it's just a guideline. It is more accurate when you have a good mix of dialogue and action. If the script is all one or the other, it will skew it a bit.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #25
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I agree, Richard, but of all the shorts and features I've been involved with, this one skewed more than I ever thought possible! I wonder if KICKING AND SCREAMING (Noah Baumbach) had a longer script, page-wise, than it ended up being, despite the scenes cut out?

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Old October 3rd, 2007, 01:34 AM   #26
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here is the running time answer.

Hi Everyone,

So regarding feature and short films running time. Well if you have a film that is shorter than 40 minutes, than it's a short film. if it's over 40 minutes, it can and most will be, considered a feature film.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,[1] the American Film Institute,[2] and the British Film Institute[3] all define a feature as a film with a running time of 40 minutes or longer.

The "Centre national de la cinématographie" in France defines it as a 35mm film which is longer than 1,600 metres, which comes out to exactly 58 minutes and 29 seconds for sound films, and the Screen Actors Guild gives a minimum running time of 80 minutes.[4] Usually a feature film is between 90 and 210 minutes; a children's film is usually between 60 and 120 minutes[citation needed]. An anthology film is a fixed sequence of short subjects with a common theme, combined into a feature film.
The term evolved from the days when the cinema-goer would watch a series of short subjects before the main film. The shorts would typically include newsreels, serials, animated cartoons and live-action comedies and documentaries. These types of short films would lead up to what came to be called the "featured presentation": the film given the most prominent billing and running multiple reels.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 01:54 AM   #27
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Animated films are considered feature and are often quite short. It gets blurry there.

Consider early Disney animated films, or, for example, a good border example, The Nightmare Before Christmas at 76minutes.

90 minutes is standard, obviously, so around 90 is right.

But the bottom line is hard to say.

40 minute is way too short to be an official cutoff where anything over that is a feature, but it might be a good minimum line.

I think the ultimate definition is very simple: a feature film is one that can be featured in front of an audience in a marketable performance as a stand alone.

In fact, Grindhouse creates a weird example. Double feature, perhaps, but, really, would that mean they were both shorts? Each was over an hour, correct?
So...


I'd say it is just that... anything that will hold an audience's attention for an evening, etc.

Standalone sufficient event to draw the audience to pay the full price for a film (in most cases).... or, considering the independent world, something imitating this. (And so it gets more vague.)
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 08:47 AM   #28
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I believe it's 72 minutes; the more I research, that's the number that comes up.

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Old October 3rd, 2007, 04:44 PM   #29
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And if a great "short" at running time 71:35 were to pop up and be played in major theatres internationally and draw in audiences to pay full ticket prices.... then... still a short?

I think any numbers are just guidelines or rules *but only of companies* for what they will consider a feature. Film festivals must decide, the awards groups must decide, and so must distributors. But just like a language, it's something that changes based on culture and popularity and can't be defined with a specific number.

Paramount (arbitrary company) may only accept 72 minutes plus, but I can guarantee they'd love to release a 71 minute feature that will be popular and sell out theatres.


To use an analogy-- this is just like the "official widescreen" aspect ratio. What is it? 16:9? 2.35:1? 4:3? 3:1? Circular?
Early films were basically square (not sure on the exact dimensions), and in some cases even used vignetting to create strange shapes, at least for some scenes, such as circles. In order to make a BIG experience to attract viewers once TVs came out, they started to make wider and wider screens. And now there's 2.35:1 for the BIG pictures. But the smaller ones use a more standard format, depending on the country of origin.


It was said that the max is 120, so the minimum is 72? Just like the max, then, can that be broken? Star Wars, Titanic, Harry Potter and LOTR all were well over 2 hours and this causes scheduling issues for theatres. But you didn't see any theatres refusing to play these. Why? Supply and demand. It's how the film industry works.

If you can break the rules well enough not only will they cease to apply but you may even change them.


But of course I'd agree that 72 minutes is a good guideline for a feature film that you want to have released.


I think a more accurate representation of this would be the average length and standard deviations (for those who want to deal with a bit of math).

Basically, that means that about 100* minutes is the average, and 85 to 120 is standard. Anything outside that range becomes rare and an exception, though by no means explicitly disallowed. 75 minutes and 135 become infrequent though not unheard of, and 70 / 160 are quite rare. Then there are weird exceptions perhaps 50 minutes and 300 minutes (though I don't know if any of these actually exist, but it's irrelevant as this is a possibility.)

(*These numbers are approximations based on quick guesses, so this is an example, and perhaps we can calculate the real numbers to get a better idea.)


EDIT: I looked through listings on imdb, and it's difficult to decide exactly what to count for this, but here's a simple example:
http://us.imdb.com/Sections/Years/2007/top-grossing
10 movies of lengths: 129, 100, 87, 110, 112, 138, 168, 144, 92, 140. Average: 122.
So, clearly the "120 minute max" is thrown out.
However, if you want to discount the epic films (POTC 3, Spidey 3, HP 5, and [arguably] Transformers), then numbers are lower and the average is 105.
Of just those, we can approximate some rough ends to the average spectrum [this being a select portion of the 'population' of data], at 87 and 168 minutes (though 168 is extremely long and movies shorter than 87 minutes exist but just weren't in the top ten [something else to consider]).


Is a feature still a feature if released only on TV? Just festivals? Not at all? Does a short become a feature if it's popular in theatres?


Anyway, it's a fluctuating business, and rigid rules can't apply. Averages sure can, though.

Personally I don't like seeing rules as limits, and I'm not scared to break them if it will be effective. Most big success stories in film can relate to this, too. (And, sure, plenty of failures too.)


Few individuals/companies in this industry would hesitate to break a rule if it made them money. Doesn't mean it's easy to break the rules effectively, though.

Last edited by Daniel Ross; October 3rd, 2007 at 05:21 PM.
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Old October 3rd, 2007, 06:00 PM   #30
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Out of curiousity, I followed Daniels lead and started picking years and Academy Award Winners on IMDB.com and checking for length. I was surprised to find how many exceeded 120 mins...even in earlier years like 1957 for instance. But perhaps thats a self selecting limitation. The shorter 'B' movies wouldn't be in the awards listings.

From this we may infer that the award winners tend longer... except for comedies.

And I couldn't find one for 72 minutes at all.
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