Avatar: The Way of Water has a running time of over three hours – is it too much?


Avatar: The Way of Water is set to have a run time of over three hours and ten minutes, a source has told The Hollywood Reporter.

And at a first glance, it certainly seems like a pattern is emerging: Avengers: Endgame, which was released in April 2019, had a run time of three hours and 2 minutes, Drive My Car, which won winning Best International Feature Film at the Oscars, and won Best Screenplay at Cannes in 2021, had a run time of two hours and 58 minutes and Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which was released in March, ran two hours and 55 minutes.

While The Hollywood Reporter has described the long run time, which is yet to be confirmed by Disney, as being “befitting of the 13-year wait for the sequel”, questions are being raised about the necessity of these super-long films.

After all, the original Avatar film ran at just two hours and 42 minutes and ended up being the highest-grossing film of all time, bringing in a total of $2.9 billion after its re-release in September.

However, the length of the films does not seem to be affecting their success at the box office – Avengers: Endgame has garnered a whopping $2.79 billion worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film after Avatar.

And it looks like run times aren’t going to start getting shorter any time soon: Babylon, an epic period comedy-drama by Damien Chazelle and starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and Diego Calva, to be released in January, is set to run at over three hours.

Long run times are nothing new. Think Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, Titanic – all these now-classic films had run times of approximately three hours. So buckle up; by all appearances, it looks like audiences are going to be treated to some long pieces of cinema over the next couple of years.

And as for Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel looks like it’s going to be as captivating as the first.

Audiences have been given some glimpses of the Way of Water throughout the year. In April the first footage of Avatar 2 was unveiled at CinemaCon. Then in September at Disney’s D23 day, attendees were treated to more scenes of director James Cameron’s immersive underwater world. When its trailer was released in May, it was watched more than 148.6 million times across YouTube and social media in its first 24 hours.

Way of Water returns to the blue moon, Pandora, ten years after the first instalment, and follows human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Na’vi Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their new family as they work together to stay alive.

Further details about the plot have been kept under wraps but it seems likely that the human impact on the oceans will weigh heavy, and we do know that Sigourney Weaver returns as Dr. Grace Augustine, Stephen Lang returns as Colonel Miles Quaritch and Vin Diesel and Kate Winslet have joined the cast.

Avatar: The Way of Water is apparently one of four Avatar sequels that are being made simultaneously. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in December, Cameron said: “It sounds kind of nuts, the process. I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this — because it’s kind of crazy.”

He also said, “The big issue is: Are we going to make any damn money?... We’re in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows? It’s all a big roll of the dice.”

Avatar: The Way of Water will be released on December 16