James Cameron Doesn’t Want You to “Whine” About How Long “Avatar 2” Will Be
The director wants to normalize theater pee breaks during three-hour movies
Director James Cameron has not historically been known for brevity. Titanic clocks in at three hours and 14 minutes and Avatar features a runtime of two hours and 42 minutes. His forthcoming sequel to the latter, Avatar: The Way of the Water, will reportedly run roughly three hours. In a recent interview with Empire, the director insists that fans should be able to sit through the lengthy movie without any complaints.
Cameron argued that folks who are able to binge-watch a TV show for hours on end should be able to cope with his movie’s long runtime.
“I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” he said. “I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonizingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a f—— break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row.”
The problem with that argument? Binging several one-hour episodes of television in a row in the comfort of your own home is not at all the same thing as sitting through a three-hour movie in a theater. For one, TV episodes have their own individual narrative arcs; even if you decide to blow through all of them at once, they’re designed to stand on their own, which means they’ve got a clear beginning, middle and end, and you’re less likely to get bored than you would watching one continuous story stretch out over the course of three-plus hours. And even when we binge a TV series, we’re able to take breaks as needed. But Cameron envisions a future in which moviegoers feel free to take a break in the middle of a film.
“Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s okay to get up and go pee,” he said.
It’s already “okay” to get up and go pee during a movie in that no one’s going to yell at you or have you thrown out of the theater for quietly dipping out for a few minutes to relieve yourself. But you can’t pause a movie when you’re watching it in a theater, and stepping out to go pee means missing at least a few minutes of the action. It’s easy enough to hold it for an hour and a half, but three hours is another thing entirely. Our bladders can only take so much.
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