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Avengers: Endgame Getting an Intermission Might be a Terrible Idea

Published Wed Feb 13 2019 By David
Avengers: Endgame Getting an Intermission Might be a Terrible Idea

Avengers Endgame getting a downtime during its showtime.

With endless theories and the subsequent rumor mills, Avengers: Endgame is currently America's most talked about campaign prior to its release on Apri 26, 2019. While some of these assumptions are pretty useful while others being ridiculously futile, but one that nobody saw coming is that of a word an “intermission”.

The rumor, as claimed by Coming Soon journalist Alan Cerny, is that Endgame is so long that directors, the Russo brothers are considering building in an intermission so audiences can nod around, go for a wee, buy nachos, and so on.

Given that the current runtime is about three hours, it doesn't sound too much resentful. Even Tarantino had one for him The Hateful Eight in its extended three-hour 'Roadshow' cut, after all.

But then you look at the other films which needed a recess back in the day - Lawrence Of Arabia, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gone With The Wind, The Godfather Part II. However, there are still a handful of movies that attract criticism of movies length or not having a break despite their outrageously long run-time (Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King-3 hrs 20 min, Titanic-3 hrs 15 min, Interstellar-2 hrs, 49 min).

Since those examples, people have only moved further away from the uneasiness that lengthy movies used to give. And although some may have been bemoaning the lack of toilet break, that's also been fine till the end of the movie for decades. On the whole, three hours for Avengers: Endgame is not some absurd excess and it still doesn’t necessitate a buffer to ensure continued viewers’ engagement.  

In fact, what makes Avengers: Endgame’s intermission considerably less of a sense is the fact that this is already a follow-up of a story that has technically been building over 21 previous movies and to barging in an interlude in the ultimate culmination is bizarre. Here's not only why the idea is incredibly ill-informed based on the history of the intermission and epic movies, but how it could be a major box office blunder for Avengers: Endgame.


Endgame having an intermission sounds unlikely
SOURCE: Esquire

First thing; the majority of positive reactions to an intermission in Avengers: Endgame shouldn’t ignore real reason intermissions existed in the first place.

Historically, there were two reasons for an intermission from Hollywood's side-- The more common dates back to the age of low-budgeted commercial movies that played before the main picture; there'd be a gap between the two films including the purchasing of the ticket for the main one. The second and the one that has the explaining associations is that of roadshows and epic movies. In the 1950s and 60s, when TV threatened the movie industry, Hollywood tried to uplift the prestige of going to the cinema.

And they did this with big, lavish productions with tough runtimes and an intermission to create the sense of going to a theater. There were also "roadshow" previews where a movie literally traveled around America before a standard release that used to heighten the hype even further. But both of these practices fell away decades ago--the roadshow was a product of Old Hollywood and had already become obsolete by the end of the 1960s, while B-movies haven't been an industry’s favorite since the 1970s. given that the majority of people getting excited for Avengers: Endgame--especially its target audience - were born when intermissions were long gone.

The fact also can’t be ignored—Many screens would have two projectors side by side in order to swap off reels seamlessly (see David Fincher's Fight Club and its discussion of cigarette burns), but others with just one projector would spool each reel onto a larger one. However, films over two or so hours couldn't fit on a single reel and so it needed to be restored with mid-film; and thus an intermission began in the Hollywood. But here, it wasn't an attempt to enhance the cinemagoing experience, rather an outcome of technical limitations.

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Needless to say, with the advancement of the technology, today, there's absolutely no industry need for an intermission on any film given the marketing or mechanical reasons do not exist anymore. The only recent example dates back to the memory where the director, Tarantino’s utilized the 70mm version in his The Hateful Eight (2015), which later became only an explicit throwback to the roadshows of yore and hence got a limited run alongside a more conventional release. Beyond that, there aren’t even mere instances that could somehow warrant Endgame having an intermission.


Endgame could affect its box office stats if taken an intermission
SOURCE: Times Now

However, all of this discussion of historical accounts and previous cases doesn’t even include the main concern the reason movie being made in the first place; the money. Many have put forward that Endgame intermission would allow theaters to sell more snacks to audiences, which may be true, but that would only impact the theatre’s team while likely undercutting the studio (who only get the majority of the ticket money).

One of the most apparent concerns on a business side with a long movie is how it restricts the number of showtimes. The longer a film, the fewer showings per screen there can be a day, and so the fewer tickets sales (especially damaging the film’s opening weekend).

Considering a one-hour turnaround to account for cleaning, seating, and adverts, a two-hour movie in total will take up three-hours of screen duration at one time; hence there are four showings in a 12 hour period. And for a three-hour movie, that's a four-hour window dropping the number of showings in 12 hours to three.

But if you assume beyond that and add 30 minutes for an intermission, the screen time surpasses the four hours marks resulting only two showings per screen in a 12 hour period. Not to forget, theaters can operate for longer times. But the impact under these restrictions is clear; an intermission compels Avengers: Endgame to be longer than either Titanic or The Return of the King (in context regarding the number of show times).

It's again hard to predict how much of either impact (good or bad) an intermission would really give to Avengers: Endgame's box office, but with it possibly having the less number of screenings per screen per day compared to a two-hour movie, the movie will surely be fighting an uphill battle within its theatrical period. Conversely, keeping the runtime under the three-hour mark could create considerably less upset.

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The side effects still has a lot say; The prospect of a movie being made longer than its predecessors itself may be off-putting to many– except the earmark audience who may be contrastingly joyful-- while theaters having the pressure to handle these the subsequent mass number of patrons in 15-minutes may cancel out the cash made from selling just a few more bags of popcorn (not so much of a catch).


An intermission?? No, no, no--Yadda, yadda, yadda
SOURCE: Times Now

The above talking scenarios highlights why mid-break in endgame is an incautious idea: it's only recalling an idealized time that only ever existed out of technical clampdown; a scheme that is no way related with the example set by longer, massively-successful event movies; and could have a serious impact on the movies (if considered of having it). In this light, it seems even more crazy to think Marvel is actually putting in an interval.

Also Read: Marvel Theory: Wolverine To Be Introduced In The Post-credits Scene For Avengers: Endgame?

And, the odds are, they probably aren't. Joe Russo has said they've "joked about it in the editing room", and that’s how all these fusses about entr’acte might have begun. An intermission discussion is always going to come up with a movie of this length but amongst industry professionals--not in any meaningful, actionable way.