One of the Huffington Post’s article on The Wolf Of Wall Street officially moving its release date to December 25 has a striking headline. Not “Wolf Of Wall Street Officially Moves to Christmas.” Not “Scorsese’s Wolf Of Wall Street Won’t Hit Original Release Date.” Not “Christmas Won’t Come Early For Scorsese Fans; Will Instead Come On Christmas.” No, HuffPo’s headline reads “The Wolf Of Wall Street Is 165 Minutes.” This apparently is the most crucial part of the story; not the date change, but the length. Brace yourselves and your butts, America: The Wolf Of Wall Street is long. I take that back: The Wolf Of Wall Street is “very long.”
I take that back too; The Wolf Of Wall Street is too long! Many pundits and fans reacted to the news that The Wolf Of Wall Street was officially clocking in at a hair under three hours with horror or outright dismissal. “165 minutes of DiCaprio and Jonah Hill? Nah.” read one tweet I saw. “New #Scorsese film #WolfofWallStreet looks pretty awesome, but the thought of sitting for 2 hr 45 min is exhausting,” read another. (Also: sitting for three hours is the opposite of exhausting, but whatever). Sample just about any comments section for any article on the release date news and you’ll find tons of similar sentiments.
I’m skeptical of any rejection of any movie sight unseen, but I’m particularly mystified that so many people are ready to write off The Wolf Of Wall Street weeks before anyone has seen it just because it’s 165 minutes long. Part of the shock could have to do with the fact that most of the early stories about Wolf’s possible delay focused on Scorsese’s 180 minute rough cut and his need for time to cut it down to size. Part of the shock could have to do with the fact that the content maw of the Internet demands an instant opinion about everything, and right now all we know about the movie is that it’s kind of long. Nevertheless, I’m still taken aback by the amount and severity of the skepticism.
We could have a very long conversation about why long movies are awesome in general, but since so many of you have made it quite clear you guys are not fans of long things, I’ll save that for another time. Instead, I will simply observe the following: no one should be surprised Martin Scorsese made a long movie because Martin Scorsese always makes long movies.
A few facts: the average length of every single fiction film Martin Scorsese has ever directed: 131 minutes. The average length of the nine fiction films Scorsese has made in the last 20 years: 147 minutes. The average length of the five fiction films Scorsese has made since the year 2000: 150 minutes. The last time Scorsese directed a fiction film that was under two hours long: 1986’s The Color Of Money (it ran one hour and 59 minutes). Scorsese hasn’t consistently directed movies that were under two hours since the mid-1970s, and he’s been trending progressively longer ever since.
It’s definitely possible that The Wolf Of Wall Street will be too long. But it’s also possible it’ll be the right length—or not long enough. Doesn’t Martin Scorsese, the guy who made Goodfellas one of the greatest movies in history at 146 minutes, and made Casino fabulous at 178 minutes, deserve just the tiniest benefit of the doubt? The wolf of Wall Street has nothing on the wolves of Internet fandom.
(NOTE: Christopher Rosen of The Huffington Post tweeted me to say that an earlier post on the site about The Wolf Of Wall Street’s release date move has a different headline and that his article was specifically about the runtime, which he ultimately found “is really nothing significant.”)