After months of Batman V Superman rumors and speculation, fans are finally getting concrete details in the final run-up to the highly anticipated DC Extended Universe movie. With just over one month to go (from the time of this writing), moviegoers are entering the last push of Batman V Superman marketing – as print publications have begun to run release month interviews and talk show programs have started announcing when viewers can expect Dawn of Justice cast members to drop by. As a result, after two years of carefully constructed marketing info drops, such as our first look at (sad) Batman and the new Batmobile, Warner Bros. is now at the mercy of their stars and crew – who will have to walk a very fine line between teasing the new film and outright spoiling any unrevealed twists.
However, as is often the case, the most interesting details don’t always come from people directly associated with a film – as third-party retailers and consumer services must prepare their products and systems for the rollout of a major film release. Today, AMC Theaters is the unofficial-official source of new Batman V Superman details: all but confirming the Dawn of Justice theatrical runtime.
The news comes in an update to the Batman V Superman database page at the online AMC Theaters ticket order page – which now shows a runtime of 2 hours and 31 minutes. At this time, the listing as yet to be confirmed by Warner Bros. or Zack Snyder, meaning that while it’s highly likely the studio has supplied theater chains with release information, and AMC updated their pages accordingly, it’s still possible that the 151 minute runtime is simply an estimated placeholder.
After all, with only one month to go, ticket sellers are, understandably, eager to start selling pre-order tickets for the Batman V Superman face-off/team-up film – which, while no official reviews have yet to hit, is sure to offer a nice bump in box office sales during an otherwise slower-paced pre-summer month. Given that Star Wars 7 offered-up pre-order tickets two months ahead of release, in an admittedly frustrating website-crashing opening of the floodgates, DC fans are eager to lock-in their tickets for opening weekend of “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham.”
The update to the AMC ticket page certainly suggests that pre-ordering is imminent – though, no official ticket sale date has been teased, yet. Still, as mentioned, it’s worth pointing out that just because AMC updated the page, doesn’t necessarily make the runtime official – since AMC could simply be updating the page ahead of their ticket pre-order launch. Video game fans endure similar teases, when Amazon and other online retailers list estimated release dates on pre-order pages – simply to get their systems ready (and pre-orders in) ahead of official information.
That said, with the movie so close to release, it would make sense that Warner Bros. has shared the runtime with theater chains – so that the theaters can begin planning their screening schedules. So, while we can’t say with 100% certainty that the 151 minute runtime is final – it’s very, very likely to be the case. Also worth noting, theater runtimes do not include pre-show ads or trailers. If the number is correct, it means Batman V Superman, itself, is 151 minutes long.
It’s also a believable length for a film that is attempting to do as much as Batman V Superman – which will not only deal with the controversial Man of Steel aftermath but will also introduce Batman, and his new cinematic backstory, as well as Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Alfred, Doomsday, and other supporting characters (The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg), plus set the stage for Justice League team-up. Early trailers for the film seemed to keep the focus relatively narrow, on the philosophical differences between Batman and Superman; yet, more recent trailers have suggested that Dawn of Justice is a huge film – with a lot of DCEU setup. So, while the 151 minute runtime might not be easy on moviegoers with small bladders, the film will (at the very least) have a significant amount of time to unpack and develop all of its central narrative threads.
Putting that number in perspective, Dawn of Justice will be 8 minutes longer than Snyder’s Man of Steel and Joss Whedon’s first Avengers movie (which both ran 143 minutes) but 3 minutes shorter than Brian Singer’s Superman Returns (154 minutes) and a full 14 minutes shorter than Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (165 minutes). The film is also shorter than Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation which, depending on the “cut,” ran 162 minutes (theatrical release), 186 minutes (director’s cut), and 215 minutes (the ultimate cut with “Tales of the Black Freighter” included).
Of course, until we know what is actually covered in a film, runtimes don’t actually tell us much about the quality of a film; though a lengthy runtime does put more pressure on a filmmaker to deliver a worthy return on moviegoer time (and production money) invested. If Snyder packs his 151 minute runtime full of great character development, exciting action, and successfully lays the stage for the DCEU, most moviegoers will happily carve out 2.5 hours of their day to see the film. That said, Snyder (and the larger movie) could get in trouble if Batman V Superman doesn’t make good use of that time and, instead, stumbles through a lot of world-building without satisfying payoffs – both in action and character (a major criticism of Singer’s Superman Returns).
For the time being, only Warner Bros. knows the quality and/or shortcomings of Snyder’s Man of Steel follow-up/Justice League lead-in – and while industry chatter is beginning to build, and insiders are starting to make predictions, it won’t be too much longer before fans get to judge the film for themselves.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, which is followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.