‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Runtime Confirmed; Behind the Scenes IMAX Theater Video

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 5th, 2012 at 8:40 pm,

dark knight rises nokia trailer The Dark Knight Rises Runtime Confirmed; Behind the Scenes IMAX Theater Video

Earlier this year, film fans were pleasantly surprised to discover that Marvel had successfully raised the superhero movie bar with The Avengers, to the tune of $1.4 billion (at the time of this writing). Despite a solid $1 billion international haul for The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is faced with one of the toughest challenges of the summer – exceptionally high expectations. While moviegoers flocked to the theater again and again for Joss Whedon’s over-the-top superhero mash-up film, most audiences are expecting Nolan to deliver a deeper and more nuanced comic book character adaptation.

Recently, we got word that The Dark Knight Rises would feature over 100 minutes of action – leading some cynics to speculate that the film was ditching story in favor of action set pieces (i.e style over substance). However, confirmation of the film’s runtime should put skeptics to rest (not to mention make viewers with small bladders squirm in their seats) as Nolan’s final Batman film is set to run a hefty 164 minutes and 27 seconds.

We’ve heard runtime rumors before but this time confirmation comes courtesy of the British Board of Film Classification – essentially the British MPAA – so viewers should plan their pre-movie drinks accordingly. The 164 minute and 27 second runtime (i.e. 2 hours, 44 minutes, and 27 seconds) is the longest Batman movie (The Dark Knight ran 152 minutes, Batman Begins was 140 minutes) and the longest superhero movie in recent years (The Avengers clocked in at 143 minutes). The film will even trump James Cameron’s Avatar which, in its original release, ran 162 minutes (though the rerelease came in at 171 minutes).

That said, moviegoers shouldn’t be intimidated by The Dark Knight Rises‘ runtime – considering the director is one of the sharpest modern movie storytellers. Unlike Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which felt overlong at 152 minutes (due to an overabundance of thin character work), fans should be able to expect another deep and methodical character study, paired with plenty of eye-popping visuals, that make every minute of Nolan’s movie worthwhile. Of course, it’s also possible that a number of new characters, as well as returning favorites, could make for an overstuffed mess of a film.

Either way, the length of the movie (not to mention Nolan’s insistence on moviegoers seeing the film in 70mm IMAX wherever possible) has hefty ramifications for projectionists working behind the scenes. To that end, the Liberty Science Center (which features one of the largest IMAX theaters in America) put together a video detailing their pre-release process – including the time it takes to splice together reels, how to operate the enormous IMAX projection rig, upgrades to the system that allow for longer runtimes, and the difference between 35mm and 70mm film.


With a physically intimidating antagonist this round in Bane, it’s only fitting that the The Dark Knight Rises film stock could also crush a man - weighing at over 600 pounds once assembled. Jokes aside, the Liberty Science Center IMAX video should help clear up some persistent questions that Batfans might have about the format – not to mention galvanize a lot of moviegoers into seeing the movie on a true film projection IMAX (where available).


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Dark Knight Rises as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Dark Knight Rises arrives in regular and IMAX theaters around the U.S. on July 20th, 2012.

Source: British Board of Film Classification [via Coming Soon] & Comic Book Movie [via SlashFilm]

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  1. I feel quite confident, given Nolan’s other films (both Batman and otherwise), that TDKR will have PLENTY of substance…I canNOT wait! :)

  2. I am fine with the long running time!

  3. 2 hours and 44 minutes sounds just about right for the finale, was hoping for a 3 hours++ in line with Return of the King

    • Ditto. I would have loved it if it had been 3 hours, but I’m glad that it’s a little longer.

  4. Even though I’ll have to scale back on my coffee intake that day I have zero problem with the film being so long.
    Actually I expected a longer film this time because of the fact that it is the end and it needs time to wrap things up.
    16 days!!

  5. I guess my drink cup will double as a urinal! For the price of movie theater drink nowadays, this makes me feel better as it will serve 2 uses…

    • @wraab I’m guessing this is one of those movies you don’t want to step outside for. Nolan’s films are always very complex.

  6. I love this news. Man, I don’t want it to end. Cannot wait. Now, if only Ledger hadn’t passed away, we would have seen him go at it with Batman once more and destined to do it forever. Bane is gonna be amazing but can’t help but think about the Joker once more in a movie of this magnitude.

  7. Jeez! TDK had 20 minutes of fat that could have been cut to give a tighter story. It kind of lost its way about two thirds of the way through with a lot of stuff that was filler scenes that did not move the story forward effectively.

    I hope this is not the case with the new movie.

    Keep ‘em wanting more is better than making a too bloated movie.

    Not every movie is Lawrence of Arabia or Return of the King.

    • I agree about TDKs run time. They could’ve chopped off 15-20 minutes. I hope the new one doesn’t have a ridiculously long ending like Return Of The King.

  8. Makes sense for it to be this long (end of a trilogy; big story to tell; over an hour of action sequences; etc.), but I just wish they’d have an intermission or something because I have a bladder the size of a kitten’s and a thirst the size of an elephant’s… :(

    Still awesome news though. I just hope every minute of that run-time will live up to the expectations.

    • You should do what i do. Tie a tube to ur thingy and let it drain out into a small plastic bag

  9. Personally, I don’t care how much this one brings in. As long as it’s enjoyable that’s what matters to me. Also, long run time means lots of action!!

  10. Wow, almost 3 hours! I cant wait and how the first two went, I have faith Nolan will make a great finale!

  11. No fluids 24 hrs. before curtain time.

  12. hey it’s a finale. do it right. i’m fine with the runtime. i’ll inform the babysitter :)

  13. Ooph! Almost three hours? While that’s awesome, I kind of wish I didn’t buy that midnight release ticket. Getting to the office at 8am is going to be hard. Holding my soda in my bladder will also be tough for 3 hours. Can’t wait though!

    • Thank God I work evening shift right now. Get off around 11:30 and will be primed and ready to go :D

  14. I’ll be sitting in an aisle seat then.

  15. Wow, Ben, your writeup sounds like you’ve already seen the film! LOL!

    ; )

  16. Definitely can’t wait for this.

    Besides, if Spielberg is planning a 50s style epic in the vein of The Ten Commandments then honestly, I can imagine his eye will be on this movie’s box office intake as well as feedback to see what the movie going public thinks of a movie that goes on longer than most modern audiences expect.

    I can also honestly imagine people walking out at the end of this and saying “Joker who?”. That’s how iconic Bane will become for the next few years.

  17. I need to be sure to correct you on the IMAX theater your talking about here. The largest IMAX Theatre in the Country(World) is the World Class Warren IMAX Theater in Wichita KS. The theater your talking about is an Omnimax, whichis still IMAX per say, but the projector is different because it is designed for a rounded dome screen. Also, Most IMAX Theaters are Digital now anyway.

    • I intentionally used the term “theater” instead of “screen” but I’ve updated the article to avoid further confusion.

      That said, the Wichita theater you mentioned isn’t unequivocally the the largest in the world either – according to IMAX’s senior vice president (speaking to the Wichita Business Journal): “It’s definitely one of our larger theaters and certainly one of the largest we’ve installed this year.” – i.e. one of the “top five or six” screens out of about 100 installed in 2010.

      Also, to the point about digital – that’s exactly why I made sure to include the “true film projection IMAX (where available)” line in the original write-up. It’s going to be hard for a lot of people to see the movie on an IMAX with film projection – though a lot of people will assume that’s what they are seeing.

      • I respect what your quoting, however, the while quoting Geoff Atkins, the article also goes so far as to say this statement is vague, and doesn’t rule it out as the largest.

        • Exactly why I used the phrasing “the Wichita theater you mentioned isn’t UNEQUIVOCALLY the largest in the world either.”

          Fact is IMAX has always been vague about how their theaters compare. I just hope that moviegoers know what they’re going to get when they show up at their local IMAX theater (since there are so many variants).

          • The vagueness is deliberate. And theaters are even deliberately misleading.
            The powers that be what everyone to think all IMAX theaters are essentially
            the same and of course that is not true but most movie goers are left unaware.

    • The World Class Warren IMAX is not a true film 70mm IMAX. It is a digital version. There are only a few actual IMAX 70mm theaters around the United States. The digital IMAX theaters are an advancement over the regular digital film but they cannot reproduce the visual experience of a true 70mm IMAX theater. To truly see everything that Nolan shot you need to go to an actual 70mm IMAX theater if you are anywhere near a theater that has that.

      • “There are only a few actual IMAX 70mm theaters around the United States”

        yep and I got my sights set on one!

        • Me as well. This movie cannot be here soon enough.

          • Agreed! ;-)

  18. Whole lotta Batman for your buck.

    • Definitely gonna get our money’s worth with this one! :D

  19. lol my girlfriend hates batman but she decided to buy tickets to the midnight premire for us. I guess jokes on her

  20. Quite Justifiable, that runtime. Definitely believe (& hope) Nolan will make each of those minutes count, & long for more!
    BTW I love the way each & every details relating to TDKR is presented, case in point ‘… & 27 seconds’ …LOL !! Not complaining in anyways though…infact just got that feeling that what a huge emptiness it would be once this film releases…all these sites wont have any TDKR coverage!! It has been a real fun following every little tidbits of this epic batman trilogy finale – ever since Nolan confirmed that he would return to direct it 2 years ago. Its been a perfect storm if consider it as far as a movie to follow & look forward to…an iconic character, a wildly appreciated & successful last film, a fan favourite & greatly respected and may I add *cerebral* director…and a trilogy finale which could for the *first time* *potentially* (seriously) kill off a superhero – have left bat fans all over waiting with bated breath for so long. Hopefully it will live up to it!

  21. So I’m seeing this movie at the midnight premier at a regular digital IMAX theater. I’ve never been to a full length movie in IMAX, although I have seen some documentaries at the Maryland science center in IMAX. Anyways, is the digital imax that much less enjoyable than the “true imax”? Is it even better than regular screens? I just don’t really know how this works.

      • Thanks, mjc907. Good article. So now I feel kinda dumb for buying digital IMAX tickets rather than 70mm but in retrospect, there was no way I was gonna drive over an hour for a midnight premier. So digital imax should still blow me away, and I’m gonna try to see it in 70mm IMAX as well, either in chantilly, va or in Philadelphia. Or maybe NYC or Boston if I happen to be around.

        • No problem. I’m one of the lucky ones that is lucky enough to have a 70mm IMAX near me. Digital IMAX will still be worth it over seeing it on a regular digital screen. I think it’s pretty unethical for the digital ones to charge the same as if it was a 70 mm one. There should be some sort of price reflection since the digital is drastically different then a true 70 mm IMAX.

  22. Great news. An epic runtime for an epic film. 2 hours 44 mins sounds just about right for a final film in a trilogy( think Lord of the Ring), that has this much scope. Rather than being worried, I’m excited about what Chris and Jonah Nolan have cooked up for us this time. Infact, it’s the opposite that would have worried the hell out of me, if they’d announced the runtime as 85 mins. LOL.

  23. With the great directors you never think of running time. You get lost in their films.
    And I put Christopher Nolan despite his short career in the pantheon of great directors.

  24. Fine with it. Just annoyed there appear to be no cinemas doing a three film run. I would happily spend the day watching Nolan’s trilogy from start to finish.

    • Have to agree with you Ajeno. Sucked that I missed the Marvel one…

    • Saw somewhere the other day some theatre is but no theatre I have ever heard of before. So can’t remember the name.

      • Oops commented before I read IMAX and AMC are doing the triology run :D

  25. I already have my IMAX tickets for the Triple Batman feature! Wooooooooo!

  26. I simply hope me freakin theater doesn’t put a break in the middle of the movie, because they SUCK.

    • A chance for people to refresh and erm – clear their systems to enjoy the movie to it’s fullest doesn’t seem like a suck-y thing to me.
      If you’ve ever had to “go” during a movie, you’d know that it’s impossible to concentrate on/enjoy the movie when you’re having to hold it in…
      I think an intermission would be a terrific thing for this movie: that way nobody misses a second of the film and those that need to, get the chance to go do their business…

  27. that means a bunch of preachy nolan dialogue & useless sub plots & character twists that everyone can see coming from a mile away… god i cant wait for a reboot, but WB sucks and they will still try and give us a another censored batman in the future… and everyone will eat it up as long as they slap the “Batman” name on it.

    • JBM…

      Ummm, no, that’s just called dialogue, and films are BETTER for having quality dialogue (such as that appearing in Nolan’s films) in them. As for the sub plots and character twists (which, btw, there weren’t too many of in BB or TDK), the plots and characterizations seem to have worked beautifully and been presented interestingly enough for the many, MANY people who watched and enjoyed the films…multiple times.

      Of course, YOU could always simply stick to “Project X” for ease of story understanding and lack of quality dialogue…or you could just produce and direct your own version of James Joyce’s THE DUBLINERS to get extremely dense dialogue and a well-crafted plot (or, as YOU might call it, “wordy and going on seemingly forever”).

      Either choice would allow those of us actually discussing THIS film (and enjoying doing so) to continue, uninterrupted.


      • You tell ‘em.

  28. Here’s the answer to why no big films – the tech isn’t set up to accommodate Lawrence of Arabia.

    That needs to change.

  29. I called it! To close off the trilogy, I’d figure he would need it to be longer than the others. Can’t wait, I love Nolan, he’s my top favorite director of this generation, and I’ll be seeing this the moment it releases (quite literally if midnight release is being done in my city).