Longer films (that is, over 140 minutes) are more likely to be rated Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes than other movies. The film and TV review aggregator came to this conclusion after analyzing the 1,431 movies that have received a wide theatrical release (read: played in more than 500 theaters) since 2010, and dividing them into four categories: under 100 minutes, 100-120 minutes, 120-140 minutes, and above 140 minutes.
There's been a fair amount of discussion about movie runtimes this year, with tentpoles like Avengers: Endgame and IT Chapter Two clocking in at well over two and a half hours long. They're not the only ones either; Quentin Tarantino's theatrical cut for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood came in at 161 minutes, and Ari Aster only just revealed his preferred 171-minute version of Midsommar this past weekend. And if there's a common trait among these films, it's that all of them were generally well-received by critics (with IT Chapter Two currently ranking the lowest at a still-sturdy 66% Fresh on RT).
RT did the number-crunching and, it turns out, there's some real evidence to back this idea up. Their study revealed that 71% of movies over 140 minutes long are rated Fresh, as opposed to 60% for 120-140 minutes, 41% for 100-120 minutes, and only 34% for under 100 minutes. And although there were far fewer movies covered in the 140 + minutes category (79) than the others, this lends credence to the idea that studios typically only sign off on extra-long films if they believe they're good enough to justify the extended runtime.
Another variable is consider is that most of the over 140 minutes long movies from this decade were made by white male filmmakers who have a long and decorated history (Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, P.T. Anderson) and, as a result, are given more leeway to make longer films than other directors. That bodes well for Netflix and Martin Scorsese's upcoming crime biography The Irishman, which is reported to run a whopping 210 minutes long and is viewed as a potential awards season contender. Naturally, there are big exceptions. In this case, poorly-reviewed sequels like Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight and Transformers: Age of Extinction, in addition to Sex and the City 2 (which is definitely not a Michael Bay sequel), dragged the overarching score for movies over 140 minutes down.
Obviously, a film doesn't need to be overly long to be good, as recent Best Picture nominee Lady Bird and critical darlings like Eighth Grade and The Farewell have shown. Nor, for that matter, are extended runtimes always for the best, as many IT Chapter Two reviews have argued the film might have been improved by some additional cutting. Still, as evidenced by the critical and commercial success of several recent extra-long franchise offerings (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Mission: Impossible - Fallout) and one-off projects alike (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Martian), it's often an encouraging sign when a movie does run on the long side.