The official runtime for next week's release of Transformers: The Last Knight has been confirmed via an official British film classification website. Rumors circulated earlier this month that The Last Knight would be the longest Transformers film yet, with a final runtime of 3 hours and 2 minutes. Michael Bay took to Twitter to deny that rumor, saying that the fifth film is, "shorter than the last 3 movies by a lot". We now know exactly what the director means by "shorter."
Even with a runtime well over two hours, it turns out Transformers: The Last Knight is the second shortest film in the franchise, and the shortest since the original film. The 2007 Transformers movie ran at 2 hours and 24 minutes, and each sequel has gotten progressively longer and longer. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen clocked in at exactly 2.5 hours, Dark of the Moon pushed that up a bit to 2 hours and 34 minutes, and Age of Extinction blew those numbers away with a 2 hour and 45 minute runtime.
According to the official certification page from the British Board of Film Classification, The Last Knight runs approximately 149 minutes, which is 2 hours and 29 minutes long. The film's IMDb page serves as a credible second source to confirm that time, though they have the film listed as 148 minutes long. This runtime accounts for about 10 minutes of credits, so actual movie time will be closer to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Taking into account that movie theaters run about 15 minutes of previews, the moviegoing experience for many audiences seeing The Last Knight will last about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Bay saying that The Last Knight was shorter than the last few films is technically true, though it's only in the range of five minutes, if we're talking about Revenge of the Fallen or Dark of the Moon. Since the runtimes had been escalating from sequel to sequel, plus the significant bump up in length for Age of Extinction, the rumor that the film was three hours long wasn't so far-fetched. Still, it's a bit of a relief that this proved not to be true, for as Age of Extinction proved for a lot of audiences, a three hour long Transformers film could have been close to unbearable.
There are several factors that could explain the shorter runtime. There could be technical and budgetary reasons, as Bay is using special IMAX 3D cameras that have never been used before on film and were assuredly very expensive to use. Hopefully, this shorter runtime means Bay is cutting the excess from the film, spending less time on mountains of exposition and lame humor and more time on Transformers action. Then again, as the shorter runtime could mean that the film has too little story. That seems unlikely, though, as beyond the growing cast of human characters to cover we know The Last Knight will also be delving into the Transformers' history during the reign of King Arthur and World War II.