Avatar: The Way of Water is Officially One of the Longest Films Ever With Enormous Runtime

James Cameron is looking to make up for the 13-year gap between the initial Avatar and the follow-up, The Way of Water, by giving audiences one of the longest films ever made. The sequel, due to arrive later next month, officially clocks in at 3 hr and 12 min on the AMC advance tickets page. This comes in just two minutes longer than the previously reported runtime, though it seems a cut below 3 hours was never in the cards.

Avatar: The Way of Water will be a similar length to several other massive theatrical releases. Recent 3-hour movies include The Wolf of Wall Street (3 hr), Avengers: Endgame (3 hr 1 min), and The Irishman (3 hr 29 min). Other notable releases include Dance with Wolves (3 hr 1 min), King Kong (3 hr 7 min), Spartacus (3 hr 17 min), The Godfather Part II (3 hr 22 min), Apocalypse Now (3 hr 22 min), and Lawrence of Arabia (3 hr 38 min). The Way of Water will be the second-longest film of Cameron’s career, with Titanic reaching a 3 hr 14 min runtime.

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Avatar: The Way of Water features several new and returning actors, including Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Jack Champion, Jamie Flatters, Edie Falco, Giovanni Ribisi, Bailey Bass, and Jemaine Clement. The upcoming sequel follows Worthington’s character, Jake Sully, with his newfound family on Pandora. However, once a familiar threat returns to finish what they started, Jae works with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.

Fans should be ready to get comfortable for the over-3-hour runtime of Avatar: The Way of Water, premiering exclusively in theaters later next month on Dec. 16.

James Cameron Has Justified His Lengthy Sequel, Saying its Essential to the Characters

20th Century Studios

With the massive runtime for The Way of Water, some audience members are undoubtedly wondering whether the 3-hour sequel was really necessary. However, James Cameron has discussed the runtime in the past, saying the film focuses on characters and emotions more than the first, justifying the lengthy sequel.

“The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis. I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion. We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service. There’s more story to service.”

Avatar: The Way of Water will need a massive box office payday to make a return on the production and marketing costs, and a runtime over 3 hours only increases the risk. However, Avatar remains in the top spot for the highest-grossing movie of all time, meaning the long-awaited sequel should perform well. Dec. 16 will provide a ton of insight into the future of the Avatar franchise and whether the sequels will continue or end after the third movie.