How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters? 10 Deciding Factors Whether It’s A Hit Or A Flop!

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters

Ever wondered why some movies get to stay so long at the box office, while some hardly manage to survive a couple of weeks. Why is it so? What are the criteria that decide how long do movies stay in theaters? This post is made for all the cinema enthusiasts who wish to find out what makes a movie stand out in the crowd? 

As we know, there are some epic movies like Jumanji, Avengers, Star Wars, Titanic, and many more that have performed extraordinarily well at the box office spending a time span of more than a year in the theaters. While there were some movies like Glitter and Delgo, that were hardly up for a few days in the theaters. Why is it so? 

How long do movies stay in theaters? Usually, it’s seen that a good movie spends around 4-5 normal weeks at the theaters. And if the distributors of the movie feel like a movie can do much good and can earn them better, that movie is played all over again for a couple more weeks. The criteria are pretty simple, the more the popularity, the more time a movie gets to stay at the cinemas. Want to know which movies stayed the longest and the shortest spans in the theaters? Read on!! 

How long a movie is in theaters also depends on its production. If the movie is a product of a big project, it’ll surely perform well both online or offline. Let’s talk about the main factors that decide How long a movie will be in theaters. 

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters – 10 Factors Affecting Cinema

Lights! Camera! Action! 

There are so many factors that affect whether a movie will do good at the box office or not. The cinematic world is way beyond these lights, camera, and action criteria. To explain how long do movies stay in theaters and what factors affect the success of movies, here I have mentioned few important points.

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1. Competition

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Competition
Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Suppose a new adventure movie is coming out this weekend and at the same time another famous director plans to release his movie which is somewhat similar to the earlier one. What do you think, which one will stay for longer? Which movie will have more hype? That brings a clash between two movies of the same genre.

It becomes very important to take care of the dates to save the competition. Otherwise, how long a movie stays in the theater depends on which one performs better.

2. Film Format

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Film Format
Source: Iceland Photo Tours

Formats also play an important role in How Long do movies run in theaters. Formats like 3D, 5D or 7D, and even normal formats.  

Movies with IMAX formats stay much longer in the theaters as compared to a normal format. The same happens in the case of other formats like 2D and 3D. People prefer big screens with better picture qualities.

3. Theater Location

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Theater Location
Source: Good Morning Wilton

Here take two examples of theaters; one is situated in the main city or town, which is the hub for all essentials, and the second one is situated in the outskirts of the town. Which one do you think will have a better audience and success?

Studios and theater play a vital role in the success of a movie. If it’s situated at a famous mall or town, then it’s obvious that it will attract more audience and hence the movie will have better chances to stay for longer.

4. Genre

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Genre
Source: ScreenCraft

Genre is the deciding factor whether a movie will perform in the theaters or not. For example, a movie with a superhero genre has a much more fanbase than any other genre as most people love superhero movies.

5. Marketing

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Marketing
Source: Unified Manufacturing

Marketing strategies are very important for building name and fame in the market. Whether it’s business or cinema, the right marketing skills can earn you bacon.

Marketing is the reason why Joker stayed this long in the theaters and earned billions of dollars at the box office. 

Doesn’t matter how good the budget of a movie is. If the team uses correct marketing techniques and spends money where needed, it will definitely add to the popularity and fanbase of a movie. 

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6. Casting

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Casting
Source: Project Casting

Ok, let’s talk practical. What do you think is the reason why Avengers is so loved and successful worldwide? Is it because it had some great superhero sequels or because the budget of the series was too high?

It’s surely the cast that led to the success of Avengers. We all loved Iron Man, the inevitable. We all loved Thor and Hulk. 

Believe it or not, but casting plays a vital role in the success of a movie. Some movies don’t perform well at the box office because the casting of the movie is not right. Or maybe introducing new faces can sometimes lead to the downfall of a certain movie or show.

7. Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb Ratings

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb Ratings
Source: I Love Free Software

How long do movies stay in theaters depends very much on their rankings and ratings, such as IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes? 

The more the ratings, the more the people will go and watch the movie in theaters. People usually trust the rankings of these sites.

9. Sequels

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Sequels
Source: YouTube

Ok, this one is a pretty good reason why movies last long in theaters. Suppose a new sequel of a hit franchise is up in the theaters, it is obvious that it will stay longer in the theaters. 

If the audience enjoyed the preceding parts of the franchise, they’ll come to watch the sequels too. That is why so many superhit franchises work on developing their sequels. That’s the reason why Star Wars and other superhero movies are unbeatable.

10. Awards

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Awards
Source: www.wsj.com

More the awards, the more time a movie will remain in theaters. Suppose a movie is nominated for an Oscar or some other Filmfare award, there are chances that it will get a second run in the theaters. 

And luckily if the movie wins that award, then you can expect it in the theaters for a long while.

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How Long Do Movies Run In Theaters

Type Of MovieTime Duration In Theaters
Blockbusters20-24 Weeks
Hit3 or more Weeks
Super-HitOne Month and above
Flop2 Weeks

Movie Distribution and How It Works

To find out what makes some movies stay so long in the theaters while why some movies spend only a few weeks in the theaters, have a look at these factors:

1. Bidding

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Bidding
Source: Decider

Bidding is kind of a deal between the movie producers and the movie distributors (the theaters or streaming platforms). 

Let’s suppose a movie exhibitor paid $40, 000 to the distributors to showcase the movie in theaters for a span of two to three weeks. 

Now this time period of 2-3 weeks is crucial for the exhibitor. If he earned $50,000 from the theatres then he earns a straight profit of $10,000 and if the earnings go below $30,000 then it’s a loss of $10,000 for the movie exhibitors.

2. Agreement Between Distributors and Exhibitors

How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters; Agreement Between Distributors and Exhibitors
Source: Quora

Everything works on commission. Whatever profit a movie earns at the box office is divided with a set percentage between movie distributors and exhibitors. That’s how it works.

Distributors clearly earn more through this agreement as with every passing week, the commission percentage is increased. 

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What Movies Have Stayed The Longest In The Theaters?

What Movies Have Stayed The Longest In The Theaters
Source: AS English

1. E.T – This one stayed for over a year in the theaters. Also, it’s counted as one of the all-time best family movies.

2. Star Wars – Star Wars don’t need any introduction. We all know it’s a great fantasy fiction that captivated a large audience worldwide. The stay time for Star Wars in the theaters is around 44 weeks.

3. Beverly Hills Cop – Ah!! The greatest rom-com movie is here. Beverly Hills Cop stayed for a time duration of 30 weeks in the theaters.

4. Back To The Future – This feel-good movie stayed for around 37 weeks in the theaters.

Which Movies Spend The Longest Weeks in the Box Office Top Ten List?

Which Movies Spend The Longest Weeks in the Box Office Top Ten List
Source: Inside the Magic

We have seen so many box office hits. Which one made the longest run on a weekly basis? Well, here is the list.

1. Inception – Inception has a stronger fan base and the fans came over and over to watch in the theaters week after week.

2. Avatar – Avatar is the all-time favorite for many. This movie spent around 14 weeks in the box-office top ten list.

3. Black Panther – Oh! Do we need a reason why black panther was a blockbuster that ran successfully in theaters week after week?

4. Jumanji (Part 1 and 2) – Both Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: Next Level stayed for more than 15 weeks in the box office top ten lists. The unique storyline and the amazing cast attracted a larger audience.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming – Here’s another hit that maintained a spot in the box office top ten lists for running for the longest weeks.

6. Frozen – This hit musical spent a long journey of 16 weeks in the box office top ten superhits. Frozen is the story of Anna and Elsa that won many hearts with the adorable story.

7. La La Land – This American romantic musical stayed for over 13 weeks in the theaters.

8. The Greatest Showman – The Greatest Showman is the top-selling album in the year 2018 for its amazing soundtrack.

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Which Movies Spent The Least Time In The Theaters?

Which Movies Spent The Least Time In The Theaters
Source: Bomb Report

There are super hits, there are hits and then there are flops too that didn’t perform so well at the box office. Have a look at these movies that stayed for a few weeks or even a few days and were removed from the U. S. theaters. 

1. Glitter 

2. Gigli

3. Jem and the Holograms

4. United Passions

5. Delgo

To Sum Up:

It’s clear that on average, movies stay for around 4-5 weeks in the theaters. While the extraordinary movies get more weeks to spend in the theaters as per audience demand while few movies do not perform as per the set targets and are removed too early from the theaters. 

If a movie lasts hardly for 2-3 weeks, then that’s a clear sign that the movie wasn’t successful at the box office. 

Whereas, if a movie stays longer than the usual time period, take the hint, it’s a blockbuster. 

We talked about various factors that contribute towards making a movie successful in the theaters and that lead to their failures. Hope you are pretty much satisfied with this cinematic info. For more entertainment posts, stay tuned!! 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding How Long Do Movies Stay In Theaters?

Do theaters put on older movies on display?

Yes, they do every now and then. It is very simple and logical that older movies are the real gems that people can’t forget. So, to refresh the memory lane many times during any occasion or generally, these old movies are displayed in the theaters.

How long do the Marvel movie

Talking about the U.S., it’s seen that marvel movies usually stay for around 18-20 weeks in the theaters on loop.

Featured Image Credits: The New York Times

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