It's been an interesting time to go to the movies over the last few years. The pandemic has given us a lot of anxiety about sitting and watching things. But one thing that I find interesting is that Hollywood has also given us a lot of movies.

And it feels like every huge franchise has been releasing movies that are at least 2.5 hours long. But is that just a feeling, or are there statistics to back it up? 

The quick answer is "no."

There have always been long movies around, but as of right now, no one is tracking the average runtime of the thousands of movies coming out now versus whenever we classify "then." But right now it feels like we get so many expensive tentpoles that studios think the length of time on screen correlates to money. 

Media and entertainment analyst Daniel Loría spoke to CNN recently and talked about how the length of movies has changed based on our perceptions.

He said, "Some types of movies that weren't as long before definitely are longer now. But not every blockbuster is getting longer."

With streaming being one of the biggest places movies drop, they do not worry about how long a project is. Streamers just want you on the app.

Studios used to put more emphasis on theatrical releases. They wanted movies to play many times in theaters, so they sought the largest opportunities to get people through the doors. Now, with tentpoles being their bets, studios are often balancing how many screens they can get their movie on, coupled with how many times it can show a day. 

In the evolving center of Hollywood, you would think this would make studio films shorter.

But what it's actually done is made these huge tentpole investments try to keep audiences by providing the largest, grandest spectacle. That means if you expect people to pay $15-$20 a ticket, you might have a longer, more epic movie in theaters so people think they got their money's worth. Event movies, therefore, become longer movies. 

More and more, we're seeing audiences willing to sit through long films if they're critically acclaimed, buzzworthy, or if they're award-contenders. People have upped their tolerance and their expectations. 

As Hollywood evolves around streaming, and theatrical distribution grows and changes, we're going to keep an eye on the evolution of runtimes and audience expectations.

Check out our previous coverage of how audiences feel about long movies, and what some of the best long movies are.

Got any predictions? Let us know in the comments.