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Martin Scorsese Defends Killers of the Flower Moon’s 3.5-Hour Runtime: ‘Give Cinema Some Respect’

Martin Scorsese Defends 3.5-Hour Runtime for Killers of the Flower Moon: 'Give Cinema Some Respect'
Martin Scorsese at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 21, 2023. PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

Martin Scorsese knows our binge-watching habits, so he has faith that audiences will sit through his new three-and-a-half-hour movie, Killers of the Flower Moon.

“People say it’s three hours, but come on,” the director, 80, told The Hindustan Times in an interview published on Monday, October 9. “You can sit in front of the TV and watch something for five hours. Also, there are many people who watch theatre for 3.5 hours. There are real actors on stage, you can’t get up and walk around. You give it that respect, give cinema some respect.”

While he’s not wrong, — many people will happily press play on the next episode for several hours of television — they do so from the comfort of their own homes, hitting pause when necessary. Killers of the Flower Moon will eventually release on Apple TV+ after a theatrical run, which starts October 20 — but Scorsese doesn’t want audiences to watch the film at home.

“In the case of Killers of the Flower Moon, it should be seen on the big screen,” he advised. “Are we intending to make a blockbuster? No, we’re making a movie, which should watched on the big screen. Other pictures I made? Maybe not. Sometimes, it’s the strength of the picture too, if it plays well on a smaller screen, that’s interesting. Killers could play on a small screen, but in order to truly immerse yourself, you should take out the time.”

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Based on a true story, Killers of the Flower Moon is a western crime drama. Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Mollie Kyle (Lily Gladstone) fall in love amid the suspicious murders of members of the Osage Nation. The killings come right after oil was discovered underneath their land, making them rich overnight.

Martin Scorsese Defends 3.5-Hour Runtime for Killers of the Flower Moon: 'Give Cinema Some Respect'
Lily Gladstone and Martin Scorsese behind the scenes of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ premiering in theaters around the world on October 20, 2023. Melinda Sue Gordon

Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons also star in the epic, which was written by Eric Roth and Scorsese and based on David Grann’s bestselling book.

Killers of the Flower Moon is just three minutes less than the runtime of his last movie, 2019’s The Irishman. The Wolf of Wall Street, released in 2013, was also a three-hour event. The Oscar winner hasn’t had a theatrical release come in under two hours since 1977’s Mean Streets.

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Scorsese previously defended the 206-minute runtime of Killers of the Flower Moon in May after the length was initially confirmed.

“I say to the audience out there, if there is an audience for this kind of thing, ‘Make a commitment. Your life might be enriched. This is a different kind of picture; I really think it is. Well, I’ve given it to you, so hey, commit to going to a theater to see this,'” Scorsese told Deadline. “Spending the evening, or the afternoon with this picture, with this story, with these people, with this world that reflects on the world we are in today, more so than we might realize.”

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