Movie studios usually slash a film’s runtime before it hits theaters. Longer movies mean fewer showtimes per day—and fewer potential box-office returns. No one wants to watch a movie that drones on and on, either. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was cut, as was Blade Runner 2049, and many other movies throughout film history.
Thor: Ragnarok is the rare movie that actually got longer leading up to its release.
In July, director Taika Waititi, told news outlets that he expected the film to clock in around 100 minutes. But the movie, now in theaters, has a runtime of 130 minutes. It wasn’t because of reshoots—now standard in most major productions—plot changes, or other complications. It was to make the movie funnier.
Fans at San Diego Comic-Con were uproarious after they left the famed Hall H following a sneak peak of the movie this summer. GQ said the trailer was the best thing to come out of the four-day pop-culture convention. And Marvel wanted to lean into what audiences liked about and expected from the film.
“After Comic-Con, we decided to put lots of the jokes back in,” Waititi told Collider. “We put a little life back into it.”
Waititi said reshoots were completed before Comic-Con, which was why he expected the movie to come in under two hours then. That was, until he and Marvel decided to extend the run-time. It was a smart call. Thor: Ragnarok has been called one of the funniest Marvel movies ever, and that’s saying something given that the Norse God of Thunder isn’t exactly the jester of the superhero group.
It also avoided the Suicide Squad trap. The Warner Bros. movie, which actually did pretty well at the box office, was considered a disappointment because it failed to live up to the extremely high bar set by trailers and test screenings.
Thor: Ragnarok, which already brought in $109 million abroad from regions like the UK, South Korea, and Australia, is expected to make a thunderous $100-120 million debut in the US and Canada over the weekend. It’s also opening in major markets like China and Japan.
Waititi’s first cut of the film, by the way, was even longer—at 2 hours and 40 minutes. The additional 30 minutes that were cut were “all humor, like jokes that went on too long,” he said.