How Long Does a Movie Stay in Theaters?

How long does a movie stay in theaters? There is no exact answer to this question. It depends on several factors and it’s changing over time. I will discuss those factors in this article. I will also provide an approximate idea of how long a movie stays in theaters. Let’s readout.


On average, movies run for about four weeks in at least 2,000 theaters. Some films will run in at least 1,000 theaters for another week after that. So, generally, it’s safe to say that a movie stays in the theater for about two weeks. This run time is not fixed for all movies of all time. There are exceptions too.

Today, there are more theaters. In addition, the prints are digital so they can simultaneously release in 4000 theaters for a lot less than it used to cost to open in 400 theaters in 1970. So, the initial investment, in terms of distribution costs, might be greater than it was in the 70s.

But that cost won’t be so much for the prints as it is the added costs of advertising in so many markets at once. With the advent of the Internet, if a movie sucks the whole world will know it by the morning after opening night. This is why you will see a movie pulled from the theater in just a week or two after its initial release.


How Long Does a Movie Stay in Theaters
  • There are some valid reasons for how long a movie stays in theaters. They are: It depends on how successful the film is. Theater owners and movie studios split ticket revenue on a sliding scale. It favors the studios early in the run but the theaters the longer the run lasts. So, while there’s an incentive for theater owners to keep a film booked for a long time. There is intense pressure from the studios to end the run after just three or four weeks.
  • From a consumer point of view, most movies are out of first-run theaters within 90 days, at which point, they’ll be available to rent or buy for home viewing, either on a disc, video-on-demand, online digital purchase, or streaming subscription platforms. They may also hit discount second-run theaters at this point, so the movie’s theatrical run may extend for a few more weeks, even if the film is already on home video. It’s pretty rare, though, for a movie to stay in first- or second-run theaters for more than six months total.
  •  If a movie is really unpopular, then it’ll get pull within two weeks or less. But if a film remains popular for a long time, the theater may hold onto it for an uncertain long time. This answer may differ in the USA as it differs worldwide. Bollywood movie theaters tend to keep their popular movies showing in theaters for a very long time. For instance, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge holds the record for the longest-running film as it is still being shown in theaters, almost 20 years after its first release.

More Issues

  • Theater can’t afford to keep an unpopular movie that long since they have to make rooms for new films which will attract people. Screens are limited and so theaters try to maximize their profits as much as possible by exhibiting popular films. After 30 days, it’s generally more difficult to interest moviegoers to pay money to see the film in a movie theater.
  • It depends upon the producers and budget of the film. High budget film producers hire most of the theaters and run movie as long as they want.
  • Above all, A popular film can last for a very long time in the theater. For example, Lawrence of Arabia one time, which played for almost a full year because of its popularity. On the contrary, lousy films would drop as soon as possible.

End Words

Earlier movies used to run for 50 to 100 days and in some cases up to 175 days in a theater but due to the digital revolution, piracy issues, and increased number of movie theaters (screens), a movie’s life in a theater is cut short. Within a month or two of the release, movies turn up on TV or digital platforms Now movies are instantly available on the internet after its release. So, it is the producer’s strategy to release it on a large number of screens in its first week. This ratio also varies on how the movie is performing at Box office. If the movie superhit, it remains in theaters for a long time than flop movies. That’s all!