Expectations for James Cameron's long awaited return to the director's chair with Avatar are extremely high. And the running time seems to be a point of contention with the director's fans. Some have speculated that the film will clock in at over three hours, but according to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the total running length of the film will only be 150 minutes (two and a half hours) due to limits imposed by IMAX technology. The film could run a few minutes longer once credits have been added to the finished product.

This will allow for only two screenings a night at most theaters. The film will launch at midnight, and screen around the clock, but only for the first few days of release. At this time, it is unclear how many theater screens Avatar will play on, but speculation has it appearing on a record 5,500 screens. While most films only play on IMAX screens for an allotted three weeks, Avatar will play for 10 weeks with no new movie scheduled to appear in IMAX theaters until at least March.

The film is now committed to an eight-week initial run in domestic theaters. Avatar stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Peter Mensah, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald and will be released in theaters nationwide on December 18.

B. Alan Orange