Want a Break in the 3-Hour ‘Avengers’ Movie? You’ll Need a Passport or a Time Machine

At a multiplex in Jerusalem, midway through the three-hour epic “Avengers: Endgame,” the hammer-wielding superhero Thor was gracing the screen when the picture suddenly stopped.

Thor’s golden locks cut out, the Hebrew word for “pause” appeared and audience members began to rise from their seats. About 10 minutes later, the superheros resumed their battle against the villain Thanos.

It has been decades since American movie theaters regularly had intermissions. But when word of the film’s length got out earlier this year, it prompted online pleas from some fans for a break in the action. The filmmakers shot the idea down, and American theater chains have publicly responded to tweets from moviegoers to make clear that, no, there will be no built-in moment to buy or dispose of their Coca-Colas.

Intermissions were once a regular part of the American moviegoing experience, even with films that were not “Gone With The Wind”-sized (three hours, 58 minutes) epics. The reason was partly practical: Theaters needed time to swap out film reels.

Jonathan Kuntz, a film historian who teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles, remembered seeing “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962 and going to his car during intermission, thinking the movie was over (it ran to a whopping three hours, 48 minutes).

But in the rest of the country, facing the possibility of needing to leave the theater and missing key plot points, moviegoers prepared themselves for a battle of their own.

The American movie industry is unlikely to embrace intermissions again, despite all the snacks viewers might buy during a pause. And adding in an intermission for a movie like “Endgame” would only further complicate the scheduling headache that comes with showing a wildly popular three-hour (not including trailers) film.

A longer movie, paired with extra time after the show needed to clean the theater, would typically mean fewer showtimes, and thus fewer ticket sales, said Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, an entertainment research firm. Instead, some theaters are simply opening earlier and closing later — or not at all — to screen “Endgame” as many times as possible.

In the United States, 29 AMC theaters were showing “Endgame” around the clock from Thursday to Friday. An additional 17 were open for 72 hours straight.

“The fan base is so rabid that they can eke out a lot of money with these multiple showings,” Mr. Bock said.

Marvel movies, in particular, have trained fans to stay in their seats for as long as possible. Most Marvel films include scenes after the credits that give clues about future films, and the credits themselves can be quite long (about 10 minutes for “Endgame”) because of all the visual effects involved. Given that “Endgame” is meant to conclude the Avengers saga, the existence or lack of a post-credits scene has been the subject of much online discussion.

Still, many Marvel fans are remaining in their seats to the very end, and most of those interviewed after they saw the movie on Thursday said they did not mind that they didn’t have a chance to get up sooner.

At an AMC in Phoenix, Matt Hoskins, 40, said the Marvel fandom was so strong that the length simply did not matter to most of them. Plus, adding an intermission — with its air of 20th-century nostalgia — wouldn’t fit well in a mainstream 21st-century film about superheroes, he said.

“This is a comic-book movie,” he said. “This is not Evita.”

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