Show of hands, who wants an intermission during that next multi-hour blockbuster movie?

After all, the strain on back and bladder is growing, thanks to long running times, from 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” (3 hours, 2 minutes) to 2022’s “Elvis” (2 hours, 39 minutes).

So perhaps it’s time for a return to the era when films such as 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia” broke midway through its 3 hour, 42 minute runtime so moviegoers could get refreshed.

Win-win, right? Theater owners get to sell more overpriced concessions and you get a chance to stretch and refuel.

Not going to happen. That’s the consensus of a trio of movie experts USA TODAY consulted: Leonard Maltin, noted critic and film historian; Jeff Bock, senior media analyst for Exhibitor Relations, and Dave Karger, a host of Turner Classic Movies.

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Even James Cameron, arguably the king of long movies – from “Titanic” (3 hours, 14 minutes) to “Avatar” (2 hours, 40 minutes) – thinks film fans need to suck it up.

Anticipating criticism for the running time of “Avatar 2,” Cameron recently told Empire magazine: “I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch (TV) for eight hours. … Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: It’s OK to get up and go pee.”

There are reasons why you won’t be getting that intermission.

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It’s about the dollars and cents, folks

Tom Cruise stars in "Top Gun: Maverick," a sequel to the original hit that has been largely responsible for bringing fans back into theaters since the star insisted that the movie only be available theatrically.

With “Top Gun” helping lure moviegoers back into dark palaces outside their homes, theater owners are eager to maximize the number of screenings per day.

Adding a 15-minute intermission to each showing would likely result in fewer movie times, lost revenue that can’t be made up for, no matter how much pricey popcorn and soda is sold during a break, says Bock.

Besides, he adds, “from working in and around theaters, I can tell you that the majority of people buy their snacks at the beginning and they’re done. Asking them to get up midway would be a reversal of how we ingest concessions.”

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Movie directors don’t want to interrupt their movie’s storytelling

Francis Ford Coppola never shied away from making long movies, whether it was "The Godfather" or "Apocalypse Now" (shown here). After both proved to be hits, he indulged himself and fans with even longer director's cuts.

Not long ago, directors turned in movies at lengths the studios demanded. If the film hit big, they released a longer “director’s cut” version. Today, everything seems to be the director’s cut, says Karger.

“An intermission is a fabulous idea, because no movie needs to be longer than two hours in my opinion,” he says. “But many filmmakers would balk at any interruption of their vision.”

And no one is asking them to be succinct, says Maltin. “Not sure if it’s a certain amount of indulgence or a lack of discipline, but no pressure is being brought to bear,” he says. “Meanwhile, the audience speaks with its dollars.”

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COVID pandemic has trained us to watch for endless hours

Netflix hit "Stranger Things" helped usher in a new pandemic era of binge streaming, with fans often setting aside entire days to roar through an entire season at a time. The show's Season 4 finale clocked in at two and a half hours.

COVID-19 turbocharged our streaming era, which in turn has made consuming six or more hours of episodic television in one sitting routine. Granted, in the comfort our own homes. But we’re essentially well-trained now for the multi-hour in-theater experience, says Bock.

“For the right three-hour movie, no one will balk, especially younger people who might happily watch nine hours of ‘Stranger Things’ in one go,” he says.

A frequent complaint about millennials is their smartphone-trained short attention spans, which could lead them to resist spending hours in a theater. But that trope “is challenged by the proliferation of movies of ridiculous length aimed at them,” says Maltin. “Each of Michael Bay’s ‘Transformer’ movies seem longer than the last.”

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Movie theater experience shifting to accommodate epics

Moviegoers watch "Jaws" while floating on inner tubes on a man-made lake outside of Austin during a screening set up by Alamo Drafthouse. The movie theater group made an early mark in a growing trend toward making the movie experience more fun and comfortable.

Early in the pandemic, there was a genuine fear that movie theaters across the nation would shutter forever. Studios began bringing movies directly to streaming platforms, suggesting a permanent and imminent shift to in-home entertainment.

But theaters are bouncing back, many adding luxury touches such as wide reclining seats and in-seat food delivery service, making the theater a bit more like your living room.

“Many theaters are undergoing renovations that are changing the moviegoing experience,” says Bock. “All of these creature comforts are going to make it that much easier for you to sit in your seat comfortably for two and a half hours or more.”

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We really don’t want to shatter the magic with a break

Sir David Lean's enduring classic "Lawrence of Arabia" rings in at nearly four hours, and was presented as a two-part film with an intermission between reels so moviegoers could get up and refresh themselves. Movie experts, some recalling those days fondly, say that tradition is never coming back.

Maltin does pine for the days when a sweeping film like “Lawrence of Arabia” had a dignified mid-show stretch, but he admits few movies are worthy of such indulgences. As for today’s fare, he cites a friend. “I think it was Judd Apatow who said on this topic, ‘What’s the hurry, you have to get home for an appointment?’ ”

Karger, who recently berated himself for having to run to the restroom in the middle of a screening for Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” offers this preparatory counsel. “I will starve myself two hours before a movie so I don’t have to have this dilemma,” he says with a laugh.

Movies have always offered an escape, and that gets arguably shattered by an intermission, says Bock. His advice? “Get a small soda, and if you really need to go, sprint.”

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