is one of the best places to get early info on movie releases, and site runner Ed Havens is usually completely and totally correct. So that means that I believe the running time he has listed for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End:

170 minutes.

That’s just a hair under three hours. Some of that running time is obviously credits (and in an FX heavy movie like this, don’t be surprised if the credits run most of ten minutes), but that’s still one damn long summer blockbuster about pirates and magic.

Pirates 2 was a good enough movie, but damn it was long. It felt long. It just kept on going way past the point where most people in the audience were satiated – it was like Gore Verbinski was acting out the Gluttony kill from Seven cinematically. The movie would have been so much better with 15 to 20 minutes cut out, and it’s not hard to imagine that At World’s End will be just as bloated.

What’s funny is that I have a draft of the third film right here, and it’s clocking in at a lean 99 pages. This draft is from at least 2005, though, and I know that Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio continued working on it well past the version I have. That said, I bet you that the story is still the same, and that’s it’s all kinds of extra business – stuff that’s cute but could easily hit the editing room floor – that’s left.

I don’t mind a long film. I’ll sit through as many minutes of a movie as is necessary to tell the tale. And sometimes I’ll sit through extra minutes when they pay off in texture and depth. But that wasn’t what Dead Man’s Chest offered, and I’m sure that At World’s End will be more of the same. The extra minutes will be filled with adventure and action and witty one-liners – all the stuff that we want from a movie like this! – but just more than we can really handle.

At World’s End is twenty minutes longer than Dead’s Man Chest, and thirty minutes longer than Spider-Man 3, which is opening a couple of weeks before. I don’t doubt that the film will go on to make huge amounts of money (Disney sure as hell isn’t sweating it), but I wonder where the breaking point is for audiences. Many people blamed Grindhouse’s failure on its running time, but the real issue with a running time is whether the movie is worth the time investment – as someone on our message board pointed out, the top 5 grossing movies (global) all run pretty darn long. Will At World’s End justify that running time after the last film was just a little too long? Or has Gore Verbinski left behind his restraint, over-packing his film? The first reviews should start coming our way in a couple of weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see what the consensus is.