In the 1900s, movies were typically around 15 minutes long — that was the length of one reel (depending on playback speed and a few other variables). But in 1913, that changed significantly thanks to the blockbuster “Quo Vadis” — a two-hour epic that wasn’t just long, but had blockbuster ambitions.
Quo Vadis involved huge stunts, thousands of extras, and real Roman locations, taking movies to a scale little before seen. When it premiered, instead of playing as one of many short films in nickelodeons, it debuted in big concert halls and other prestigious venues. That led to a record box office and an industry-changing trend that started with director DW Griffith and spread elsewhere.