Peter Jackson's King Kong is set to be an epic in more ways than one.
The movie to be released in the United States in December will run for a full three hours.
But Universal Pictures say they are not worried about the length because epics are the "brand" of Jackson.
They saw it as an advantage in an era when jaded moviegoers are hungering for something extraordinary.
"This is a three-hour feast of an event," the New York Times quoted Marc Shmuger, vice-chairman of Universal Pictures, as saying.
Universal chairwoman Stacey Snider said she anticipated the movie would be long but "not this long".
As recently as late September, she had expected King Kong to run about two hours and 40 minutes but yesterday she expressed delight with the picture's three-hour cut.
"This is a masterpiece. I can't wait to unveil it," she told the New York Times.
The film is substantially longer than Universal had anticipated, presenting dual obstacles: the extra length has helped push the budget by a third, to US$207 million ($298 million), and long films receive fewer showings each day.
The studio will now need the level of sustained audience interest that made hits out of earlier three-hour movies such as Titanic and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Ms Snider said the increased length had boosted the film's cost by US$32 million more than planned.
The New York Times reported that Jackson and Universal had reached an agreement on paying for extra effects.
Ms Snider said that as of Wednesday, the studio was splitting the US$32 million expense with Jackson.
But the paper said that in an email message, Jackson appeared to disagree, saying instead he would be paying for the extra spending.
Referring to his partner Fran Walsh - a co-writer with Philippa Boyens - Jackson said: "Since Fran and I believed in the three-hour cut and wanted to take responsibility for the extra length, we offered to pay for these extra shots ourselves. That's what we're doing."
He said the extra effects shot would cost "considerably below US$32 million".