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Avengers: Endgame Co-Director Says Movie Theatres Are Here To Stay

The movie theatre business may become "complicated" due to COVID-19 and other factors, but it's not going anywhere, Joe Russo says.


The record-setting Avengers: Endgame released in theatres one year ago this month. It's a very different world today, with theatres closed around the world due to COVID-19. In a new interview with Deadline, co-director Joe Russo reflected on how he believes the movie theatre business will once again thrive, but there will complications in the coming years.

"Theatrical is going to be complicated over the next year or two, but we don't think it's going anywhere. We will always want that communal experience," he said.

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Joe Russo said the movie theatre business is facing greater competition from the likes of Netflix and other digital platforms, and this could shake up the traditional movie-going business. The quality of films released on digital platforms instead of in theatres is getting "higher and higher," Russo reflected. The newer, younger audience audience has grown accustomed to watching movies and TV shows at home on smaller screens. "This next generation isn't afraid to watch content on their phones and computers," he said.

For Endgame, Russo said he and his co-director brother Anthony were trying to replicate the feeling they had as teenagers at the cinema.

"Most special about Endgame was trying to replicate the feeling we had as kids and teens in movie theaters, the emotions we felt after slipping into a dark theater with a bunch of people we didn't know and being inspired, moved, and made to laugh and cry and leaving with a feeling that stayed with us for days," he said.

Joe and Anthony's latest movie is the action film Extraction, starring Thor actor Chris Hemsworth. The Russo brothers produced the film, and they pointed out that Netflix allowed the film to have a bigger budget than it might have under the traditional studio theatrical model.

"I would argue we got double the budget from Netflix that we would have gotten theatrically," Joe Russo said, noting that director Sam Hargrave had never directed before and this would have given studios pause about increasing the budget.

Joe Russo said one issue with the current movie market is that film studios are using "outdated models," including box office results, to determine if a movie is successful or not.

"The greatest thing that Netflix has done is take away box office from defining the success or quality of a film," he said. "Movies are having trouble being funded in the old way and models don't support it anymore. Netflix is supporting those films, in a way and at a financial level we've not seen before."

Joe Russo added that he doesn't like to get drawn into the debate between theatrical and digital because it's not helpful and the audience largely does not care. "It's a bad habit we adopted from years of film folks thumbing their noses at TV and vice versa. Some of the best quality storytelling we've ever had is on television right now through digital distribution," he said.

Go to Deadline to read the full review.

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