Russos: “The Two Hour Movie Is Dying”

In one of the more unusual comments from a filmmaker about modern cinema of late, “Avengers: Infinity War” co-director Joe Russo says he sees the extinction of the two-hour movie looming.

Speaking with Deadline, Russo says filmmakers will no longer be restricted to the generally targeted runtime of 120 minutes to tell their stories:

“We are in a major moment of disruption. The two-hour film has had a great run for about 100 years but it’s become a very predictive format. It’s difficult, I think, to work in it… It’s sort of like saying, ‘We all like sonnets, so let’s tell sonnets for 100 years, as many ways as we possibly can… I’m not sure that this next generation that is coming up is going to see two-hour narrative as the predominant form of storytelling for them.”

Joe and Anthony Russo’s “Avengers: Infinity War” clocked in at 149 minutes and they’ve previously admitted their first cut of the upcoming fourth film is clocking in at about three hours and it will be whittled down further, though not necessarily because they want to.

Russo also says Marvel movies should be seen as an exception to the rule and they are a ‘new form of storytelling’ as each film is a continuation of the universe-building the MCU has been doing for a decade – thus the structure “exploits the two-hour narrative in a different way”.

Russo’s comments come as master filmmaker Martin Scorsese declared at the Marrakech International Film Festival on Sunday (via Variety that: “The cinema of the past hundred years has gone. It’s changed”. While he was down on exhibition’s future, he was also optimistic about opportunities for independent filmmakers: “People such as Netflix are taking risks. ‘The Irishman’ is a risky film. No one else wanted to fund the pic for five to seven years. And of course we’re all getting older. Netflix took the risk.”