Avengers: Endgame Directors Defend The Movie’s 3 Hour Runtime

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Avengers: Endgame has a lot to cram into its runtime. It’s essentially the finale to the last decade-plus of MCU storytelling, finishing the tale that began way back in Captain America: The First Avenger when we first saw the Tesseract. Plus, each one of its gargantuan cast of characters deserves their own moment in the spotlight and nobody wants to see, say, the Guardians of the Galaxy being short-changed. That’s why the announcement that Endgame is set to be three hours long wasn’t exactly a big surprise.

Still, the length has already attracted some criticism. For one, it may affect the film’s box office potential as cinemas can only fit in so many showings of it per day. More prosaically, three hours is a long time spent sitting in one place without a break – especially if you’ve been sucking down a jumbo-sized soft drink. I foresee a lot of crossed legs during the finale.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Stephen Markus and Christopher McFeely have (once again) explained why the film is this long though, saying that it’s necessary because of the story they’re trying to tell.

“Joe and I like very propulsive storytelling,” said Anthony. “We like to keep it tight and focused, and to give the audience a thrill ride. But this movie… you know, no one’s been pushing us to cut the film. We usually are; we’re primarily pushing ourselves. The number of characters, the scope of the story, the fact that it was a conclusion. It’s just that everything lined up [so] that it was going to be a difficult story to tell. Meaning that it would require a lot of screen time to tell it properly.”

Markus adds:

“It always felt like this was not a movie that you should cut stuff out of for efficiency. I don’t think there’s anybody there who’s like, ‘OK, I’ve got to get out of there in 85 minutes, I want a nice, quick wrap-up.’ You’ve earned a long, satisfying, conclusion to the story you tell. So I don’t think there was anybody who wanted to trade it out for a speedy box-office. Even watching it, it doesn’t feel like a slog.”

Disney is reportedly seeking to minimize the effects of Endgame‘s runtime on its box office by encouraging cinemas to allocate it more screens than they would for a blockbuster movie. That’s all well and good, but the film could prove to be such a success that anything opening within two weeks of either side of it could see itself muscled out of screen real estate.

Either way, we’ll find out if that length is justified in just 23 days, when Avengers: Endgame opens on April 26th.

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