Last week, Avengers: Endgame co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo confirmed that the movie’s runtime sits at a hefty 3 hours and 58 seconds. For many filmgoers, this length will sound a little daunting, but if you’re holding out hope that the feature’s home release will have even more material to offer, you may be disappointed to hear that the Russos didn’t leave much on the cutting room floor.
In a recent interview with Collider, Joe Russo claimed that throughout all the editing, the film’s runtime barely budged.
“This is a weird one; we’ve been working on this movie for well over a year in editorial because we had finished it in 2018,” Russo said. “And it literally hasn’t moved maybe more than two minutes from its original runtime of the directors’ cut. It’s just a tough one, there’s a lot of story in it. And we like emotional stakes that require screen time.”
The filmmaker went on to remark that “almost everything” they shot ultimately made it into the theatrical release. But if it sounds like the Russo Brothers didn’t practice much restraint in putting together the final cut, Anthony also insisted that by the standards of three-hour movies, Endgame is a tightly constructed work.
“We love tight, propulsive storytelling. We like movies that are very dense in what they’re offering you moment to moment so that when you revisit them, there’s more there to keep chewing on. We try to structure movies that are very tight, and this is a tight three hours.”
From the sound of things, this compact structure was crafted before production began. Indeed, when Joe was asked if the film had many deleted scenes, he replied:
“There’s a handful, there’s not a ton of them.”
These comments all seem very much in line with Joe’s recent remarks in an interview with ComicBook.com, when he explained that fitting everything into the runtime was “very much worked out on the script level” with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. In the same interview, the pair also dismissed the rumor that they were ever seriously considering an intermission for the film, before advising audiences not to drink too much liquid prior to their screening.
Interestingly, the brothers also mentioned earlier this year that test viewers rarely felt the need to get up to go to the bathroom. Sounds promising, but you can judge for yourself if Avengers: Endgame is three hours well spent when the flick hits theaters on April 26th.