Four-time Marvel Studios directors Anthony and Joe Russo predict the movie industry brought to a crawl by coronavirus will have a “significant” rebound once moviegoers are able to safely return to theaters. The Captain America and Avengers filmmakers surpassed the James Cameron-directed Avatar to score the highest-grossing film of all time with last year’s $2.798 billion-grossing Avengers: Endgame, part of a record-setting industry high of $42.5 billion in global box office receipts in 2019. Amid months-long movie theater closures and a series of high profile delays, including Marvel’s own Black Widow and The Eternals, the Russo Brothers expect a crave for communal storytelling and the concept of the “brand new” to revive the industry post-pandemic:
“Even though we grew up as real film lovers and the theatrical experience was so critical to why we wanted to be filmmakers, and what we loved about filmmaking, we’ve always had this slightly agnostic idea about what filmmaking is,” Anthony Russo said on The Film That Lit My Fuse. “Because we like the idea that there are new ways to express oneself that don’t always look like the traditional ways that we’ve expressed ourselves cinematically. So we like being pushed by changing technology, and sort of changing circumstances to find new ways to use cinema to communicate with people, to tell stories.”
On the idea of a rebound, Russo added, “We’re trying to look at this as an opportunity for where can it lead us as storytellers, how can we find the road forward to create something that people want to share together as audiences? I think there’s always going to be people chasing that idea, there’s always going to be people chasing the communication between all of us through film, through storytelling, and through cinema.”
“I don’t know what the rebound is going to be like, but I know that it’s probably going to have the elements of it that are brand new, that we didn’t have before,” he said. “And I’m most excited for what kind of new areas this pushes us into.”
The rebound will be “significant, there’s no question,” said Joe Russo. “As Ant said, we all crave communal storytelling, and that’s not going anywhere. Will technology assist it in finding a new way to present itself? Maybe, maybe the roots of it will start in this.”
“But I think the minute that people can safely get back in a movie theater,” he added, “the business will be as potent as it’s ever been.”
The Russos agreed in a June interview that visiting reopened movie theaters amid a surge in COVID-19 cases is a “high risk” situation.
“At the end of the day, where are you gonna put the risk? I think there are more immediate places to put the risk in terms of human connection than a theater full of strangers, unfortunately,” Anthony said during a virtual interview with Kevin McCarthy. “It’s a very personal question, and it depends on people’s individual circumstances, but unfortunately, I don’t see myself getting into a theater in the foreseeable future.”
The filmmakers recently launched their remotely recorded Russo Brothers’ Pizza Film School series on YouTube.
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