What’s the last great two-hour movie you saw in theaters? If you’re having trouble answering that question, perhaps Joe Russo is right in proclaiming the 120-minute movie is an endangered film species. Speaking alongside brother Anthony Russo at Business Insider Ignition (via Deadline), Joe predicted the two-hour film is on its way out of Hollywood and the next generation of filmmakers won’t be limited to the long-dominant runtime.
“We are in a major moment of disruption,” Joe Russo said. “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 last directorial effort, “Avengers: Infinity War,” ran 149 minutes, making it the longest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. The runtime will surely be surpassed by the duo’s “Avengers 4,” out in theaters this upcoming summer. Last Joe revealed, the film was hovering around the three-hour mark, although Disney will probably want the brothers to get the film’s runtime into the 140-150 minute range. Most blockbuster tentpoles these days run either just over or well over the two-hour mark.
While Marvel films like “Black Panther” (134 minutes) and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (118 minutes) were more or less two-hour movies this year, Joe argued that MCU entries present a “new form of storytelling” in that each movie is a continuation of larger universe-building story. This structure “exploits the two-hour narrative in a different way,” the director said. Marvel movies currently can hover around the 120-minute mark because previous entries do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of backstory and exposition.
Marvel’s next release is “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Parent company Disney has not yet announced the film’s official runtime.