Ever since making the second highest grossing movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation), Joe and Anthony Russo have been able to do pretty much whatever they want. And so they have. They followed Avengers: Endgame up with a crime drama (Cherry), and they followed they that up with insanely expensive thriller (the forthcoming The Gray Man). Both were made for streamers (Apple TV+ and Netflix, respectively), and while they’d prefer if people see their films on the big screen, they also have some big (albeit dubious) words for movie theaters.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter (in which they also slam MCU haters as “juvenile”), the Russos discuss how they think the industry should move away from, as Anthony put it, “the old models,” and “reach audiences that haven’t been engaged before.” They even think studios should embrace streaming even more than they do, and treat the moviegoing experience as more of a luxury.
“A thing to remember, too, is it’s an elitist notion to be able to go to a theater. It’s very f*cking expensive,” said Joe. “So, this idea that was created — that we hang on to — that the theater is a sacred space, is bullshit. And it rejects the idea of allowing everyone in under the tent. Where digital distribution is valuable, other than what I said earlier about how it pushed diversity, is that people can share accounts; they can get 40 stories for the cost of one story.”
It should be noted that the very service that forked over $200 million for the Russos’ latest is currently losing subscribers and, therefore, money. Meanwhile, audiences have started going back to theaters in the kind of numbers seen pre-pandemic. Also, while moviegoing is more expensive than ever, it remains, as it’s been for about a century, one of the cheapest forms of public entertainment out there.
Another “old model” the Russos think should be put out to pasture? The idea of directors as chief authors of the films they make.
“Auteur filmmaking is 50 years old at this point. It was conceived in the ’70s,” Joe said. “We grew up on that. We were kids, it was really important to us. But we’re also aware that the world needs to change and the more that we try to prevent it from changing the more chaos we create. It’s not anyone’s place to reject the next generation’s ideas.”
You can read their full interview over at THR.