One year ago, Avengers: Endgame delivered an epic conclusion to the MCU's Infinity Saga. The culminating film provided numerous iconic moments that gave fans nostalgia, including Captain America wielding Mjolnir, the Time Heist revisiting past MCU movies, and the most talked-about Avengers Assemble sequence, just to name a few. It's no wonder why the movie shattered box-office records on its way to toppling James Cameron's Avatar to become the highest-grossing film in the worldwide box office. With an unprecedented theatrical run on their belt, Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of Endgame, have reflected on the film's success and overall impact to fans.
In an interview with Deadline, the Russo Brothers looked back on the time when they - along with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and executive producer Louis D'Esposito - snuck into a theater to watch Avengers: Endgame with fans during the film's opening weekend. Here's what Joe Russo had to say about that emotional experience:
My most treasured memory is when Ant and I, Kevin Feige, Markus & McFeely and Lou D’Esposito snuck into the Westwood Theater on opening night to watch it with an audience. I’ve never had an experience like that in a movie theater, where an audience was that viscerally and emotionally connected to what was going on, vocalizing and emoting the way they were. We had chills all around and were brought to tears once or twice, realizing you told a story that had such binding communal impact. It was something we’ll never forget.
Anthony Russo added that the movie theater felt "like a rock arena" and that it was a humbling experience for him:
It’s related to what you’re exploring here. We grew up in Cleveland and rock music and going to concerts was everything. To be in a movie theater that feels like a rock arena, I never imagined it and to be part of that energy and see the crowds experience the movie in that way with that fervor, sharing it together and feeding one another. That was something I never anticipated and to see it happen on that movie…it keeps you humbled because you don’t know where art is going to take you or where movies take us. It was nice to be part of that moment.
Joe Russo also described what was so unique about watching Endgame in movie theaters:
Most special about Endgame was trying to replicate the feeling we had as kids and teens in movie theaters, the emotions we felt after slipping into a dark theater with a bunch of people we didn’t know and being inspired, moved, and made to laugh and cry and leaving with a feeling that stayed with us for days. And then we’d go back and see the same movie five times to try and recapture it. To draw a direct line to our experience on Endgame, it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
WHAT THIS MEANS
As evidenced by the reactions from the film's opening night that went viral recently, Avengers: Endgame gave fans an event-type movie experience. Having witnessed these first hand in a public theater, the Russos experienced a sense of community among fans. This could serve as an inspiration for not just the directing duo but also Marvel Studios to continue making films that have the same emotional impact that Endgame brought. There is no word when the duo will return to helm another MCU film, but this experience alone will likely entice them to jump back on the franchise sooner rather than later.
The Russos not only excelled in the creative and technical aspects of the film, but they managed to deliver on the emotional front as well. More than the unprecedented box office run, Endgame is going to be remembered as a cultural phenomenon that made the movie-theater experience exciting again. Such a feat was significant since digital streaming is slowly taking over the film industry. Amid the pandemic, it is necessary for fans to be reminded of how watching a movie in theaters is still the best way to experience this scale of film.