Russo Brothers Explain Why ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Needed a Three-Hour Runtime

Clocking in at 3 hours and 2 minutes, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is the longest-ever movie in the MCU. The film’s directors explain why that runtime was necessary.

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo and cast & crew of 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Image via Getty/Jesse Grant

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo and cast & crew of 'Avengers: Infinity War'

In less than a month, the Infinity saga of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will conclude when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters. After serving as the directors of last year's Infinity War, Anthony and Joe Russo have the unenviable task of bringing this final chapter to a close with Endgame, and their final product is a film that comes with a whopping runtime of three hours and two minutes. 

In an interview with Box Office Pro, Joe Russo explained that a three-hour runtime has been a constant throughout the addition and subtraction portion of their editing process. "We’re still looking at a similar time [approximately three hours]. This one’s been very specific in its run time. It really hasn’t changed since we executed the first cut of the film," he said. "Even though we’ve shot a lot of footage between now and then, we’ve swapped things out and the water keeps rising to the same level because the story’s so dense. We have so many characters that we’re working with again that require that kind of run time." 

Russo revealed that he and his brother were determined to allow Endgame the opportunity to "breathe emotionally" since the film carries such a sizable emotional weight with its remaining characters, and details how their respective stories end or continue from here. 

"My brother [Anthony Russo] and I are really committed to emotional stakes, and emotion requires story real estate," he said. "When you have a sprawling plot with a lot of characters and emotional stakes, it requires time to breathe emotionally. On the scale, you’re just going to wind up at a certain run time. We’ve been really hard on the film. We don’t like excessive run times; it’s just very difficult wrapping up 10 years of storytelling." 

Avengers: Endgame comes out on April 26.

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