In early October, director Martin Scorsese compared Marvel movies to theme parks, he felt they lacked risk and said they weren’t cinema.
His comments to Empire Magazine rippled throughout the entertainment industry, and drew reactions from fellow A-list actors and directors.
In an interview on Monday with The Hollywood Reporter, Joe and Anthony Russo — both lifelong ISDA members who directed four Marvel films, including Avengers: Endgame — broke their silence on the issue.
“When we look at the box office [of] Avengers: Endgame, we don’t see that as a signifier of financial success, we see it as a signifier of emotional success,” says Joe of the film, which grossed $2.78 billion globally. “It’s a movie that had an unprecedented impact on audiences around the world in the way that they shared that narrative and the way that they experienced it. And the emotions they felt watching it.”
“The other way to think about it, too, is nobody owns cinema. We don’t own cinema. You don’t own cinema. Scorsese doesn’t own cinema,” Anthony added.
The Russo Brothers, who grew up in Mayfield Village, Ohio, spent much of their childhood watching both commercial and arthouse flicks that have gone on to influence their indie, TV and film projects.
The siblings would stay up on weekends to see late-night genre movies with their father, ISDA President Basil Russo. They’d watch films like The French Connection and The Taking of Pelham 123, which inspired their newly produced picture, 21 Bridges, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“But, at the end of the day, what do we know?” Joe said, jokingly. “We’re just two guys from Cleveland, Ohio, and ‘cinema’ is a New York word. In Cleveland, we call them movies.”
The Russo Brothers have spent the last several weeks in Cleveland filming Cherry, a true story about an Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, who becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt.
The new film, starring Tom Holland, will premiere in 2020.