Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo believes the future of independent films lies in the digital space with streaming, not theaters.
Joe Russo, who co-directed Marvel Studios films like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame with his brother Anthony Russo, believes the future of independent movies lies in the digital space with streaming, not theaters.
“I don’t see a resurgence of independent movies at theaters. I just don’t,” said Joe Russo, speaking at the Rome International Film Festival (as reported by Deadline). “You get more money to make them digitally. It’s the easiest thing for Netflix to greenlight and nobody really bothers you [creatively]. Movies are going to evolve, I’m not sure what theaters will look like but I know it’s going to be more premium.”
While the Russos worked on many films and TV shows in the 2000s, it was 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier that put their name on the map. They went on to launch their AGBO banner in 2016, allowing them to lend their names as producers to mid-budget movies like 21 Bridges. The brothers have since branched out into developing projects for different studios and streaming services, ranging from Netflix’s hit action/thriller Extraction (which the Russos co-wrote and produced) to Apple TV+’s biographical crime drama Cherry (which the Russos directed).
According to Joe Russo, he and his brother found it “inefficient” to work exclusively with a studio: “It damages your leverage, forces you to make choices you don’t want to make.” He also indicated his hope is to collaborated with more international filmmakers in the future. “What’s compelling to me is that we start hearing from different voices other than Hollywood. If you work in a regional market it’s critical you’re there to promote local talent,” said Russo. “On a personal level I’m more interested in diversity of storytelling — the world is a better place when more diverse voices are heard.”
That said, the Russos aren’t planning to leave the world of Hollywood tentpoles behind them. The pair are currently producing Disney’s live-action Hercules remake and were reportedly in talks to direct another Marvel Cinematic Universe film when Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over Black Widow‘s hybrid release, prompting the Russos to pause their negotiations. However, despite Johansson’s lawsuit being settled in September, it’s unclear if the brothers plan to resume their conversation with Marvel.
Joe and Anthony Russo’s next directorial effort, the action/thriller The Gray Man, is expected to begin streaming on Netflix in 2022.
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