Joe Russo: The Two-Hour Film Has Become "A Very Predictive Format"

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Anthony and Joe Russo

Joe and Anthony Russo spoke at the Business Insider Ignition conference Tuesday.

Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo said at an industry conference Tuesday that the two-hour film format has become predictable and "difficult" to work in.

"We are in a major moment of disruption," Russo said at the Business Insider Ignition conference. "The two-hour film has had a great run for about 100 years but it's become a very predictive format. It's difficult, I think, to work in it. ... It's sort of like saying, 'We all like sonnets, so let's tell sonnets for 100 years, as many ways as we possibly can.'"

Sitting beside his brother and co-director, Anthony Russo, Joe said the Marvel movies present a "new form of storytelling" that allows them to "[exploit] the two-hour narrative in a different way."

In light of disruption in the industry, "I'm not sure that this next generation that is coming up is going to see two-hour narrative as the predominant form of storytelling for them," Joe Russo said.

The brothers did not discuss Avengers 4 or the film's hotly anticipated trailer during the panel discussion. Anthony Russo, asked by former Hollywood Reporter editor Janice Min to reveal the title of the film, said, "We'd like to, but we won't."

Avengers: Infinity War clocked in at two hours and forty minutes, the longest Marvel Studios movie yet. In November, Joe Russo revealed that the currently untitled Avengers 4 was sitting at three hours, though that could change as the filmmakers continue the editing process. 

Joe Russo said that Disney CEO Bob Iger is a "historic film executive" who has accomplished more than almost anyone during the past 15 years.

Asked about the impact of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's assets and potential story tie-ins, he said: "I think the acquisition of Fox is showing us where the future of the business is going to go," he said. "Everything is conglomerating. I'm certain with Kevin Feige, who also has been on a historic run in the business, that he is going to incorporate those characters under the large Marvel umbrella. We haven't talked to him specifically about what he is going to do, but I'm certain that that acquisition created great value in dimensionalizing Marvel and the stories that they can tell going forward."

Discussing their process of working with actors, Anthony Russo said they are very "actor-oriented." "Our process is very much about how do we get the best performance out of every actor," he said.