The Russo brothers have revealed Avengers 4 currently has a 3 hour runtime - but don't worry, that's very unlikely to stick. Even though the Russos are now working with this longer assembly cut, the theatrical version will almost certainly be trimmed down to something less likely to require an intermission.
Earlier this year, directors Joe and Anthony Russo helped Marvel Studios deliver their biggest hit yet. Avengers: Infinity War grossed over $2 billion at the box office and left audiences stunned with its cliffhanger ending - so stunned, in fact, that they may not even have registered Infinity War's lengthy runtime. The Russos' third MCU movie clocked in at over two and a half hours, which is a length studios usually try to avoid. To put it simply, the shorter the movie, the more showtimes theaters can squeeze into a single day, and the more money a movie can potentially earn. Infinity War still managed to crack the $2 billion mark despite that, and many have wondered just how long next year's sequel.
Avengers 4 may have a smaller cast of currently living heroes to use, but the actual cast list looks to be even more expansive. With so many characters, the likely exploration of time travel, and needing to wrap up Phase 3, it has been expected that Avengers 4 would also be a long movie. The Russos previously said as much when they stated it is their belief Avengers 4 will be even longer than Infinity War. At that point Joe said, " I’ll say it could easily be a three hour film, but I think that we’re very hard on the material, we like it to play at a certain pace. I’m sure that we’ll squeeze it." They haven't done that just yet apparently, with Joe saying in an Instagram live Q&A that, "The running time on Avengers 4 is currently sitting right at three hours. We’ll see if that holds."
Since Avengers 4 is still over 170 days away, the Russos are still in the post-production process and nowhere near close to finishing the film. As Joe stated later in the Q&A, "We’re still editing picture at this point." So, while Avengers 4 currently sits near 3 hours in length, it will not stick. The Russos only recently completed reshoots that lasted about a month, and the marketing hasn't even begun yet. They will be in the editing room for the next several months to get a theatrical cut, which means the current 3-hour runtime likely refers to the assembly cut of Avengers 4.
For those who don't know, an assembly cut is made by the film's editor during production. It is effectively the roughest cut possible for the movie that brings all the different scenes together. This assembly cut is nowhere close to being ready to hit theaters, and is instead used for directors to figure out what they have in terms of shot footage. A final edit will begin to be made out of this assembly, but first it will have adjust to include the changes made during reshoots. The time that comes after this in the editing room is ultimately what results in first cut of the movie, which is what the Russos are currently working towards. They'll then cut together a final edit after additional feedback is given.
The four-hour cut of Black Panther made noise earlier this year too, but that doesn't mean there's over an hour and a half of footage missing from Ryan Coogler's true cut. The Russos had an even longer assembly of Avengers 4 earlier this year that they wouldn't reveal the length of. The directing duo are tough editors who have four to five months left to edit away before Disney and Marvel Studios will need the movie ready to screen and release. In the next several months, they could eliminate another hour or twenty minutes or five minutes, or even nothing at all - but as much as people love superheroes, we seriously doubt that Disney would release a three-hour Avengers movie.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019