Avengers: Endgame Director Says It Feels Surreal to Have Top-Grossing Film of All Time

Avengers: Endgame director Anthony Russo says its $2.79 billion global haul “feels surreal” and admits knowing the blockbuster is the highest-grossing movie of all time is “a very hard idea to process.”

“Somebody wrote recently that for the first time in 45 years, the highest-grossing movie ever was not directed by [Steven] Spielberg, [James] Cameron or [George] Lucas. Those are all our heroes; those are all people [who] we grew up watching their movies, and studying their films to learn how to become filmmakers, so it’s weird,” Russo told Cleveland.com of his collaboration with brother Joe. “It’s hard to process.”

Asked to explain what it was that propelled Endgame to unseat Cameron’s Avatar at the box office after the sci-fi epic enjoyed a decade in first place, Russo said it was best explained by a focus on the characters that built the 23-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe into a behemoth franchise.

“Even though we love action and we fetishize action, and we put a lot of energy into orchestrating action, at the end of the day we have a strong focus on character. We love exploring characters in very subtle, specific ways,” Russo said. “Our comedy was known to be very character-grounded comedy, even though it could get absurd at times. I also think it’s the fact that we have committed to real stakes in the storytelling. If you look at all of our films, we’ve made choices that were really radical.”

After their four-movie stint in the MCU — where they steered Captain America: The Winter Soldier and billion-plus grossers Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame — the filmmaker duo have exited Disney-owned Marvel Studios. They’ll now focus on their own studio, AGBO, for which they’ll next direct Cherry, led by Spider-Man star Tom Holland.

Russo said they’ll “probably” revisit superhero fare down the line, but they “don’t have any plans to at this time.”

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“Whether or not we return to the superhero genre, Joe and I do love stories that can play to a global audience,” Russo added. “One of the things we most valued about the Endgame experience is the fact that we’ve been speaking to a worldwide audience. It’s amazing to see how people from such a wide variety of cultures can respond to these films, and these movies have meaning for them. It’s really inspiring. So I think we’re always going to keep looking for opportunities to tell global stories that matter to people.”

Avengers: Endgame is now available to own on Digital HD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Follow the author @cameronbonomolo on Twitter.