Well. They want to welcome fans back to theaters. But really, what’s padding a little number one record while you’re at it?
It feels like much, much longer—and did so even before we entered the collective period of time-displacement that is the novel coronavirus lockdown—but we just passed the one-year anniversary of Avengers: Endgame’s release.
We’ve had time to ruminate, celebrate, and critique it over and over, while Endgame itself has had time to release, re-release, swipe itself a box office crown or six, and then, of course, hit home release and streaming. It’s given us the chance to numb our rears to three hours of carnally joyful, superheroic madness over and over from the comfort of our own homes.
This is, apparently, still not enough for Anthony and Joe Russo, who, making a recent appearance on Cinemablend’s ReelBlend podcast, ruminated that perhaps, when we just so happen to be done with the spread of a virus that has so far killed over 50,000 Americans alone, we could all just run right back into a dark room and rub shoulders with each other for five hours to “get people back” through the means of another Infinity War and Endgame theatrical release.
“The theatrical experience is a community experience. Perhaps the most touching moment of our entire careers was a few weeks ago when the lockdown started, and Endgame was trending on social media because everyone was posting videos of opening-night screenings in their theaters with audiences really emotionally connected to the material,” Joe Russo said. “For us, that’s really the strength of the theatrical experience is that it combines audiences, and it combines you globally. To have been a part of movies that did that, on that scale with that level of emotional connection from the audience, was really very touching, and will be the highlight of our careers. So, using those films to get people back into the theaters? We would be ecstatic. I mean, any opportunity for people to go back and share in those stories together is one that we would support.”
Russo is right, in that there is a magic to cinema as a communal experience—that’s why all those videos he mentioned going viral recently of footage from the home release spliced with opening night crowd reactions had people yearning for the experience of being in a theater again. We can host watch parties until the proverbial cows come home, but there is something about that collective gathering that cannot be truly replicated in the age of self-isolation and social distancing that we live in.
Certainly, longing for that, missing it, is entirely understandable. But the world in which we live has changed, and done so drastically, radically, and right before our eyes in a globally-reckoned-with event not experienced on this scale in decades, even lifetimes. The impact of covid-19 is being felt across the planet, not just in the entertainment industry but in practically every facet of our lives, and will continue to be for months and years ahead.
Yes, even as we contemplate some semblance of whatever normalcy we can find returning one day—whether it’s in rescheduled theater slates or otherwise—there is not going to be a sudden flip of the switch. This won’t just happen overnight. Acting like we’ll wake up one day soon with everything all hunky-dory, and we’d just run down to our local multiplex for Avengers: Endgame: Okay Well This Time We Love You Six Thousand, I Guess feels flippant at the very least.
One day, when we have come to grasp the new normal in which we live, there will be new Marvel movies to watch, and we’ll hopefully able to do so collectively and safely. Do we really need a third crack at the box office for Avengers: Endgame masquerading as a friendly welcome?
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