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Avengers: Endgame Still At Three-Hour Runtime, Testing 'Great'

Avengers: Endgame is going to be epic — and not just in action and story. 

Joe and Anthony Russo, the sibling filmmakers who helmed Avengers: Infinity War and its forthcoming follow-up Avengers: Endgame, recently sat down with Collider's Steve Weintraub to discuss how the fourth Avengers flick is coming along in the editing process. As of early February, just under three months out from the film's theatrical release at the end of April, Endgame is sitting at a three-hour runtime. 

"We're still at the three-hour mark," Joe Russo confirmed.

This isn't the first instance in which the Russo brothers have said that Avengers: Endgame could settle in at a three-hour runtime, as the pair previously told Empire Magazine (via CBR), "There's a high probability that this movie will clock in at around three hours. It's a big movie with a lot of story." 

They also noted in April of 2018, around the time of Infinity War's launch, that Endgame would likely be longer than Infinity War

"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," said Joe Russo. "I do think it will be longer than Avengers 3."

Should Endgame truly come in at 180 minutes or more in length, it will become the longest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far — beating out Avengers: Infinity War (2 hours and 40 minutes), Captain America: Civil War (2 hours and 27 minutes), The Avengers (2 hours and 23 minutes), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2 hours and 21 minutes), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2 hours and 17 minutes), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2 hours and 16 minutes), Black Panther (2 hours and 14 minutes), and a whole host of others that would be silly to list out in full here. 

The Russos emphasized that the Endgame team has work yet to do, tweaking a little here and adjusting a bit there to get everything just right, but Disney is "definitely down" for the film to be three hours long. And apparently, so are audiences. Test screenings have garnered "great responses" from viewers, who are digging the super-sized cut of the impending superhero movie, as it properly captures the emotion of the first decade of the MCU coming to a close. 

"I think the studio is down with what the best story is. Right now, we think the movie is playing well and we've had great responses from our test audiences and we're feeling very good about where it is," explained Joe. "We're still doing work to it. We're not done with it. Again, this is a culmination film of 22 movies, it's a lot of storytelling to work into it. Emotion is an intrinsic part of that to us. When you have to tell a really complicated story and you want strong emotional moments with the characters, it just requires a certain amount of real estate. This one, in particular, feels like three hours worth of real estate."

A film that long stirs up the question of whether it might feature some sort of mid-way bathroom break or intermission for audiences to stretch their legs and make sense of what just happened on the silver screen. Quentin Tarantino offered viewers that when he rolled out his three-hour-and-seven-minute Western The Hateful Eight in 2015, but the Russos probably won't do that with Endgame. Anthony Russo noted that he and Joe have screened Endgame four times, and virtually no one felt the need to get up in the middle of the film. 

"We have screened the movie four times for audiences now. For the first three screenings, not a single person got up to go to the bathroom," he shared. 

That Avengers: Endgame is shaping up to run for three hours means that the footage featured in the first trailer and the clips included in the TV spot released at the 2019 Super Bowl comprise very, very little of the film. (Theory-crafters, there's so much information you aren't privy to, so your ideas could come crashing down when Endgame officially debuts.) It also indicates that there is a lot of story to tell, beats to hit, characters to possibly bring back from the dead, and plot-lines to tie up. Disney being willing to sign off on such a length film further suggests that some wild, emotional stuff will happen in Endgame — and that all three hours of the film are necessary. 

The potential downside to a three-hour Marvel movie is that there will be fewer screenings in a day, since cinemas can only squeeze in about four showings per day per theater room. Considering Avengers: Infinity War made over $2 billion worldwideEndgame should take home that much or more regardless of the possible dip in daily screenings that might result from a heftier runtime. Everybody wins. 

We'll know for sure how long Endgame ends up being when the film is released on April 26.