No spoilers here, Avengers: Endgame directors reveal secret of marvellous box-office success

Indian vehicles go past a movie theatre displaying a poster of the latest Avengers movie, in Mumbai, on April 25, 2019.
Indian vehicles go past a movie theatre displaying a poster of the latest Avengers movie, in Mumbai, on April 25, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - How did Avengers: Endgame shatter box-office records in its opening weekend? To hear the movie's directors tell it, the success stems from a few key ingredients, including social-media buzz and a serialised approach to film-making.

But the rise of streaming services also helped, according to Anthony and Joe Russo, the brother duo that oversaw Endgame and other blockbusters for Walt Disney's Marvel Studios.

Despite fears that Netflix and other online platforms will depress movie attendance, the services can help get fans get excited about franchises - and get them into theatres.

"They're supercharging each other," Joe, 47, said of video streaming and the movie business. "There's just an addiction to content consumption. This generation is craving a new kind of storytelling."

The brothers spoke on Monday (April 29) on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, laying out their tips for others looking to replicate the success of Endgame.

The brothers have directed four Marvel movies, including Captain America: Winter Soldier, which took the super trooper out of his frozen past into the modern age.

With Captain America: Civil War, they persuaded Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr to be a bad guy for a bit, leading to superhero infighting and ultimately a loss at the end of last year's Avengers: Infinity War.

"You have to take chances," Joe said. "You have to surprise the audience.

 
 
 
 

"They'll tell you they like chocolate ice cream. If you give it to them 15 times in a week, they won't."

The brothers have 1.7 million Instagram followers and like to drop nuggets about the projects they are working on.

"We like to tease the fans," Joe said. "We put clues that are very inscrutable. We don't respond directly to fans but we put information out there they can have conversations about.

"People from all over the world can talk to each other instantaneously. It will reach millions of people in a an hour all over the world."

Movie studios used to stagger their releases in countries around the world, due in part to varying holidays and school schedules. Endgame came out in nearly all its major markets at roughly the same time, creating a global event that got people talking in advance and attending theatres in groups - some even in costume.

"It's critical, because of that collective experience," said Anthony, 49.

''It can feel a little like a rock concert, the crowds are so vocal.

"That's a whole dimension to the experience that can't be achieved at home."