“Avengers” filmmaker Joe Russo has caused quite a stir on social media for posting a response to a recent TikTok featuring Martin Scorsese. The Oscar winner’s daughter, Francesca, posted a TikTok this month in which Scorsese playfully directs his dog, Oscar. Russo responded by posting a video in which he tells Scorsese they share the same muse. The camera pans out to reveal Russo is holding his own dog, whom he jokingly calls “Box Office.”
“Aw look, he’s got a schnauzer! I love schnauzers. And his name is Oscar. That’s really cute,” Russo says in his video replying to the Scorsese TikTok. Russo then addresses his own dog: “Ok come on, Box Office.”
Russo’s video is clearly trying to be playful, but it has rubbed many film writers and industry professionals the wrong way, as it seemingly finds Russo jabbing at Scorsese after Scorsese infamously spoke out against Marvel movies several years ago. Scorsese criticized Marvel for putting a stronghold on film exhibition and forcing mid-budget movies and more adult-oriented fare out of the mainstream marketplace.
“I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema,” Scorsese told Empire about Marvel movies back in October 2019 while promoting “The Irishman.” “Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Scorsese later published an op-ed essay in The New York Times in which he wrote that cinema is about “revelation, aesthetic, characters — the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, the way they can hurt one another and love one another and suddenly come face to face with themselves.” That is all absent in Marvel movies, he wrote, adding that while “many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures,” ultimately “what’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”
Russo playfully flaunting his box office wins over Scorsese’s Academy Award comes at a time when Scorsese isn’t necessarily lighting the box office on fire with his latest release, “Killers of the Flower Moon.” The $200 million Western epic earned critical acclaim but has only grossed $40 million at the domestic box office so far. The film’s worldwide gross stands at $84 million and counting. Many box office pundits are wondering if the film can even make it to the $150 million worldwide mark.
Many industry professionals came to Scorsese’s defense on X/Twitter after Russo’s video started going viral online.
“Joe Russo took hundreds of millions from Netflix to make whatever he wanted, and came up with…’The Grey Man,’” wrote Toonami co-founder and Warner Bros. Discovery’s SVP of action and anime series Jason DeMarco. “Marty got hundreds of millions from Netflix and Apple, and made ‘The Irishman’ and ‘Killers of The Flower Moon.’ I know which movies ppl will talk about in 20 years…”
“In 50 years no one will know who Joe Russo is,” added film writer Louis Peitzman.
The official X/Twitter account for Los Angeles’ genre film festival BeyondFest was even more blunt, writing: “Let’s just be honest, Joe Russo is a rich asshole hack who won the lottery when [Marvel Studios president Kevin] Feige plucked him from obscurity and let him tagalong.”
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is playing in theaters nationwide from Apple and Paramount.
From Variety US