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Russo Brothers Say Streaming War Comes Down to Netflix vs. Disney+

Fresh off the record-obliterating opening weekend of “Avengers: Endgame,” directors Joe and Anthony Russo waded into the ongoing debate about the arms race over streaming platforms.

Discussing the similarities between the tentpole film business and the huge-spending streaming content marketplace, Joe Russo spoke plainly about who is leading the charge for the latter.

“The closest race to watch is Disney versus Netflix,” Joe Russo told moderator and CNBC anchor Julia Boorstin.

Netflix is at volume, and they have to get their volume to quality. Disney is at quality, and they’ve got to get volume. It’ll be interesting to see who achieves their goal first, because that will determine market dominance,” he continued.

While Amazon Studios, Hulu and2 Apple are serious competitors — and Warner Media and NBCUniversal are in the kitchen developing their own portals — the battle royale comes down to Netflix versus Disney+, said Joe Russo. The co-directing brothers both appeared for a keynote conversation at the 2019 Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday.

The only wild card, according to Joe, would be Apple — but only “unless Apple throws their hat at the content game much more significantly than what they’ve already done.”

The Tim Cook-led company only just unveiled an undated content slate which includes an unscripted deal with Oprah Winfrey and series from Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa.

While the streamers might be gunning for talent and subscribers, the Russos find the medium is beneficial for the theatrical film business (many industry watchers say it is lethal for moviegoing).

“We’re talking about trillion dollar companies using content as a branding tool,” said Joe. “Some say the death knell for theatrical is streaming, but [“Endgame”] is proof that they are supercharging each other,” he said.

The Russos have a series set up at Amazon Studios through their AGBO production shingle.


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