The Russo Brothers Shut Down That Rumor About The MCU's Total Runtime

Tony talking to Pepper at their cabin

The official runtime for the MCU’s next movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home was recently revealed and it seemed to confirm an epic fan theory about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Namely, that when you add up the runtimes of every MCU film, including Far From Home’s 129 minutes, it will equal 3,000 total minutes. Besides being a nice round number, 3,000 is particularly significant because of Avengers: Endgame, in which Tony Stark’s daughter Morgan tells him “I love you 3000.”

So the theory is that the popular line from Endgame is in fact the integer it is as a fun reference and wink towards the runtime of the entire Infinity Saga and the MCU up to this point. Yet, as fun as this is, The Russo Brothers have shut down this rumored connection. Addressing it, Joe Russo said:

That is absolutely coincidental. We're not that smart.

Despite seeming far too serendipitous and perfect to be anything but planned, Joe Russo assured Deco Drive that the “I love you 3,000”/3,000 minute runtime coincidence is just that-- purely a happy accident and not the result of some master plan. So although this might be head canon for many fans, at least according to Joe Russo, the line in Avengers: Endgame was not in any way meant to reference the MCU’s runtime.

In lots of fan theorizing in fantasy and genre storytelling, the dots people connect are often far more intricately plotted than anything the author intended. That's the case here, where something picked up by fans is not the filmmaker’s intent. It may not be official, but even though this theory has been shut down by the powers that be, that almost makes it cooler that things worked out in just such a way.

I will say though that Joe Russo’s claim that he and his brother aren’t clever enough to come up with such a thing seems rather dubious. I think their time in the MCU has shown that they are plenty clever. But it may not be a lack of cleverness, but simply the fact that such a thing was the furthest thing from the Russo Brothers’ minds, as Anthony Russo explained:

It's hard enough to make these movies. To try and hit a minute count like that seems off the mark.

Indeed, it is wild to think that among the many other concerns like telling a good story, the directors of Avengers: Endgame or Jon Watts on Spider-Man: Far From Home would have been thinking about editing the films in such a way to line up just perfectly and end the Infinity Saga at 3,000 minutes.

Additionally, the “I love you 3,000” line from Endgame was not the work of the Russo Brothers or screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely but Robert Downey Jr. himself, who says this line to his own kids. The line was meant to elicit an emotional response so I doubt when he proposed it they checked it to make sure it worked math-wise.

Although the fact that Downey says that to his kids and that’s the line in the movie and that’s what the MCU adds up to all make for a lot of coincidences. It may not be the Russo Brothers, but perhaps somebody is manipulating things with the Time Stone.

The other thing is that by my calculations and based on the runtimes on IMDb, with the addition of Spider-Man: Far From Home’s 129 minutes, the MCU totals out at 2,996 minutes, 4 minutes shy of 3,000. That’s close enough they really should throw a 4-minute deleted scene back into Far From Home. Either way, it’s cool, but apparently not planned.

You can watch all 129 minutes of Spider-Man: Far From Home when it swings into theaters on July 2. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see everything else headed your way this summer.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.