Is the Tony Stark funeral scene in Avengers: Endgame the most expensive shot in cinematic history? The Russo Brothers believe it might be. At a reported budget of $356 million, Endgame had to be massive and thankfully, it was, and still is. The Marvel Cinematic Universe project just became the highest grossing movie of all time, so spending a little bit of extra cash on a funeral scene shouldn't be that big of a deal with over $2.7 billion at the box office and counting.
There's a lot of characters in Avengers: Endgame and a lot going on. There's intense battles with heavy amounts of CGI and all kinds of action, but there's one scene that might be more expensive than them all. One of the shots with the most heroes all in one place is towards the conclusion of the movie at Tony Stark's funeral, and the Russo Brothers are pretty sure it's the most expensive shot in history in terms of salary alone. Joe Russo explains.
"We used to joke, and I don't know if it's joking, it's probably the most expensive shot in movie history. That's a lot of salary on the screen there. At the very least it's the most expensive day of extras in movie history, outside of Cleopatra."
When asked if any CGI was used in the making of the funeral scene, Joe Russo noted "everyone was there." There was no trickery involved in bringing everybody together on the big screen that day in Georgia, though many believed that there was. In order to make sure everybody could make it and that it wouldn't take too long, the directing duo chose a farm that is really close to the Atlanta airport, which is now up for rent on Air B&B.
Endgame co-writer Christopher Markus joked, "For people to just stand there, they're not even moving," insinuating that the Tony Stark funeral was some easy money for a lot of actors. As far as getting everybody together without telling them exactly what it was for, the Russo Brothers told the cast that they were going to be shooting a wedding that day, which the actors have said many times in the press. Joe Russo had this to say.
"They were all brought there under this pretense that they were coming for a wedding - it's kind of heartbreaking to think about now - but they all have managers, and agents, and hair and makeup, and we can't tell anybody what we're up to, because it can leak through one of a thousand sources... So they were all brought there under the pretense that they're coming for a wedding, and the day they got there and we started to dress them in the black outfits, they said, 'This is a very strange wedding.' We said, 'It's because it's actually a funeral.'"
Whether or not Avengers: Endgame has the most expensive shot in history is debatable, but it is certainly right up there. However, Marvel Studios probably isn't crying over the budget since it is now the highest grossing movie of all time after taking down James Cameron's Avatar. Cameron is probably shooting some pretty expensive scenes with the Avatar sequels that are on the way, so be on the lookout. You can check out the interview with the Russo Brothers below, thanks to the IMDb YouTube channel.