Martin Scorsese has been ever present on his daughter’s TikTok while he promotes his latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon. One video shows him jokingly directing his dog, aptly named Oscar, on how to express emotion for his next picture. The dog name is adorable, with many fans taking it as a nod to his Academy Award wins. Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo made a similar video of his own as a response, jokingly calling his dog “Box Office.” Various cinephiles took the joke as a slight to Scorsese, whose box office returns are not as strong as Marvel films, and now Russo is clearing things up.
He, along with his brother and directing partner Anthony Russo, recently sat down at a fan event with fellow director Kevin Smith to talk about their impact on the MCU and future projects they hope to move to. The conversation eventually turned to the controversial Instagram video, which attracted a lot of heat on the internet. Russo opened up about his intention, and how the post in question was not meant to be a slight at Scorsese, whom he greatly admires. He said:
He's one of the reasons, one of the biggest reasons that we're sitting up here, right, it's the influence of his movies. You know, it's interesting because my daughter runs my social media account the way his daughter runs his social media account. And we saw this cute video he did with his dog, and we happen to have an identical dog, they're both Schnauzers, and I thought, 'This is hilarious, this could be really cute.' His video is talking to his dog, he's coaching it through, you know, like he's training his dog like it's going to do a part for him. His dog's name is Oscar.
He continued to elaborate on his thought process, saying that he was trying to use the popular video app similarly to the legendary director as a way to connect to his own young daughter. While his intentions were pure, he understood why the timing of the video may have suggested otherwise. Russo told Kevin Smith:
My daughter was like, 'That's funny, what if our dog's name was Box Office?' And I went, 'Oh, that's funny. That's cute.' And then we posted it on TikTok. We do a bunch of TikTok videos together, it's like how I stay connected to my daughter. She has all these funny ideas and we're trying all this shit all the time. And we posted it and then people discovered it like a week after we posted it. I think people conflated the timing of when they discovered it with his movie, which was not the intention. This was just like a broad appeal joke.
It seems like the entire thing was taken the wrong way, and Joe Russo never intended to cause any bad blood between himself and a film master like Martin Scorsese. However, it doesn’t feel fully off base that fans may have seen it as a small slight. Scorsese has been vocal about the negative effect the MCU and superhero movies have had on the film industry for years. He has not relented in his stance on comic book movies, and throughout his most recent press tour, he's been firm that these blockbusters can hurt smaller films financially by preventing funding. The Russo Brothers can be looked to as a symbol for big budget, flashy filmmaking, and many took the joke to be an attempt by Russo to “fight back.”
No matter how the situation may have been interpreted, Russo seems firm that his intentions were perfectly innocent. While Scorsese may not be a fan of his films, Russo is certainly a fan of the Goodfellas director’s, and sees him as a major influence. The internet debate over big studio comic book movies and their box office impact on artistic dramas continues to rage on, but it seems like the Russos want to keep things cordial with the masters.
You can catch the latest Russo Brothers' movie, The Gray Man, streaming now with a Netflix subscription. You can also check out Martin Scorsese’s emotional epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, in theaters nationwide.