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'Avengers' directors eye 'Avatar' record, plot Marvel actor movies

media Director Anthony Russo received the Best Movie award for "Avengers: Endgame" at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards ahead of the San Diego Comic-Con AFP/File

"Avengers: Endgame" directors Joe and Anthony Russo said Friday it would be a "big thrill" to pass the all-time box office record held by "Avatar," as they set out plans to collaborate with a number of different stars from the Marvel superhero universe.

Smash hit "Endgame" is inching ever closer to surpassing James Cameron’s $2.788 billion haul. It is currently just $5 million short, and was still playing in 1,400 US theaters at the weekend despite being released in April.

"James Cameron has always been an idol of ours -- he fed our passion for filmmaking from the beginning, and to be so close to one of his great films is really special," said Anthony at San Diego Comic-Con, the world's largest pop culture convention.

The filmmaking brothers told a Hall H panel their next project "Cherry," starring "Spider-Man" actor Tom Holland, will be a "mature" and "complicated" look at the US opioid crisis, based on a 2018 novel set in the brothers' hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

"It's touched our families, the crisis, so it's a deeply personal movie for us," said Anthony.

"Joe and I are now in a position now where we can get those movies made, and we want to use that sort of capital that we built up," he added. Filming will begin in October.

The pair also showed a new trailer for "21 Bridges" starring "Black Panther" actor Chadwick Boseman, which hits theaters in September.

Footage of the gritty cop drama in which a detective shuts down Manhattan’s bridges and tunnels to hunt a cop killer over one night featured noir-ish action-filled scenes including gunfights and car chases.

The Russos are also producing "Dhaka," a Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") film shot in India and directed by former Marvel stuntman Sam Hargrave, and a new remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair" starring Michael B. Jordan -- another "Black Panther" alumnus.

They said they "would love to work with Marvel again," but announced new, separate adaptations including Japanese anime "Battle of the Planets" and graphic novel "Grimjack," as well as a Netflix collaboration based on card game "Magic: The Gathering."

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