CEO of Russo Brothers’ AGBO Committed to Making Films for Theaters – and Streaming

“We’re going to continue with ambitious projects… big in scope, and broad in audience appeal regardless of the distribution method,” Jason Bergsman says

The last 12 months for the Russo Brothers and their AGBO production shingle has illustrated the best of the modern-day Hollywood spectrum: Monstrous box office revenue and outsized streaming success on the industry’s largest player.

AGBO’s recent Chris Hemsworth-led action-thriller “Extraction,” released in the middle of a global pandemic, is on track to being one of the most-watched films on Netflix during its premiere period, which is typically a week.

That could either be a blessing or a curse of an introduction for new AGBO CEO Jason Bergsman, who joined the company this week from The Chernin Group. In order to maintain that level of success, Bergsman said he wants to support the vision of Joe and Anthony Russo — who directed last year’s $2.8 billion blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” — of telling stories fit for both the big screen and the one in the comfort of audiences’ homes.

“We want to be where the audiences are,” Bergsman said. “The company has been lucky to have a release in ‘Extraction’ that plays into the current state of the industry… We’re going to continue with ambitious projects of that nature — big in scope, and broad in audience appeal regardless of the distribution method.”

Bergsman said the impact on the box office during this unprecedented time is significant but temporary.

“We’re confident in a rebound, but we’ll definitely look to produce projects that take advantage of streaming as well,” he said.

While theatrical distribution has been in flux and a constant source of debate for years as streaming has provided moviegoers other ways of getting content, the shutdowns brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic appear to be a tipping point.

Theaters have been forced to shut their doors, leading studios to consider alternative ways to distribute the films on their slate and, in the case of Universal, doubling down on releasing films on streaming platforms and disrupting traditional theatrical windows.

AGBO can, on one hand, release a Netflix film with one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, and then turn around and sign on to produce Disney’s big-screen adaptation of the 1997 animated film “Hercules.” And that’s all while finishing up post-production on the Tom Holland-led drama “Cherry,” which follows an Army medic who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt.

“There’s a lot of momentum behind this company right now,” Bergsman said. “Joe and Anthony are tremendously accomplished and distinctive, powerful filmmakers… What I’m committed to doing is putting the company in the best position where it best fuels their strengths.”

Trey Williams

Trey Williams

Film Reporter covering the biz • [email protected] • Twitter: @trey3williams


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