When was the last time you saw a true indie movie in theaters?
While the Russo brothers are known mostly for their work in the Marvel world, and maybe on Arrested Development, they are passionate fans of independent cinema. But what does it mean to just be a rich fan if you're not willing to put your money where your mouth is?
That's why they opened AGBO in 2017. They wanted to develop a slate of movies and TV shows they believed in, that studios had not been highlighting over the years. While at Rome Film Festival’s MIA Market, Joe Russo expanded on his company's mission.
Joe Russo told Deadline, “I don’t see a resurgence of independent movies at theaters, I just don’t... You get more money to make them digitally. It’s the easiest thing for Netflix to greenlight and nobody really bothers you [creatively]. Movies are going to evolve, I’m not sure what theaters will look like but I know it’s going to be more premium.”
They also made sure they were not beholden to anyone. That means no ties to a specific studio or overall they have to honor. They can just find projects they're passionate about and shop them all over town.
They have had movies with Netflix (Extraction), Apple (Cherry), Paramount (Down Under Cover), Disney (Hercules), and even with indie distributors like A24 (Everything Everywhere All at Once).
Joe Russo elaborated on the mission of the venture, saying, “What’s compelling to me is that we start hearing from different voices other than Hollywood. If you work in a regional market it’s critical you’re there to promote local talent. On a personal level, I’m more interested in diversity of storytelling—the world is a better place when more diverse voices are heard.”
As we see international titles getting more traction, the Russos will also try to find those voices from across the world.
The movies they have released so far have been compelling and interesting. It'll be interesting to see how much theatrical attraction they get in the future and where the future of independent cinema will go.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
A theatrical release isn't the pot of gold that indie filmmakers are looking for; it's industry sponsorship and access to the recognition and accolades afforded to the Hollywood elite. To change the game for indie filmmakers, the industry would need to open up its resources to independent voices. Unfortunately, this is risky business within an industry that has become increasingly risk averse.
October 14, 2021 at 8:09PM
THIS is why Netflix and movie theaters need to start negotiations.
October 16, 2021 at 6:25PM
How do I contact the Russo brothers?
October 17, 2021 at 1:39AM
Me too, Joe. Me too.
October 18, 2021 at 7:44AM