‘Avengers: Endgame’ filmmakers add Amazon executive to studio team

By Thomson Reuters Apr 15, 2024 | 5:18 AM

By Dawn Chmielewski

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Joe Russo, co-director of “Avengers: Endgame,” found a memorable setting to approach the latest hire for the independent studio he founded with his brother. Russo invited Chris Brearton, an executive at Amazon.com’s MGM studio, to join him at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Over stops in the Spanish resort town of San Sebastian and a vineyard, and lots of nudging along the way, Brearton agreed to join the independent studio, AGBO, as a partner. “The passion that you see around me is what’s attracted me to these two,” said Brearton, referring to Russo and his brother and filmmaking partner, Anthony Russo.

The Russos met Brearton in 2014, while still in production on the Marvel Studios film “Captain America: Civil War,” to seek insights into forming an independent studio. The entertainment industry lawyer shepherded negotiations with AGBO’s financier, leading to the formation of the company in 2017.

Bearton joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 2018 as its chief operating officer, and remained at the home of “James Bond,” “Rocky” and “Legally Blonde” after its sale to Amazon in 2022. He was working in a corporate strategy role for Amazon Prime Video when he received the call from Joe Russo last summer that set him on his path back to AGBO. The Russos, who are best known for directing two of the highest grossing movies of all time, “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” said they brought in Brearton to add business expertise as they develop stories for contemporary global audiences who consume media in different ways. He will oversee all aspects of the company’s business strategy, operations and growth moving forward.

The studio’s fourth partner is Donald Mustard, former chief creative officer at Epic Games and a central figure in the creation of online game Fortnite, joined AGBO in November 2023. Sister and screenwriter Angela Russo-Otstot, who at age 15 co-starred in an early Russo brothers film, “Pieces,” serves as AGBO’s chief creative officer. “What we’re putting our energy into is a blurring of the lines between media,” Joe Russo said. “Stories are going to become more fluid because of technology and the way that you receive those stories. Form and structure are going to become less important.”

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; additional reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Marguerita Choy)