The Gray Man || Bloated but fun actioner may launch a franchise for Netflix

The Gray Man || Bloated but fun actioner may launch a franchise for Netflix
masterminds The Russo Brothers

The Gray Man || Bloated but fun actioner may launch a franchise for Netflix

With ‘The Grey man,’ Avengers masterminds The Russo Brothers

developed a new franchise for Netflix on Friday, the most expensive movie in Netflix’s history after a short week of theatrical release. But it will come, thanks to two brothers who shepherded together. Four Disney-Marvel films have grossed more than $6 billion during their longest theatrical runs.

That short stay in theaters for The Gray Man is just right by Netflix, which the Russo Brothers hope.’ $200 million feature Its next franchise would become Tentpole, attracting millions of viewers worldwide and keeping users engaged and paying for another month, or year, of the service.

It’s on the back of the massively successful new seasons of Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy. But The Gray Man also represents where Netflix executives said they want to take their programming in the future with big swings at smaller, more high-profile projects.

“It’s a huge, big-budget action movie that people typically have to go out and spend a lot of money to see,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarendos said on Tuesday’s quarterly earnings call. said during “And they’re going to premiere it on Netflix.”

company is clearly hoping fan-friendly blockbusters like The Gray Man, a pair of writer/director/producers who know how to deliver a big movie, will help it offset a two-quarter drop in its subscriber base. Gee, the first such reduction. more than a decade.

The Gray Man || Bloated but fun actioner may launch a franchise for Netflix
masterminds The Russo Brothers

To counter the widespread perception that Netflix makes too many shows, but not enough good ones, Sarandos points to The Gray Men, and the 35 Netflix originals that received Emmy nominations this month. With increasing competition from other streaming services (and videogames, and going back to the office, and social-video giants like TikTok and YouTube), Netflix is ​​the gray man to keep them coming back.

Sarandos calls The Gray Man “N An incredible testament to the kind of films this team can make. It’s kind of back-to-back where I think Gray Man (previous Netflix action hits) Red Notes, and The Adam Project, and Love Up as the hottest movies of the year, not just Netflix. On. But period.”

Joe and Anthony Russo certainly know a lot about blockbusters. After producing and co-directing mostly TV shows for more than a dozen years, including the much-loved comedies Community and Arrested Development (after which I brothers won an Emmy for directing), he got his big break with Disney, who handed him over to their mighty Marvel Avengers franchise. The

brothers returned faith in buckets, Holly One of the most profitable runs in Wood’s history. Over four films — Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame — the brothers’ projects grossed the entire theaters. grossed $6.7 billion.

Then it was time to do something different. Russ formed his production and development company AGBO (an old name the brothers used early in their careers), along with Christopher Marks and Stephen McFeely. , with his Avengers projects and The Gray Man. Also helped to make Yelent a success.

It’s something to keep them both motivated, they told me in a recent interview, given the nurturing their careers received from Hollywood legend Steven Soderbergh.this year’s hit indie 

In turn, he and AGBO have produced The Daniels ( release, produced by Russ) or Sam Hargrave, who directed Netflix’s 2020 Chris Hemsworth hit action feature Extraction. and for which Bhai was the writer/producer.

“We’re bound to see what happens next,” Joe Russo said. “And we’re compelled to help people like The Daniels and what’s next, and people who have a passion for experimenting and understanding technology. Netflix is ​​an incredible distribution platform where 100 million viewers Looked at Extraction. It’s about $2 billion at the (theatrical) box office. It’s dramatic and important, and we see them as a really great, forward-thinking distributor of storytelling.”

The brothers also take a very different approach to the one Netflix takes in overseeing its dozens of productions as they are created around the world.

“They think more like a tech company than they do a studio that’s like, ‘Holy shit, if we give Russia $200 million to make a movie, we better Let’s make sure this thing gets delivered,'” Joe Russo said. “‘So we have to be all over them, maybe to the detriment of the quality of the film, because we’re so nervous and afraid we’ll get fired if it doesn’t work.’ They don’t behave that way.”

Gray Man is Netflix’s most expensive project to date, but its $200 million price tag comes with caveats because in an un-Hollywood way, Netflix pays its top talent big up front instead of so-called “back-end points.” Pays. which are not part of initial production cost.

“It’s in the ballpark of ($200 million),” Joe Russo said. “Obviously Netflix is ​​different than other studios, because they have a buy-in that goes against the budget. And so you know, when you say $200 million on Netflix, that’s different than $200 million on, say, At Disney.”

But make no mistake. By Hollywood or anyone else’s standards, this is a huge movie. It features a packed cast led by Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Anna

For his part, Joe Russo said the brothers had a “blast” making the film, and that Netflix had changed very little in the process to accommodate.

“Netflix, frankly, doesn’t ask anything of you, except to do your job and do it well,” Russo said. “They’re more flexible than any studio we’ve ever worked with, and in terms of our artists and the freedom to create the story that you want to create. They have an enormous amount of capital invested in creating content. gone. They make a lot of it, so much of it that (the company is) like, ‘Good luck, we’ll see you at the end of this. Let us know if you need any help.’ It’s a very refreshing way to tell a story and make a film as an artist.

The film is a cracking piece of work, zipping from Bangkok to Prague, Vienna to Virginia, but also happily moving between cars, planes, destroys trains and a few neighborhoods. An expansive C-5 cargo plane slowly disintegrates in mid-air in an opening setpiece while a fight rages inside.

It’s satirical, dark, and fast-paced, and The OG himself gives a nod to James Bond, while emphasizing that the new film is not a return to the six-decade-old franchise.

In terms of sensibility, the film is similar to Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series. Some operate in the same territory, translated by Doug Lemmon and others into a series of four hit films. Like Bourne’s Matt Damon, Gosling plays an off-the-book killer who finds himself in the dark. Shame is trying to avoid being killed by the bureaucratic but murderous bosses.

To build the franchise, Gosling’s character is filled with multiple levels of scary people and a number of supportive but compromising characters. Rad faces off, behind whom the briefly mentioned puppet master lingers long enough to make a major presence in the inevitable sequel.

Certainly, the film arrives at a useful time for Netflix as it tries to find its destinations beyond the first half of 2022. The company moved quickly after April’s lackluster earnings report, laying off more than 600 employees, leasing some office space, scrapping projects, and announcing plans for ad-supported tiers.

Despite all this, Netflix executives are telling nervous Hollywood production companies, talent and agents that it has enough money to make more projects like The Gray Men. Several executives confirmed on Tuesday’s earnings call that the company plans to spend on content this year and each of the next two years “in zip codes” of $17 billion.

That’s almost twice as much as Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime Video. And unlike traditional media companies like Disney or NBCUniversal, Netflix isn’t spending heavily on sports rights or programming produced for legacy film, broadcast and cable operations.

Some of Netflix’s upcoming big projects will head to Russia again for another big project, the recently announced The Electric State, starring Chris Pratt and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, another book adaptation. is based on

For all the love the brothers’ Marvel projects have received from theatergoers, streaming also serves their storytelling needs. He said that he is not missing out on traditional theatrical releases and nine-figure marketing campaigns.

With 'The Greymane,' Avengers masterminds The Russo Brothers
masterminds The Russo Brothers

“We’re ignorant,” Joe Russo said. “We don’t care.” Our goal as storytellers is to reach as many audiences as possible. We love movies. We grew up in movies. We were discovering Outers in theaters in the 70s when it was happening. We are descended from this generation. However, we are not respectful about it because everything has its time and then it has to be passed on to the next generation. It is not our right or responsibility to dictate what future artists should or should not do and what they should or should not consider art.

More important is Netflix’s focus on bringing the film to 220 million subscribers in nearly 200 countries around the world.

“Ultimately, … we care about what the reach of the story was?” Joe Russo said. “Who does it reach? Frankly, in a lot of ways you’re getting a wider audience through something like Netflix, because going to the movies is expensive, it’s somewhat of an elitist experience. You’re in other parts of the world. I go, you go (to a movie) once in your life, and it’s a very important experience for you. You can get Netflix for $10 or $14, and go to the movies and get a story once. “Compared to 40 stories a month. I think that’s important.”

Also attractive to the brothers was the ability to create a new franchise that they would control, something that would never be possible with an established juggernaut like Disney’s ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. But working in the MCU helped him think about how to build a vast narrative universe that fans could dive into for years to come, Netflix’s ambition.

“We tried to include characters in this movie that you want to know more about in other formats, whether it’s other movies or series or whatever,” Anthony Russo said. “So we approached it as just the tip of the iceberg of a narrative universe. Now, whether we really want to build that universe, we’ll see. It definitely depends on whether the audience takes the film. But that’s how we approached it as creators.

Russ noted that all of Netflix’s changes are really about the company getting ready for the next phase of the streaming wars. And he’s happy to take AGBO’s projects along for the ride

. They’re going to expand theatrical windows to take advantage of theatrical and digital distribution,” Joe Russo said. “They’re just looking at the whole business model, which just seems to change on a…monthly basis.”masterminds The Russo Brothers

Netflix, Still Reeling, Bets Big on ‘The Gray Man’ The

With 'The Gray man,' Avengers masterminds The Russo Brothers
masterminds The Russo Brothers

streaming service hopes its latest release could be the start of a blockbuster franchise that will bring in much-needed subscribers. Attracts.

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