The Russo brothers, directors of the highest-grossing film of all time Avengers: Endgame, quietly secured a cash injection of around $50 million for their production company SUBSCRIPTION from Saudi Arabia Earlier this year, multiple sources say diversity.
In a deal brokered and finalized early in the pandemic, the Russians received the investment from an unnamed Saudi bank in exchange for a minority stake in the brothers’ Los Angeles business. The money is earmarked to fund development, production and overheads, said two people familiar with the transaction.
The Russos count several other investors and hold a majority stake in their company, which recently produced Chris Hemsworth’s Netflix hit “Extraction” and Tom Holland’s forthcoming “Cherry.”
yeah and Anthony Russo declined to comment on the matter. An insider said the Saudi money was a one-time cash injection. Another source said the investment is much higher than $50 million.
Many Hollywood companies, from Walt Disney Co. to Live Nation, have received significant investment from sources that include the Middle East Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund. Both Disney and Live Nation were stock purchases in the open market, as opposed to companies actively looking for investments. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Western media became a source of intense controversy after the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 – and subsequent reports that appeared to have implicated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the assassination. SRMG, a Saudi Arabian publicly traded publishing and media company, remains a minority investor in PMC, diversitythe parent company.
While the Russians drew from no public fund, the Saudi Arabian government has stakes in the kingdom’s banks, though not all are controlling stakes. A person with knowledge of the landscape said a bank investment versus cash from the Saudi public funds is “a distinction without distinction.”
The uproar over Khashoggi’s death created a human rights crisis for the kingdom just as the crown prince embarked on ambitious efforts to modernize the country. AMC Theaters brokered a lucrative deal to build cineplexes. The kingdom, which hopes to create large-scale live music infrastructure, has taken a $500 million minority stake in Live Nation. The state allowed women to drive, all in hopes of spurring a robust entertainment economy.
As a result of Khashoggi’s death, Hollywood agency Endeavor returned a $400 million investment to the Saudis. Many premium media companies, including Viacom and Uber, canceled a 2019 conference in Saudi Arabia dubbed “Davos in the Desert” to showcase bin Salman’s efforts.
AGBO was founded by the Russians in 2016 to provide artist-led content based on innovative story universes for film, television and digital platforms. In three weeks, the brothers will begin production on Netflix’s The Gray Man, a spy thriller starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas. They will then move on to producing the Amazon Prime Video Original Series Citadel and preparing a sequel to Netflix’s premier Extraction. On Friday, they announced a new feature featuring “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobbie Brown that was set up at Universal.
The brothers announced a planned 2019 reboot of The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Michael B. Jordan, though insiders say the project is no longer in active development.
Avengers: Endgame remains her crowning glory. The fourth installment in Marvel Studios’ superhero extravaganza broke national and global records in its opening weekend, grossing $2,797,800,564 worldwide.