EXCLUSIVE: In launching their company AGBO while directing back-to-back The Avengers sequels, Joe and Anthony Russo have made it clear their venture is all about elevated storytelling. They’ve just added another platform beyond film and TV: interactive location-based entertainment. AGBO has made a deal to team with The Tension Experience to develop new immersive experiences, destinations and brand partnerships. In this new joint venture, AGBO will be joining as producers of the groundbreaking show and support the development and expansion of Tension to more cities.
The Tension Experience was hatched three years ago when Darren Lynn Bousman — the director of Saw II, III & IV and other fright fare — teamed with writer Clint Sears and producer Gordon Bijelonic to launch what they call “immersive theater,” these stationary destinations where patrons get the daylights scared out of them. The first planned project in the joint venture will be the creation of a permanent destination in Las Vegas, in tandem with a casino partner. They will turn it into a nightlife experience and believe this will be a step forward in the evolving medium of interactive entertainment which has been tried selectively with Virtual Reality exhibitions and “escape rooms.” This particular venture will be designed to be reactive to its audience’s individual choices and decisions, and incorporate technology to create a satisfying audience experience.
“We’re always searching for new and innovative ways to interpret narrative,” said Anthony and Joe Russo. “We’re beyond impressed by the wholly immersive experience that Tension has brought to all of their shows, and we look forward to helping them expand their reach.”
In the early days of The Tension Experiences, its architects designed it so that patrons become the stars of their own real-life, cinema-quality thrillers, helped by hundreds of actors and and visual effects. Bousman has devoted most of his energy the past few years honing the formula.
“As a consumer, I became passive,” he said. “I sit back and I watch while things happen around me. I wanted to feel more engaged. I needed something to wake me up and inspire me. Immersive theater did that. It forces the audience to be active. We want to create environments where the audiences are the stars… Their action unlocks the narrative.”
Said Bijelonic: “When we embarked on this journey our goal was to change and disrupt the traditional storytelling format. We wanted to give our audiences a true visceral experience incorporating all five Human Senses.”
Said Sears, who scripts the stuff: “This is the most fulfilling creative endeavor we could possibly be involved with. It’s unparalleled in its scope and possibilities. The team feels that their experience along with the unparalleled creative force of AGBO will help create the most exciting immersive collaboration in the world.”