A24

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A24 Films LLC
A24
FormerlyA24 Films (2012–2016)
Company typePrivate
IndustryEntertainment
FoundedAugust 20, 2012; 11 years ago (2012-08-20)[1]
Founders
  • Daniel Katz
  • David Fenkel
  • John Hodges
Headquarters31 West 27th Street, ,
United States
Number of locations
2 (2016)
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
Services
OwnerDaniel Katz
Number of employees
295[2] (2021)
DivisionsA24 Music
A24 Television
A24 International
A24 All Access (AAA24)
Subsidiaries2AM (backing)
Websitea24films.com

A24 is an American independent entertainment company that specializes in film and television production, as well as film distribution. The company is based in Manhattan.[1]

The company was founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges.[3] Prior to A24, all had worked extensively in film and production before leaving their positions to co-found the company, originally A24 Films, which specialized in film distribution. Starting off in 2013 with A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, the company's growth started with the release of Spring Breakers later that year. In 2014, A24 picked up the U.S. rights to Ex Machina and Room in 2015, before obtaining worldwide rights to The Witch, which was released theatrically in 2015. They entered into deals with Amazon Prime Video, and DirecTV Cinema in late 2013, with some films distributed through them, and the name was changed to just A24 in 2016.[4] In 2022, A24 distributed the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and six more Oscars; the film has also received acclaim from both audiences and critics.[5][6][7]

A24's television division has produced numerous programs, including At Home with Amy Sedaris (2017–2020), Beef (2023), The Carmichael Show (2015–2017), Euphoria (2019–present), I'm Sorry (2017–2019), Irma Vep (2022), Mo (2022–present), Mr. Corman (2021), Ramy (2019–2022), and Ziwe (2021–2022).[8]

The company has also frequently worked with artistically minded writer-directors, including Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Sean Baker, the Daniels, Robert Eggers, Alex Garland, Rose Glass, Joanna Hogg, Yorgos Lanthimos, David Lowery and the Safdie brothers.[9][10][11]

A24 has developed a reputation as a powerhouse in independent film with a passionate fanbase.[12][13][14] Its projects have also had a major influence on style in contemporary horror and arthouse films, among other areas.[15][16][17] A24 is also known for the originality and artistic style of films it produces, generally shunning the style of films produced or released by the major film studios.[5][17][18]

History

2012–2013: Founding and early years

A24 was founded on August 20, 2012, by film veterans Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges.[3] Katz formerly led the film finance group at Guggenheim Partners, Fenkel was the president, co-founder and partner at Oscilloscope, and Hodges served as "Head of Production and Development" at Big Beach.[3] The name "A24" was inspired by the Italian A24 motorway Katz was driving on when he decided to found the company.[19]

Guggenheim Partners provided the seed money for A24. The company was started to share "movies from a distinctive point of view".[20] In October 2012, Nicolette Aizenberg joined as head of publicity from 42West where she was senior publicity executive.[21]

The company began its distribution of films in 2013.[22] The company's first theatrical release was Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, which had a limited theatrical release. Other 2013 theatrical releases included Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now, and Sally Potter's Ginger & Rosa.[19][23][24][25]

In September 2013, A24 entered a $40 million deal with DirecTV Cinema, where DirecTV Cinema would offer day-and-date releases 30 days prior to a theatrical release by A24; Enemy was the first film to be distributed under the deal.[26] That same year, A24 entered a deal with Amazon Prime, where A24-distributed films would be available on Amazon Instant Video after becoming available on Blu-ray and DVD.[27]

2014–2017: Television and later productions

In May 2015, A24 announced that it would start a television division and began producing the USA Network series Playing House, as well as working to develop a television series that would later become Comrade Detective, produced by Channing Tatum. The company also announced that they would also finance and develop pilots.[28]

In January 2016, Sasha Lloyd joined the company to handle all film, television distribution and business development in the international marketplace.[29] The company, with cooperation from Bank of America, J.P. Morgan & Co. and SunTrust Banks, also raised its line of credit from $50 million to $125 million a month later to build upon its operations.[30] In April, the company acquired all foreign rights to Swiss Army Man, distributing the film in all territories, and partnering with distributors who previously acquired rights to the film, a first for the company.[31] In June, the company, along with Oscilloscope and distributor Honora, joined BitTorrent Now to distribute the work of their portfolio across the ad-supported service.[32]

In January 2017, the company acquired the United States and Chinese distribution rights for their first foreign language film: Menashe.[33]

2018–2019: Management changes and partnerships

On February 28, 2018, A24 launched a podcast titled "The A24 Podcast".[34] Episodes are based around a discussion between two members of the film industry. Guests on the podcast have included Bo Burnham, Sofia Coppola, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, and Alia Shawkat. Despite lacking any pre-defined structure, episodes generally contain discussions around recent works of the two guests, allowing for branching discussions to other areas. The first two guests were Barry Jenkins (director of A24's Moonlight) and Greta Gerwig (director of A24's Lady Bird), who both discussed what it's like to make a movie about the place they grew up.[35] As of October 18, 2023, 38 episodes have been released.[36][37][38]

On March 26, 2018, co-founder John Hodges announced that he was exiting the company.[39] On November 15, 2018, A24 and Apple announced that they had entered into a multi-year partnership where A24 will produce a slate of original films for Apple. This was not a first-look deal, meaning that A24 can continue to produce and acquire films to release outside of the deal, and that it would not affect previous deals that A24 had signed with other companies. It is currently unknown if this slate of films will have a theatrical release or be exclusive to Apple's streaming service: Apple TV+.[40]

On November 13, 2019, A24 entered into a premium cable television broadcast deal with Showtime Networks, covering all film releases through November 1, 2022. The deal excludes films that are already part of the Apple partnership.[41]

2020s–present: Academy Awards triumph, further agreements, and expansion

In July 2021, A24 explored a possible buyout for between $2.5 billion to $3 billion.[42] In January 2022, former HBO and Amazon MGM Studios TV executive Nick Hall joined A24 to oversee creative for the company's growing television slate.[43] In April 2022, the company released its membership "AAA24" for subscription; members' benefits include early access to merch drops, exclusive merch for members only, monthly merch discounts for members, and a zine every four months.[4]

In March 2023, A24 became the first independent studio to sweep Best Picture, Best Director, and all four acting categories in a single year at the 95th Academy Awards.[44][45][46] That same month, the company bought distribution rights to two older films released before the company's inception, starting with Darren Aronofsky's Pi (1998) and Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense (1984), both of which are remastered versions.[47][48][49][50]

In May 2023, Leonine Studios, a German independent film distributor, partnered with A24 to set up a joint label called "A24 | Leonine Studios", which will distribute films in Austria and Germany.[51] The next month, it was reported that former Disney General Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice signed a deal with A24 as an independent producer, agreeing to co-finance films for global distribution.[52]

During the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes, which took place from May 2 to November 9, A24 was approved to continue filming and promotional activities since they do not have ties to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).[53]

In October 2023, TheWrap's Umberto Gonzalez exclusively reported that A24 is planning to expand its "strategy from arthouse films to more commercial films", including "action and big IP projects". According to one production executive from the company, A24 "took a beating on dramas, especially the ones they made," the top agent said. The production exec added that A24 would still acquire dramas, but would move away from making as many of them. "The auteur business is a lousy, high-risk business that does not attract potential buyers ... That's a big problem if you're looking to sell or seek additional investment," another top agent told TheWrap. This decision has been met with mixed responses from some journalists; Jordan Ruimy, creator/writer/editor-in-chief of the website World of Reel, wrote: "I just hope this isn't a total reversal of A24's indie production sector into full-on commercial movies. Hopefully, the broader strategy of acquiring good movies and platforming them is still intact."[54][55][56] That same month, A24 forged an exclusive output deal with "Happinet Phantom Studios" covering the distribution in Japan of A24's upcoming releases; this marks A24's first major international theatrical output deal. The companies will also build A24 brand awareness across the region, and deepen relationships with local talent and audiences off screen beyond film releases.[57]

In association with Prime Video and Fox Entertainment's Bento Box Entertainment, A24 launched its first animated project: the adult musical comedy series Hazbin Hotel. The eight-episode first season premiered on January 19, 2024, on Prime Video; it received a two-season order.[58][59][60] However, the first episode was made available to watch, for free, on YouTube on January 18, with the first four episodes subsequently released on Prime Video the following day as scheduled.[61] The series, which had been long in the works, is based on series creator Vivienne Medrano's animated pilot released on YouTube in 2019. Hazbin Hotel follows Charlie Morningstar (voiced by Erika Henningsen), the princess of Hell, as she pursues her seemingly impossible goal of rehabilitating demons to peacefully reduce overpopulation in her kingdom. After a yearly extermination imposed by angels, she opens a hotel in the hopes that patrons will be "checking out" into Heaven.[58][62][63] At the 2023 New York Comic Con, the cast was unveiled and it was announced that fans would be able to get digital access to the first two episodes at "HazbinHotel.com" before they were released on Prime Video, plus exclusive merchandise only available during the presale; early access episodes are available to stream for a limited time on the A24 App.[64]

In January, 2024, it was announced that A24 struck a deal with United Talent Agency (UTA) to produce scripted and unscripted television via the latter's Civic Center Media banner. The deal will see Civic Center Media given resources for development and production via A24. UTA stressed that Civic Center Media will work with talent from all agencies and UTA will continue to work with all studios, with A24 similarly continuing to work with all agencies. "We are excited to partner with A24," said UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer. "Their brand stands for quality and originality, and we believe the Civic Center Media collaboration will provide a great experience for writers, actors, directors and IP holders."[65]

Film library

A24 produces and distributes about 18 to 20 films annually.[20] It has also served as producer or distributor for several dozen television shows, including At Home with Amy Sedaris (2017–2020), Beef (2023), The Carmichael Show (2015–2017), Euphoria (2019–present), I'm Sorry (2017–2019), Irma Vep (2022), Mo (2022–present), Mr. Corman (2021), Ramy (2019–2022), and Ziwe (2021–2022).[8]

With a budget of $50 million, the upcoming action thriller Civil War (2024), written and directed by Alex Garland, is A24's most expensive in-house production yet.[66] The film is described as "an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride through a near-future fractured America balanced on the razor's edge"; Kirsten Dunst stars in the lead role as a reporter.[67][68][69] Civil War is scheduled to be released in the United States on April 12, 2024, though was previously scheduled to be released on April 26, 2024.[70][71]

Highest-grossing films

Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) is currently A24's highest-grossing film and the first film of the company to cross the $100-million mark worldwide.[72]

Highest-grossing films in North America
Rank Title Year Domestic gross Ref.
1 Everything Everywhere All at Once 2022 $77,191,785 [73]
2 Uncut Gems 2019 $50,022,787 [74]
3 Lady Bird 2017 $48,959,272 [75]
4 Talk to Me 2023 $48,299,434 [76]
5 Hereditary 2018 $44,069,456 [77]
6 The Iron Claw 2023 $34,735,272 [78]
7 Moonlight 2016 $27,855,933 [79]
8 Midsommar 2019 $27,424,363 [80]
9 Ex Machina 2015 $25,444,959 [81]
10 Priscilla 2023 $20,865,910 [82]
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross Ref.
1 Everything Everywhere All at Once 2022 $144,414,740 [73]
2 Talk to Me 2023 $92,039,205 [76]
3 Hereditary 2018 $82,850,595 [77]
4 Lady Bird 2017 $78,989,474 [75]
5 Moonlight 2016 $65,171,616 [79]
6 The Whale 2022 $54,883,205 [83]
7 Uncut Gems 2019 $50,022,787 [74]
8 Midsommar 2019 $48,060,188 [80]
9 The Iron Claw 2023 $44,012,883 [84]
10 The Zone of Interest 2023 $42,242,099 [85]

Styles and themes

The company distributes and produces artistic, psychologically disturbing, and mind-bending horror films often referred to as "elevated horror".[16][86][87][88] Most of these films share a similar approach, including ambiguity, bleak atmosphere, disruptive formulas, outbursts of violence, psychological dilemmas, and realistic character drama; these include Hereditary (2018), It Comes at Night (2017), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), Men (2022), Under the Skin (2013), and The Witch (2015).[89] The term also refers to genre films with a seemingly more artful sensibility than most fare, plus a focus on dramatic themes such as grief and trauma.[90]

Influence

In October 2023, Scorsese revealed in an interview with The Irish Times that Aster's films helped to inspire the tempo of his own film Killers of the Flower Moon (2023), adding that timing is crucial for a film that's three-and-a-half hours long, stating: "I very much like the style and pacing of good horror films like Ari Aster's Midsommar or Beau Is Afraid. The pacing of those films goes back to the B films of Val Lewton, Jacques Tourneur's Cat People or I Walked with a Zombie. Just going a little slower, a little quieter."[91] Scorsese again name checked Aster in another interview that same month, this time with Spanish outlet SER, saying: "I think the rhythm of good horror movies, such as those of Ari Aster, Beau Is Afraid or Midsommar, is here ... It has to do with the fact that they allow me to make the pace calmer."[91]

Accolades

As of the 95th Academy Awards, A24 has received a total of 55 Academy Award nominations, winning 16 overall.[45][92][93]

Additionally, A24 has been nominated and won numerous British Academy Film Awards, Critics' Choice Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.[98][99][100]

Reception

"A24 is a business whose aspirations are unlimited," said one high-level Hollywood executive. "They're not trying to become Focus [Features]. They want to become a big media company."[101]

Filmmaker David Lowery (director of A24's A Ghost Story and The Green Knight) praised A24, saying: "The great thing about A24 is that they're always up for a challenge. They remain undaunted; they'll take the most difficult, unsaleable aspect of your movie and turn it into its greatest asset." Fellow filmmaker James Ponsoldt (director of A24's The End of the Tour and The Spectacular Now) also applauded the company, saying: "A24 is remarkable at championing specific cinematic voices because they genuinely adore their films — and that enthusiasm is reflected in the creativity and laser-like precision of their marketing and releases."[15]

Many of the performances in A24 films have received widespread critical acclaim, with many critics and reviewers describing these actor/actress' performances as some of the best of their career.[102] Such performances include: Mahershala Ali's in Moonlight (2016),[103] Awkwafina's in The Farewell (2019),[104] Toni Collette's in Hereditary (2018),[105] Brendan Fraser's in The Whale (2022),[106] Mia Goth's in X (2022) and Pearl (2022),[107] Tom Hardy's in Locke (2013),[108] Brie Larson's in Room (2015),[109] Greta Lee's in Past Lives (2023),[110] Robert Pattinson's in Good Time (2017) and The Lighthouse (2019),[111] Joaquin Phoenix's in C'mon C'mon (2021) and Beau Is Afraid (2023),[112][113] Florence Pugh's in Midsommar (2019),[114] Saoirse Ronan's in Lady Bird (2017),[115] Adam Sandler's in Uncut Gems (2019),[116] Anya Taylor-Joy's in The Witch (2015),[117] Alicia Vikander's in Ex Machina (2014),[118] and Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, and Stephanie Hsu's in Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022).[119][120]

Ari Aster (left) and Robert Eggers (right)

A24 has frequently worked with many artistically-minded writer-directors, for most of which the films released by the company pivoted their careers, including Ari Aster, Sean Baker, the Daniels, Robert Eggers, Alex Garland, Rose Glass, Joanna Hogg, Yorgos Lanthimos, David Lowery, and the Safdie brothers.[16][121][122][11]

Auteur filmmakers Aster—director/writer of Hereditary (2018), Midsommar (2019), and Beau Is Afraid (2023)—and Eggers—director/writer of The Lighthouse (2019) and The Witch (2015)—are both notable for their contribution to and influence on modern horror, and partial reinvention and redefining of the genre.[11][123][124][125][126][127] Their films have dealt with and share a lot of similarities in some way, including folklore or supernatural forces. Even with their strong similarities, there are differences as well; all three of Eggers' films are period pieces while Aster's all take place in modern times. Aster also seems to take conventional horror and put his own modern spin on it to inspire some genuinely uncomfortable fear in viewers while Eggers takes conventional horror and throws it out the window to transport viewers to another world with his unique dialogue and cinematography.[11][128][129] Both have been cited as two of the top horror directors of the 2010s while their films have received widespread critical acclaim and deemed as some of the best horror films of the 2010s.[130][131][132] During a Q&A for Beau Is Afraid in 2023, renowned and veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese dubbed Aster "one of the most extraordinary new voices in world cinema".[133]

Later in 2023, Talk to Me (2022), directed by twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, and released theatrically in the United States on July 28, became a triumphant success at the box office and surpassed Hereditary as A24's highest-grossing horror film domestically with a running total of $44.5 million on September 3.[134][135][136] The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its story, direction, horror sequences, practical effects, sound design, and performances.[137] In a statement to Newshub, filmmaker Peter Jackson highly praised the film, saying: "Talk to Me isn't just good – it's very very good. The best, most intense, horror movie I've enjoyed in years." Aster, Stephen King, George Miller, and Steven Spielberg have all praised the film as well.[138] A sequel is currently in development.[139]

However, John Carpenter and Jordan Peele, filmmakers most commonly associated with horror, have denounced and rejected this term and style of horror. In an interview with The A.V. Club, Carpenter was perplexed by the topic, saying: "I don't know what that means ... There's metaphorical horror. But all movies have. They don't have messages. They have themes. Thematic material and some horror films have thematic material. The good ones do."[140] In a separate conversion, Peele told The Verge: "I don't want people to think that I'm trying to make 'elevated' films. I think that's a trap that I don't quite appreciate."[90]

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