May 21, 2024


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A24 achieves Art-House supremacy with its triumphant Oscar night

A24 achieves Art-House supremacy with its triumphant Oscar night

Now, as the acclaim begins, will the company, better capitalized than it has ever been, be able to maintain its level of taste and financial discipline? There’s concern within the industry that they might start to delve into more expensive films at the studio level, like Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax did after its early Oscar win.

The company’s slate of upcoming movies indicates that it’s sticking to its roots. Australian horror film “Talk to Me” just premiered to rave audiences at the SXSW Film Festival and is set to hit theaters this summer. Other films include Nicole Holofcener’s You Hurt My Feelings starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. “Spirits of the Past” by writer-director Celine Song; and “Beau Is Afraid,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Mr. Aster.

A24 will also still have to compete with streaming companies like Apple, Amazon and Netflix. (A24 had a two-year production deal with Apple that expired.) These services regularly compete with traditional big-budget movie studios, but they’ve also shown willingness to dabble in more indie fare, much as Apple TV+ did when it paid. $20 million for “CODA,” which won Best Picture last year.

“When you have Apple and Amazon, and still Netflix to some extent, distorting the market, it all spreads,” Gelula said.

“Everyone’s economies are now really broken,” he added. “So A24 has to keep making independent films, because as much money as they have, I don’t think they can compete head-to-head with those other three.”

Up to this point, A24 has managed to succeed by spending less and doing more. Unlike most studios, A24 does not rely on TV commercials to sell a movie. In fact, a studio may not be directing any TV commercials for a movie at all. Instead, the company has perfected the art of finding a specific audience online and persuading them — through clever social media content, for example — to preach to them. Their commitment to the original work has become their calling card. I started seeing the A24 name associated with a film that indicated a certain level of quality to a segment of the movie audience and the movie industry.

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Sunday night’s victory only confirms that.

“It’s really amazing, what they’ve done,” said Stephen Galloway, dean of the School of Film at Chapman University. “It really is art filmmaking that we all probably thought was dead. And yet they prove that it isn’t. You can guarantee at this point that they’re getting their first dibs on any interesting, original, non-mainstream scripts.”

Brooks Barnes Contribute to the preparation of reports.