Now, as the acclaim sets in, will the company, which is better capitalized than it has ever been, be able to maintain its taste level and its financial discipline? There is concern within the industry that they could begin delving into the more expensive, studio-level movies, much like Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax did after its early Oscar triumphs.
The company’s upcoming slate of films indicate it is sticking to its roots. The Australian horror film “Talk to Me” was just shown to rave reviews at the SXSW film festival and is scheduled to hit theaters this summer. Other films include Nicole Holofcener’s “You Hurt My Feelings,” starring Julia Louis Dreyfus; “Past Lives,” from the 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.) Those services regularly compete with the traditional studios for big-budget films, but they have also shown themselves willing to dabble in more independent fare, like Apple TV+ did when it paid $20 million for “CODA,” which went won best picture last year.
“When you have Apple and Amazon, and still Netflix to an extent, who are distorting the marketplace, all of it ripples out,” Mr. Gilula said.
“The economics for everyone now are really screwed up,” he added. “So A24 has to continue doing indie movies, because as much money as they have, I don’t think they can compete head-to-head with those other three.”
To this point, A24 has managed to succeed by spending less and doing more. Unlike most studios, A24 does not rely on television ads to sell a movie. In fact, the studio may not take out any TV ads at all for a film. Instead, the company has mastered the art of finding a specific audience online and convincing them — through clever social media content, for instance — to evangelize for them. Their commitment to original work has become their calling card. Seeing A24’s name attached to a film has begun to connote a certain standard of quality to a segment of the moviegoing audience and to the film industry.
Sunday night’s triumph only emphasizes that.
“It’s actually just amazing, what they’ve done,” said Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s film school. “It’s really art-house moviemaking that all of us probably thought was dead. And yet they’re proving it is not. You can guarantee at this point that they’re getting first dibs on any interesting, original, different non-mainstream screenplays.”
Brooks Barnes contributed reporting.