A24 achieves art house dominance with successful Oscars night

Now, as the accolades pile up, will the company, which is the best capitalized ever, maintain its level of taste and fiscal discipline? There is concern within the industry that they may begin exploring more expensive, studio-sized films, as Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax did after its early Oscar wins.

The company’s upcoming films indicate that it is sticking to its roots. Australian horror film “Talk to Me” screened to rave reviews at the SXSW Film Festival and is slated to hit theaters this summer. Other films include Nicole Holofcener’s “You Hurt My Feelings,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus; writer-director Celine Song’s “Past Lives”; and “Beau is Afraid,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mr. Directed by Auster.

A24 still has to compete with streaming giants like Apple, Amazon and Netflix. (A24’s two-year production deal with Apple has expired.) Those services continue to compete with traditional studios for big-budget films, but also show they’re willing to venture into more independent fare, as they did with Apple TV+ pay. $20 million for last year’s best picture winner “CODA.”

“When you have Apple and Amazon, and still have Netflix distorting the market to some degree, it all ripples out,” Mr. Kilula said.

“The economy is really screwed up right now for everybody,” he added. “So A24 has to keep doing indie films because the money they have, I don’t think they can compete head-to-head with the other three.”

At this point, A24 was able to succeed by spending less and doing more. Unlike most studios, A24 doesn’t rely on television commercials to sell a movie. In fact, the studio may not shoot any television commercials for a movie. Instead, the company has mastered the art of finding specific audiences online and convincing them — for example — through clever social media content — to evangelize them. Their dedication to original work has become their calling card. Seeing A24’s name attached to a movie has begun to signify a certain quality of quality to a section of the movie-going audience and the film industry.

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Sunday night’s win only underscored that.

“It’s really amazing what they’ve done,” said Stephen Galloway, dean of Chapman University’s film school. “It’s really the art-house filmmaking we all thought was dead. And yet they’re proving it’s not. You can guarantee this time that they’re getting first dibs on any interesting, original, diverse non-mainstream screenplay.

Brooks Barnes Contributed report.

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