IWOMEN Anything, Anywhere, Anytime, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s new multiverse film about an exhausted Chinese-American laundromat whose universe is where Michelle Yeoh is an opera singer. There is also a universe where she is a martial arts master. There’s even a universe where she has hot dogs for her fingers.
It’s the kind of plot twist that few studios get a chance to get into, which is exactly why it’s perfect for A24, the costume behind. Uncut Gems and Happiness.
A24 is not like other entertainment companies. It was originally founded on the wrong coast – New York, not Los Angeles – by three relatively young historical film executives, Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges, who decided they wanted to do things. different.
Since its founding in 2012, the A24’s risks have mostly paid off. The first film A24 produced (with additional support from Brad Pitt’s Plan B company) and distributed was 2016 Moonlighteventually won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Its latest release, Anything Anywhere Anytime earned best average per theater of any movie since Spider-Man: There’s no way home at the box office on opening weekend – almost $510,000 (£391,000) from just 10 theaters. It became the social networking site Letterboxd’s highest rated movie used to, overthrow Parasites in just three weeks of limited release.
I first came across A24 in 2017, while watching the unrecognizable Robert Pattinson play a crook in Josh and Benny Safdie’s crime thriller. Good times. There’s something familiar about this effortless production yet completely alien at the same time.
Other A24 movies I’ve seen – Jonathan Glazer’s critically acclaimed masterpiece Subcutaneous, Alex Garland’s elegant directorial debut Ex Machina, and Yorgos Lanthimos are often eccentric Lobster – also refuses to fit the Hollywood stereotype. There are no “safe bets” or sequels or prequels, just relentless creativity.
In my research I found that although there are many articles about their releases, very few are written about the A24 itself and even less about the people who run it. All over the internet I’ve only found two interviews with Katz and Fenkel (Hodges left the company in 2018 to join Jax Media, the production company behind Netflix. Emily in Paris), both were conducted 5 years ago, with GQ and The Wall Street Journal.
Interrupted me as I stood at London King’s Cross railway station, one finger to my ear, trying to listen to the announcement of the A24, who is not publicly listed but is fortunate to work with a friend and colleague old. The public wants to know who I am and why I want to speak to A24. Why would an entertainment journalist want to speak to one of the most successful production companies of recent years?
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I was granted access to “sources close to the company” on an unnamed nor cited person background. During the call, the source was embarrassed to be connected by a journalist involved, who thought it was really Hollywood. They then confirmed that A24 wasn’t taking a very Hollywood approach to self-promotion or practically anything. They say New York’s status as an “outsider,” is ingrained in the way the A24 operates. Although the company has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, employees still work in an open-plan office where co-founders alternate with interns and no public titles. just a colleague.
Ultimately, the source said, they want to focus on the job they’re putting in place, not the people responsible for doing it. Thankfully, there are people who know about the A24 who don’t work there. Who’s better than acclaimed director Ari Aster, currently in post-production on his third film with A24, Disappointment Blvd., starring Joaquin Phoenix, following the success of his first two horror films: Hereditary (2018) and Midsummer (2019).
Aster embodies everything about the A24: he’s young (35 years old), from New York City and nervous about speaking in front of the press. “Whenever I talk to someone who will make sure my words are preserved for posterity, I get paralyzed,” Aster said apologetically by phone. He doesn’t lie; Our conversation collects data, pains in every syllable, then moves from Miramax to Hereditary success shock.
I asked him about Miramax because that’s the comparison a lot of people have made to the A24 – in the ’90s, the studio led by Bob and Harvey Weinstein cemented itself as a flavor-maker of the future. self through indie hits like Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting.
However, Aster says there is one key difference: “Everybody knows that the cost of working with Miramax is Harvey. [Weinstein] will get his glove on it and will f**k with it. So that was never something that I was romantic about. “
Aster added that A24 isn’t looking for “prestige movies” chasing the Oscars in the same way that Miramax did, which “could be a flaw”; it’s looking for “people with a voice”.
Sofia Coppola, who has directed two A24 films, says GQ in 2017: “I really like people [at A24]. They don’t have the status of movie executives.”
Since I don’t know many film executives, I asked seasoned cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, co-founder of Filmmaking AcademyCoppola’s idea. He brings a deep laugh of good cheer to someone who has been taken by producers many times over the years and says, “what she means by that is that they are risk takers. They are very intense. ” He added that the mentality of the A24 is “to jump out of the plane, and then figure out how the hell [they’re] go to f**king for a safe landing” while the other movie executives will “think of all the different things” that could go wrong first.
My sources confirm that instead of weighing deals with boardroom executives, executives at A24 would rather use ads they care about for a good meal and some wine to find. understand them and their vision. It’s a rare style of partnership in a business dominated by “extreme” and often transactional franchises.
Aster’s Hereditary remains A24’s biggest box office success to date, grossing over $81 million (£62 million) worldwide on a $10 million (£7.7 million) budget. Credits Aster Hereditary succeeds with the film’s debut, which places the film’s creepy young Charlie (Milly Shapiro) as its central character when, in fact, she’s brutally beheaded at the beginning of the sentence. story, then focuses on her 16-year-old brother Peter (Alex Wolff) and his mother Annie (Toni Collette) as they attempt to destroy an evil force.
“People come in with the expectation of being violently turned upside down. And I credit the movie’s success with that move being as well defended as it ever was,” Aster said.
A24 does not market its movies like other distribution companies. Instead of spending on traditional advertising, the company spends about 95% of its money on online marketing, NYT reported, using social media as the backbone of its campaigns. To fuel conversations about movies, A24 uses gimmicks like creating a Dungeons & Dragons style board game for Dev Patel’s Arthurian TV series Green Knight and a fake Tinder profile because the Ex Machina’s android central character played by Alicia Vikander.
These guerrilla marketing tactics “get their movies talked about and shared on social media, so they don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising,” says one film publisher. Financial Times last year. “Many people are quite jealous of them.”
Character-led stories, sub-directors, and the usual marketing campaigns may seem like carefully chosen ways to control their image, but my sources seriously assure me. I think it’s not a coincidence. It just so happens that the first three movies they release are Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring and Spectacular because they are on a low budget and they can afford it, they say. From there, they realized that there was still a predominantly young audience that craved indie films that didn’t fit the mold.
Hurlbut said A24 can take these movies that other studios have dismissed as neglected trees and “throw some f**king Miracle-Gro on it” to allow them to flourish.
“It’s like, they can continue to push the boundaries of creativity, where a lot of other studios just do the second, third, fourth, re-editing already done – you know, I can’t wait to get started. bring Jaw again,” he said.
Intentionally or not, the A24 has managed to cultivate something ethereal, a vibe. As Aster said: “I think, in the end, the A24 is just, you know – they have the balls.”