You may have seen the logo of A24 Films quite a lot lately on many popular Netflix shows, HBO series, and feature films. It seems like A24 is everywhere! From their $40 million dollar deal with DirectTV in 2013 to release their films 30 days prior to theatrical release, to their deal with Amazon following theatrical release to exclusively release their films on video on Prime following the Bluray and DVD releases, to their more recent productions with Apple, Netflix, and HBO, they have their hands in a number of different baskets.
In case you’re not familiar with A24 here are the productions they produced:
Notable TV Shows Notable Films
•2 Dope Queens •Lady Bird
•Pod Save America •Moonlight
•The Confession Tapes •Hereditary
•Random Acts of Flyness •Ex-Machina
•Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster Frankenstein •The Lobster
•The Florida Project
•The Blackcoat’s Daughter
A24 films is an indie movie studio that specializes in both film production and distribution. What makes A24 Films so special is the groundbreaking content that they tackle in their productions and their fresh approach to marketing. Even The New York Times identified that A24 Films “has created a strong consumer identity.” So how did they do this? Why does nearly every platform want a piece of their production?
For starters, they have a really cool retro logo that, in my opinion, appeals to the hipsters of present while playing on the nostalgia of generations past. From the 1930 Art Deco style font to the primary colors reminiscent of the 1970s and the Star Wars-esque sound effects of the late 70’s, early 80’s, there is something for everyone in a single logo.
Here’s the video version of the second logo so you can hear the light saber soundtrack that accompanies it:
Aside from the logo, the founders brought a unique perspective on what their company priorities and values should be that shapes both the projects they take on and the consumer experience of their brand. So, before I get into the new things they have done to reach their target demographic – a phrase I feel the executives of A24 would shudder at, let’s take a look at the creators of A24 Films.
A24 was founded in New York in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges. Since then, they have opened an LA office in West Hollywood called A24 LA. According to Wikipedia the name comes from “the Italian A24 motorway Katz was driving on when he decided to found the company.”
Daniel Katz formerly led the Film Finance Group at the investment firm Guggenheim Partners, which financed films such as The Social Network, Zombieland, and the Twilight franchise. Guggenheim Partners provided the seed money to start A24 Films.
The other two founders also brought lots of experience on the film production and distribution side of the industry. David Fenkel was formerly the president and co-founder of Oscilloscope Laboratories with the Beastie Boys rapper Adam Yauch. Some notable Oscilloscope films from Fenkel’s time include Exit Through the Gift Shop, Howl, and Samsara. Before Oscilloscope Fenkel worked at USA Films which later became the independent film company and distributor Focus Features.
John Hodges was no less experienced with his background as head of development at the independent production company, Big Beach, known for Our Idiot Brother, Sunshine Cleaning, Sherrybaby, and Little Miss Sunshine.
Together, these three creatives started a production company with two major mantras: “Art first” and “There has to be a better way.” If you look at the films they’ve produced I think you’ll agree that art is in the forefront at A24. Their first films were directed by Roman and Sofia Coppola, true artists in their own right.
Feature films they produce such as Moonlight, Lady Bird, and Room are all indie films with budgets under $13 million dollars – which sounds like a lot, but as films go is extremely low budget. When a film is low budget there is something about having to get creative to make things work within the limits that give the film a rawer feeling that bigger budget features just do not have. The directors of those films were all relatively new to first time directors with fresh vision – Barry Jenkins, Moonlight, Lenny Abrahamson, Room, and Greta Gerwig (who I had the pleasure of working with when she was starring in the film 20th Century Women), Lady Bird.
A24 has made some great choices on the indie films they chose to produce and the way they marketed them, evidenced by their 25 Oscar nominations and 6 wins. Awards and titles are not their focus. Even the structure of A24 proves this as they are run like a Silicon Valley collective where no one has a formal title. For A24, it’s all about the fans having an art film experience. In the words of The New York Times, “A24 would spend roughly 95 percent of its marketing money online, using data and analytics to stitch films into the social media firmament in ways that prompts movie lovers to feel a sense of discovery and pass the message on organically — persuading fans to persuade one another.”
For example, A24 released cryptic Twitter posts last summer (2018) simply stating coordinates and a date. When people looked up the location all the could find was a billboard. When they showed up on the day, they found that A24 was hosting a 6 week summer film series called Public Access where they projected their films like Moonlight and Lady Bird on billboards throughout the east and west coasts.
If their billboard screenings didn’t make them popular their podcast, The A24 Podcast and hip limited edition A24 merchandise would. At the online A24 Shop you can buy everything from an Evil Grandmas wall calendar and vintage looking bound scripts, to a film themed beach towel – oh, and obscure free wallpapers from their latest films.
Although they already have several successful shows on Netflix, HBO, and Apple, they plan to finance at least 4-6 new series a year to keep expanding into TV as a major player.
When it comes to finding that “better way” A24 has no lack of connections and resources. Eldridge Industries, which was founded by former president of Guggenheim Partners Todd Boehly who also owns The Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions, has a minority stake in A24. And the company is also making use of Operam, a data and marketing start-up that has developed algorithms for targeting movie goers as well as Watson Design Group (Watson/DG), a forward thinking marketing agency with a focus on the web.
Regardless of how they get there, I am looking forward to what A24 has in store for us next.
To view A24’s website:
For more on the structure and history of A24 Films:
For more on the Billboard Screenings:
To sport that limited edition A24 t-shirt: