A24 is expanding its auteur-driven strategy to include more commercially viable films, The Wrap reports. According to a “top agent with knowledge of the company,” A24 acquisition exec Noah Sacco “made the talent agency rounds” this summer, looking for “action and big IP projects.” This move, the agent said, is part of a larger strategy of “deemphasizing the traditional character/auteur-driven dramas” that have been the beloved indie studio’s bread and butter since its founding in 2012.
Last March, the Manhattan-based equity firm Stripes paid $225 million for less than 10 percent of A24, putting the studio’s overall valuation in the ballpark of $2.5 billion. A24’s apparent pivot, sources told The Wrap, is partly due to their need to keep up with this massive appraisal.
The company’s previous vision of putting its money behind riskier art-house dramas and genre films has been a success, in most senses of the word: Last year, Everything Everywhere All at Once became the first A24 movie to make more than $100 million at the box office. It also won five of the six major Academy Awards this year (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress). And The Whale — another high-grossing A24 film — won the sixth (Best Actor), marking the first time in Oscars history a single studio has swept the big six.
Despite all of these accolades, and the remarkable success of A24’s biggest hits, the studio has lost serious money on many of its recent gambles, including Waves, The Green Knight, and Beau Is Afraid. “The bottom line is that auteur films don’t make any money and are super risky,” the “top agent” told The Wrap. “It’s just not a good long-term strategy. They have to have a good balance of both.”
Another source “close to A24” argued with the agent’s characterization of the company’s expansion in a statement to The Wrap. The studio will still focus on auteurist films, the source said, but will be “doing more” and “widening the aperture.” The FADER has reached out to a representative of A24 for further comment.