A little more than 10 years passed from A24’s conception on an Italian roadway to its record-breaking run at the 2023 Academy Awards, when it became the first studio to sweep all six major Oscars categories. That A24 accomplished this feat is a testament to its founders’ vision as well as a changing cinematic landscape. Even before COVID-19, Hollywood studios were already leaning back from mid-budget fare to focus on starry sequels, caped crusaders, and other tentpole blockbusters, and the pandemic only accelerated that trend. These days if a movie cost between $5 million and $50 million, it’s more likely to be found on Netflix than in theaters — unless, that is, it comes from A24.
From bonkers character studies to high-concept horror, thrillers to dramas to what-the-fuck-was-thats, A24 has carved out a recognizable brand by funding talented people and letting them cook. That ethos led the company from arthouse startup to Oscars records in a staggeringly short period of time. Check out key moments from their remarkable rise below.
— Wren Graves
August 12th, 2012: A24 Is Born
A24 actually had its beginnings in the economic downturn of 2008, as studios became less exciting places to work. Three film producers — Daniel Katz of Guggenheim Partners, David Fenkel of Big Beach, and John Hodges of Oscilloscope — wanted to return to the independent ethos of the 1990s, when filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Coen Brothers revitalized the medium .
In 2012, as Katz recalled to GQ, studios had “all these really, really smart, capable, ambitious people that love movies. And they were like the third guy at the company. No one had a voice,” he said. “I felt like there was a huge opportunity to create something where the talented people could be talented.”
During a trip into Rome driving down the A24 motorway, Katz had a “moment of clarity” when he dreamed of starting a new film company. On August 12th, 2012, the dream became a reality.
A24 distributed its first film, Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, in February of 2013. It was a colossal flop, earning a 28/100 on Metacritic before being booed out of theaters. But Katz, Fenkel, and Hodges still believed that a place “where the talented people could be talented” would eventually find success. They wouldn’t have to wait much longer. — flat share