Sunday, March 3, 2024

A24's Plan to Scale


Bloomberg - "Can the Masters of Hipster Cringe Conquer Hollywood With Wall Street Cash?"

"But these days it’s not just creative dexterity driving the hipster outfit to sniff around all forms of middlebrow fare. In 2022 the company raised $225 million from a group of investors, including private equity firm Stripes LLC. The deal valued A24 at $2.5 billion, a staggering amount by the penurious standards of the indie film world. Now, bolstered by Wall Street riches, it’s making a run at scaling up its indieness. The company is moving into more costly genres such as sports and action while mining existing franchises, including a Spike Lee remake of the Akira Kurosawa classic High and Low and a new Peacock horror series, Crystal Lake, a prequel to the Friday the 13th series. In the works is a biopic of Elon Musk, based on the bestselling biography by Walter Isaacson, the whale of heroic, mass-market business yarns. (In the A24 spirit, it’ll be a Darren Aronofsky affair.) Apple TV+ recently scooped up A24’s drama series from hitmaker David E. Kelley, and in January Amazon Prime Video began airing Hazbin Hotel, the studio’s first foray into adult animation. Even 260-plus pounds of tender, prime-cut action hero in the form of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is making an A24 debut, in the martial-arts drama The Smashing Machine. “We get very excited by the idea of changing the mainstream,” says Noah Sacco, A24’s head of film. “Broadening or scaling up or whatever you want to call it, is a part of that.”"


"In 2022, with Sonar on the prowl, Stripes and a crew of other investors made the $225 million investment in A24, creating a seldom-seen creature in the ornate zoology of indie filmmakers: an art-house unicorn. To this day, the $2.5 billion valuation still seems bonkers to some industry observers. Consider Lions Gate. In 2023, the studio released 12 movies and grossed $579 million domestically (four times A24’s haul of $138 million, according to the website The Numbers). It has a collection of more than 20,000 films and TV shows (a library at least 100 times larger than A24’s) and several franchises, including John Wick, The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games. (A24 has nothing comparable.) In December, Lions Gate announced it would be spinning off its TV and film studios into a publicly traded company with an initial value of $4.6 billion. How could A24 be worth more than half as much?"

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