In the late summer of 2012, the indie film production and distribution company A24 was born. Drama, comedy, horror, documentary, animation – nothing has been off-limits for the New York outfit. Whether it’s a monochromatic reflection of a family (“C’mon C’mon”), an offbeat character study of a former porn star (“Red Rocket”), or a man unable to resist a female robot (“Ex Machina”), some of the most memorable pieces of filmmaking of the past decade have come out of its doors.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding, Variety is ranking the 30 best films released by A24.
It was Aug. 17, 2012, when Variety first wrote about the launch of the company with the plan to release eight to 10 titles annually. A24 was started by David Fenkel, former Oscilloscope Laboratories president and executive at ThinkFilm; Daniel Katz, who led the film finance group at Guggenheim Partners and John Hodges, who served as head of production and development at Big Big Beach Films.
The company would release its very first movie on a limited scale in February 2013 – a film called “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III,” the sophomore directorial feature from Roman Coppola, starring Charlie Sheen. Critics panned it, but nonetheless, A24 persisted with four releases over the next six months – “Ginger & Rosa” with Elle Fanning, “Spring Breakers” with James Franco, “The Bling Ring” with Emma Watson and “The Spectacular Now” with Miles Teller.
By 2016, the studio quickly found its way through the Hollywood machine, navigating confidently from the east coast, becoming a production studio and fully financing its first feature film – the coming-of-age LGBTQ drama “Moonlight” from co-writer and director Barry Jenkins. In partnership with Plan B Entertainment, the film garnered universal acclaim and received eight Oscar nominations. In addition to winning supporting actor (Mahershala Ali) and adapted screenplay, in one of the most notorious and memorable Oscar ceremonies (until 2022’s infamous slap), it was named the year’s best picture in an envelope mix-up with one of the nominees, after “La La Land” was first named the winner (for approximately 30 seconds).
The sky was the limit. With critical darlings like “Lady Bird” (2017) by Greta Gerwig and “Eighth Grade” (2018), the studio has been part of partnership deals with Apple TV+ and Showtime Networks for its digital releases. It continues to execute some of the most innovative and thought-provoking films, like “Hereditary” (2018) by Ari Aster and “Uncut Gems” by the Safdie brothers.
After a decade in the game, the studio has created one of its strongest cinematic slates yet in 2022, including The Daniels’ “Everything Everywhere All at Once” with Michelle Yeoh, its highest-grossing film thus far. In addition, two other hotly anticipated titles are on the horizon — Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale” with Brendan Fraser and Elegance Bratton’s “The Inspection” with Jeremy Pope.
Read Variety’s rankings below and watch the best clip from each of the selections.
Honorable mentions: “Enemy” (2014) from Denis Villeneuve; “Morris from America” (2016) from Chad Hartigan; “Swiss Army Man” from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert; “The Florida Project” (2017) from Sean Baker; “Boys State” (2020) from Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine; “Zola” (2021) from Janicza Bravo