It’s a real seller’s market for movie studios these days, with companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple falling over themselves to pay out ridiculous amounts of money for big-name movies or even entire big-name studios, with Netflix throwing $450 million at getting two Knives Out sequels, Apple paying hundreds of millions of dollars for one Martin Scorsese movie, and Amazon dumping nearly $9 billion on Leo The Lion’s lap to buy MGM. This all makes Disney’s decision to give George Lucas $4 billion for Star Wars seem almost like a bargain, so it’s hardly a surprise that other movie studios are looking to cash in and get a few billion dollars of their own—studios like indie powerhouse A24, which reportedly looked into a possible sale recently and asked potential buyers to float something in the rage of $2.5 to $3 billion.
A24 is a studio that has had its hand in nearly every buzzy indie release of the last five years in both TV and film, from Ramy and Euphoria to Hereditary, Uncut Gems, Moonlight, and Lady Bird (and the recently released Zola and the upcoming Green Knight). This news comes from Variety, which says A24 has been “engaged with numerous suitors for more than 18 months,” though it’s “unclear” if any of those discussions are still going on or if any actual sale is still on the table. Apparently, the site’s sources say that A24 is currently “focused on expansion” rather than a sale, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not going to happen or that it wasn’t close to happening at some point in the past.
The Variety piece spends a lot of time going into how and why A24 would reportedly value it self at $3 billion (which, again, is almost as much as Disney paid for Star Wars, and A24 is not Star Wars). The general consensus seems to be that A24's cachet in Hollywood is valuable, since it not only has a bunch of Academy Award nominations under its belt but that all of its releases also get a certain amount of automatic buzz by virtue of the fact that they’re A24 movies—especially in horror films, where the A24 logo implies a certain amount of soul-rending, brain-fucking terror to look forward to. The Variety quotes “one competitor” as saying that “you never hear a word about [A24's] flops, and they definitely have them,” because “all anyone cares about is what they’re doing next.”
Of course, if a sale did happen, it probably wouldn’t mean a whole lot to the average person, assuming you’re not the sort of average person who could blow $3 billion on a hip movie label (you could force Ari Aster to make elevated horror movies just for you!). What it would mean, potentially, is one outlet locking down exclusive control of a whole brand of artsy films, the way Disney has for movies about Darth Vaders and Iron Mans. That sort of thing is rarely good for consumers, unless you argue that something like Knives Out 2 wouldn’t happen at all without Netflix footing the bill (which is fair), but—again—A24 isn’t Star Wars or MGM. Nobody would be buying this so they can control a major film franchise, they’d be buying it pretty much just for clout… which most likely explains why nobody pulled the trigger on this $3 billion deal