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The Biggest A24 Movies Of All Time

Though it's only existed since 2012, independent American entertainment company A24 already has several notable accomplishments under its belt. These include scoring an Academy Award for Best Picture for 2016's "Moonlight," as well as a variety of successful forays into the world of television, such as 2019's "John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch." Moreover, despite making a name for itself through unorthodox feature films made outside the traditional studio system, A24 has managed to earn a string of box office successes.

The reasons why certain A24 movies take off at the box office and others don't fluctuate from movie to movie. Sometimes, a smart release date helps ensure an A24 film doesn't have to deal with major competition. Other times, a movie gradually becomes a word-of-mouth sensation among the general public. Whatever the reasons for their profitability, the list of A24's biggest box office successes reflects just how much this company has defied the odds. In celebration, we're here to examine A24's most profitable hits, from sunny horror flicks to contemplative teen dramas.

It Comes at Night

Major studio blockbusters were rampant in June 2017. The first "Wonder Woman" movie debuted and became a pop culture phenomenon. New installments in the "Cars" and "Despicable Me" franchises brought in boatloads of cash. Sandwiched in between all these major franchise titles was something original from A24: "It Comes at Night," a horror film from auteur Trey Edward Shults. This film dropped the second weekend of June, alongside more mainstream options like "The Mummy" and "Megan Leavey."

The surprise success of 2015's "The Witch" inspired A24 to take a chance on launching an original horror film in wide release. "It Comes at Night" was not as lucrative as "The Witch," with Deadline noting that the film suffered from poor word-of-mouth. However, "It Comes at Night" still pulled in $13.9 million domestically on a $5 million budget – not too shabby for something released into a competitive marketplace without any household names to help it stand out. Plus, it was significantly more successful than 2016's "Krisha," the last Shults movie released by A24, which took in only $144,822. Moreover, it's commendable that "It Comes at Night" was around at all, providing June 2017 moviegoers with something not featuring talking automobiles or superheroes.

Spring Breakers

Dropping in March 2013, just a month after the studio debuted its first release, "Spring Breakers" was a massive test of just how viable A24's arthouse-goes-mainstream approach really was. Adding an extra dimension of trickiness to the scenario was the fact that "Spring Breakers" is directed by Harmony Korine, whose work is pretty much designed to alienate the audience. Up to this point, none of Korine's movies had cracked $10 million. They'd certainly inspired plenty of discussion, but they hadn't generated the kind of box office returns a newbie company needs to put itself on the map.

Thankfully for A24, "Spring Breakers" ended up being an early sign that the studio was capable of delivering box office hits. The feature grossed $14.1 million domestically, which included an impressive $4.8 million wide release debut from just 1,104 locations. The marketing, which fixated on the sight of James Franco and Selena Gomez playing seedy criminal types, doubtlessly helped earn this sum. Such unexpected casting, along with tantalizing word-of-mouth, lured moviegoers in, taking "Spring Breakers" far beyond what Korine's previous projects earned.

With "Spring Breakers," A24 made a statement: It was here to turn unique projects into box office hits.


2015's "Room," which tells the story of a kidnapped woman and the son she has borne in captivity, kicked off its box office run in just 4 theaters. From there, some arthouse titles would immediately expand into wide release. Not so for "Room:" This feature kept playing things slow and steady. Although "Room" never exceeded 198 theaters for the rest of 2015, positive buzz, particularly surrounding Brie Larson's lead performance, ensured that the title captured nearly $5 million by the end of the year.

Once "Room" snagged a slew of Academy Award nominations, including A24's first-ever Best Picture nod, it expanded into wide release. In its 15th weekend of release, "Room" broke into 862 locations. From there, "Room" kept hanging on at the box office: It was still playing in over 200 theaters nearly five months after it debuted. In the end, all that financial stamina led to "Room" grossing $14.6 million domestically. Not only did "Room" break new ground for A24 at the Academy Awards, it gave the company one of its leggiest box office performers.

The Farewell

One of the most acclaimed movies of 2019, Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" also ended up being one of the most notable indie box office hits of the summer. The latter feat was apparent from its opening weekend, when "The Farewell" grossed $355,662 from just 4 theaters. This impressive start is a testament to how much anticipation "The Farewell" had cultivated since it debuted to universal acclaim at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It helped too that it dropped in the middle of July 2019, when there weren't a ton of other major independent movies making waves at the box office. Without having to contend with much competition, "The Farewell" had room to keep going and going.

In the weeks that followed, A24 brought the film out to further theaters slowly. Rather than alienating prospective moviegoers, this tactic allowed buzz on "The Farewell" to simmer for ages, ensuring the movie was still playing in multiplexes through Labor Day weekend. Though the film's story is rooted in the specific details of the family it captures, it proved to be universally appealing enough that moviegoers from all walks of life came to see it.

In the end, "The Farewell" grossed $17.7 million domestically, well above its tiny $3 million budget. Summer 2019 certainly saw many higher-grossing movies than "The Farewell," but few were as profitable or impressively surprising.

The Disaster Artist

Though Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" has earned a reputation as one of the worst movies of all time, its a reputation regardless — one big enough to inspire 2017's "The Disaster Artist," a film that chronicles its journey to the big screen. Thus, what was once a cult item became the centerpiece of a major theatrical release headlined by the likes of James Franco and Seth Rogen.

"The Room" is so widely known, in fact, that "The Disaster Artist" was able to become a box office hit. After a strong debut weekend in limited release, "The Disaster Artist" took its story to the masses by expanding into hundreds of theaters the following weekend. Playing in just over 800 locations, "The Disaster Artist" grossed a hefty $6.3 million, enough to put it ahead of all but three other titles in the marketplace in that timeframe. 

Though competition from December 2017 tentpoles ensured it was out of wide release by its fourth weekend, "The Disaster Artist" still hit $21.1 million domestically, more than double its $10 million budget. With this box office haul, "The Disaster Artist" didn't just become a hit — it became evidence of just how much "The Room" has permeated pop culture.

The Witch

Though Black Phillip memes are now rampant on the internet, Robert Eggers' horror movie "The Witch" was a wild card when it dropped into theaters in February 2016. With a 1.19:1 aspect ratio and no actors who were, at the time, household names, "The Witch" was a curious title to launch in over 2,000 theaters, even if it did garner widespread acclaim at its 2015 Sundance Film Festival launch. Simply put, it doesn't have the makings of a hit.

However, "The Witch" exceeded all expectations in its domestic box office run, grossing a sizable $25.1 million. While it helped that there weren't any other major horror movies opening in February 2016, "The Witch" succeeded chiefly through moviegoers' passionately positive response to its unique appeal. Word spread from cinephile to cinephile, inspiring even the horror-averse to give it a chance. Today, the film is well on its way to being considered a horror classic. Who knew so many people wanted to live deliciously?

Ex Machina

Can the box office success of "Ex Machina" be chalked up to Oscar Isaac dancing? The heartthrob actor swaying his arms and hips to a groovy beat has become a go-to GIF, after all. In a sense, the answer is yes, but only because this scene symbolizes the movie's memorable tone. Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller is, in fact, full of such distinctive moments.

"Ex Machina" inspired a wealth of great reviews, and boasted a marketing campaign emphasizing the film's oodles of distinctive imagery. Plus, A24 did a lot of eye-catching publicity stunts, like utilizing bots on Tinder, to drum up interest. As a result, this feature grossed $25.4 million domestically. This is an especially impressive sum given the fact that its wide release expansion coincided with the debut of May 2015 blockbusters like "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Mad Max: Fury Road." 

Even with all that competition to face, "Ex Machina" kept on attracting moviegoers through marketing, word-of-mouth, and its compelling central premise. Plus, even though those other May 2015 movies have massive marketing budgets and iconic brand names, none of them have Oscar Isaac dancing. No wonder "Ex Machina" managed to thrive at the box office.


When you go to the movies on the Fourth of July, you likely see a big-budget blockbuster full of noise and explosions. If you can't get into that, perhaps you take the family to see a new animated movie. For Independence Day 2019, A24 opted to drop something highly unusual: A lengthy R-rated horror movie called "Midsommar." With its gruesome imagery and slow-burn atmosphere, all framed within a brightly lit Swedish village, "Midsommar" certainly stood out.

This unorthodox nature, as well as the wave of goodwill generated by director Ari Aster's previous film, "Hereditary," helped set "Midsommar" up for success as lucrative summertime counter-programming. Grossing $27.4 million domestically, "Midsommar" wasn't as successful as "Hereditary," but that's the largest complaint one can lob at the film's financial returns. Such an unusual feature making this much, especially when opening against MCU juggernaut "Spider-Man: Far From Home," is extraordinary. Maybe there's room for weird flicks over the Fourth of July weekend after all.


A Best Picture winner, "Moonlight" was also an impressive performer at the box office. That's a notable achievement, as the film's avant-garde touches and melancholy story aren't exactly the kind of qualities that typically define box office hits. Then again, nothing about "Moonlight" is typical. The very existence of a major feature starring a gay Black man eschews conventional cinema norms — why shouldn't its box office be similarly unorthodox?

"Moonlight" ended up grossing $27.8 million domestically, a sum accumulated over multiple months. This was made possible by the fact that "Moonlight" was a massive award season player the year it was released, ensuring it attracted moviegoers for months on end. Its Best Picture win took things especially far, to the point that "Moonlight" was still playing in wide release nearly five months after it first hit theaters. Needless to say, with its $1.5 million budget, "Moonlight" was an incredibly profitable venture for A24. It's also proof positive that hit movies and quality movies do not have to be mutually exclusive entities.


Horror movies have proven to be a regular source of box office success for A24, but none of the company's scary features have been as lucrative as "Hereditary." Ari Aster's feature-length debut tackles such gruesome material that its success seems impossible. This is a movie that wastes little time before diving into horrific family tragedy — not exactly the sort of stuff that defines a hit.

But that's just what "Hereditary" became following its June 2018 debut. Playing opposite titles like "The Incredibles 2" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the dark and off-putting qualities that define "Hereditary" became an asset: It provided a welcome alternative for moviegoers seeking something different. Opening to $13.5 million, "Hereditary" even managed to have strong legs at the box office, with three consecutive weekend-to-weekend drops under 50%. As word spread, the unflinchingly brutal "Hereditary" became a horror movie people just had to see — especially since there weren't any other scary movies hitting theaters in June 2018.

Ultimately, "Hereditary" managed to scare up $44 million domestically. That's a remarkable figure on its own merits, and another reminder of how reliably successful horror has been for A24.

Lady Bird

"What if this is the best version of me?" So ponders the titular lead of "Lady Bird." It's a question we've all asked ourselves, and that sense of universality helped "Lady Bird" become one of A24's most successful movies at the domestic box office. Sure, it helped that the film is a coming-of-age dramedy, rather than a form-bending sci-fi like "Under the Skin." However, the success "Lady Bird" found at the box office is anything but common. Hollywood isn't exactly clamoring to support introspective looks at teen girls' relationships with their mothers.

But "Lady Bird" defied the odds, finding audiences far beyond arthouse theaters. Grossing $48.9 million domestically, "Lady Bird" got a boost from being able to play in hundreds of theaters over both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well as flat-out exceptional word-of-mouth. That latter quality was especially apparent over 2017's post-Thanksgiving weekend: During a timeframe when movies usually fall by at least 60%, "Lady Bird" remained even with the preceding weekend gross

In the end, "Lady Bird" earned almost five times its budget, and even managed to become A24's highest-grossing movie domestically just two months into its box office run. While the protagonist of "Lady Bird" still isn't sure if she's the best version of herself, this movie's box office is certainly optimal.

Uncut Gems

At one point in "Uncut Gems," the film's protagonist, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), lays out what he wants to make some pricey bets on. "So I want the Celtics to cover," Ratner instructs. "I want the Celtics halftime, I want Garnett points and rebounds." His colleague Gary proceeds to dub that bet "the dumbest ... I've ever heard of." That may be so, but betting on "Uncut Gems" becoming a sleeper hit when it dropped into theaters in December 2019 would have been genius.

The first live-action theatrical release for Adam Sandler since 2015's "Pixels," "Uncut Gems" grossed over $1 million in two weeks of limited release screenings before scoring an impressive $9.5 million over its first weekend of wide release play. From there, "Uncut Gems" managed to stick around long enough at the box office to gross $50 million domestically, marking the first time in history an A24 release cracked that threshold in North America. A distinctive marketing campaign and buzz surrounding Sandler's acclaimed performance helped "Uncut Gems" stand out in a crowded holiday marketplace. In the process, it became a bonafide hit.