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Here’s why Apple is partnering with the innovative indie film studio behind Eighth Grade

Here’s why Apple is partnering with the innovative indie film studio behind Eighth Grade
[Photo illustration: Fast Company]





The movie Eighth Grade, YouTube star Bo Burnham’s directorial debut about middle-school Sturm und Drang in the age of social media, was a hit among critics at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. But it became a commercial success a few months later thanks to a shrewd campaign by the New York–based boutique film and TV studio A24. The studio, which has only 70 employees, rented out 50 theaters across the country where teens of any age could see the R-rated film for free—without getting their IDs checked at the door. This seeded a viral storm that helped the film go on to gross $13 million domestically—more than six times its production budget. The stunt is characteristic of A24, which is famous both for championing daring, auteur-driven fare and for its bold, non-traditional approach to finding audiences. Last year’s art-house horror hit Hereditary, from Ari Aster, took in $79 million globally after the studio scared the heck out of SXSW screening attendees by sending them creepy dolls like the ones that appear in the film. A24 has cultivated a community around Jonah Hill’s Mid90s, an ode to L.A. skater culture, through its growing collection of zines, podcasts, and film-related merchandise. (The Mid90s skater T-shirt sold out after Hill, a streetwear enthusiast, posted it on Instagram.) The studio’s prowess helped it earn a slate of film projects for Apple and its forthcoming video service.

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