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Watch: #TBT ‘Spring Breakers,’ the NSFW Trailer That Put A24 on the Map

Watch: #TBT 'Spring Breakers,' the NSFW Trailer That Put A24 on the Map


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For one reason or another, A24, the people’s champion of auteur distribution, has been getting a lot of attention over the past couple of days. Three years down the line, it’d be quite shocking to learn that anyone in the film community is unfamiliar with the unparalleled quality of the indie studio’s releases, but if the company truly does need a further push into the mainstream, it’s no fault of their robust and creative marketing team.

Case and point: Take a look at the trailer for 2012’s EDM nightmare “Spring Breakers.” While it’s clear that anyone who saw this trailer before the film’s release had no idea what it was really about, it had all the ingredients necessary to attract a huge and diverse audience. Perverse imaginations were steered to expectations of a Disney starlet sex-filled romp through a boozy co-ed wonderland. What they got was an art-house neo-noir, the likes of which has rarely been seen.

The studio has put out plenty of hits since its inaugural effort (take “Under the Skin,” “Ex Machina,” “A Most Violent Year” and this year’s “The End of the Tour,” for example), but none have reached the commercial success of “Spring Breakers.” This is interesting because, aside from maybe “Under the Skin,” “Spring Breakers” could be considered the least palatable of their offerings for a mainstream crowd. Indeed, much of its tween audience soon took to the interwebs to express their displeasure at how strange of an experience they had viewing the film, quickly pronouncing it as one of the worst movies ever made.

As David Ehrlich mentions in his must-read Slate article published earlier this week, the marketing strategy A24 employed for the film avoided over-saturation through expensive television, billboard and other industry advertising standards, instead partnering with a social marketing agency called theAudience to focus on building an audience through platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This was a truly revolutionary move at the time and has changed the way studios market films in the present. The film gained 174 million impressions before its opening, with 49% of those views coming from organic reach. In other words, 85 million impressions came in without A24 having to spend a single penny on promotion. Ehrlich places this feat perfectly in context by comparing the amount of likes on the “Spring Breakers” Facebook page (1.1 million) to the Oscar bludgeoned “Birdman” page (a mere 289,000.)

So, cheers to A24. We truly hope you keep providing filmmakers like Harmony Korine with the opportunity to “do the most radical work, but put it out in the most commercial way.” If your upcoming slate of releases (“Room,” “The Witch,” “Green Room” and “Krisha”) is any indication of things to come, then you’re certainly on the right track.

READ MORE: Watch: #TBT ‘Mean Streets’ Trailer Sets the Tone for Martin Scorsese’s Entire Career

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